Sri Lanka - A Safari Guide to its National Parks & Forest Reserves

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Sri Lanka provides an incredibly rewarding opportunity to explore savannahs, coastlines, wetlands, woodland and primordial rainforests. Wildlife includes the Asian elephant, some of the best opportunities to see leopards anywhere in the world, some incredibly colourful birdlife, including many endemic species, flying snakes and more..

Here is an Guide to the Protected Areas of Sri Lanka to help you choose where to travel. Aqua-Firma provides expert local guides and logistics for visiting all of the areas. For further information about each region, please click on each image or where you read 'more'. You can also Contact Us with any questions and help in planning your perfect trip to this diverse island.

Yala National Park is most famous for its concentrated population of leopards and elephants. Your chances of seeing leopards here are pretty much as high as anywhere in the world. This beautiful coastal savannah and woodland reserve in southern Sri Lanka is host to 42 other species of mammal, 220 species of bird and all 5 species of marine turtle...more
  Udawalawe National Park is famous primarily for great opportunities to see Asian elephants. This 308 km2 park comprises of open grassy plains and a huge lake which was created by a dam. Here we can see crocodiles, monitor lizards and a large array of birds which more widely across the park include the Sri Lankan grey hornbill, spot-billed pelican & black-headed ibis...more
  Sinharaja is Sri Lanka's last area of primary (unlogged) lowland rainforest. Amongst trees reaching 45m, reside 19 out of Sri Lanka 20 endemic birds, primates, orchids, tree frogs. Sinharaja is a highly rewarding rainforest experience with one of our expert guides - whether as a first time visitor or an experienced birdwatcher we will adapt to your special interests...more
  Wilpattu National Park in northern Sri Lanka is the country largest national park. It closed during the civil war when it straddled the front line between Tamil and Sinhalese held areas. It has since reopened and its wildlife recovering with sightings of leopards and elephants now quite common.  Much of the park is covered by a dense tropical dry forest. There are also many lakes... more
  Horton Plains National Park is a very scenic upland region of Sri Lanka close to Nuwera Eliya. You can enjoy here a mix of rocky escarpments, waterfalls, higher altitude forests and open plains not unlike a Scottish landscape, especially when a stag appears. Sambhur deer and bear monkeys reside here, alongside a dispersed population of leopards. Birdwatching is excellent here ... more
  Udawattakale Forest borders Sri Lanka's second city of Kandy. There is a surprising variety of flora and fauna here, including several endemic species of plant. About 80 types of bird can be found here including the endemic Layard's parakeet, Sri Lanka hanging parrot and Kashmir flycatcher. Mammals include Indian boar, civet cats, greater false vampire bat & the Indian pangolin...more
  Bundala National Park lies on Sri Lanka's south eastern coast. Beaches here attract nesting turtles whilst extensive wetlands attract crocodiles, flamingos and all of Sri Lanka's species of wetland birds - often in large numbers. Away from the wetlands, short thorny forest predominates... more
  Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is physically similar to Bundala, with a mix of coastal lagoons, scrub jungle, mangroves and open grassy areas. Birdwatching is the prime reason to visit, where our expert guides can take you out by slow boat or walking through bush to see species like watercocks, black bitterns, skaty breasted crakes...and hopefully mammals which include the grey mongoose and hanuman langur monkeys...more
  Kitulgala Forest Reserve is home both to excellent birdlife and as a base for some of Sri Lanka's best adventure travel.  Our adventure option here include white water rafting, mountain biking, riverside camping and white water abseiling. It is equally ideal for slow river descents and walks in search of nature which includes the Rufous-bellied eagle, gold-fronted leaf bird and Serendip Scops-owl... more
  Tissamaharama wetlands are adjacent to the pretty Tissa Wewa Reservoir which was built in the 2nd Century BC by King Kavantissa. Along the shore  you can find flocks of aquatic birds including spot-billed pelicans, stork-billed kingfishers and lesser whistling ducks. Tissamaharama itself is one of Sri Lanka's the nicest southern more...
  Minneriya National Park is a dry zone forest not far from the city of Polonnarauwa. A dominant aspect of the park is the Minneriya 'tank', which is a water catchment built on the 3rd Century BC by King Mahasen. In the dry season in particular, grasslands surrounding the water attract large herds of elephants. Two endemic monkeys are also found here: the toque macaque and ... more