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Wilpattu National Park

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Best Time: February - October Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

"For An Adventure With Leopards!"

Wilpattu National Park Tourism

Wilpattu National Park is situated on the western coast of Sri Lanka, approximately an hour away from the ancient city of Anuradhapura. This national park has the enviable distinction of being the oldest and the largest national park in the country.

The park has earned its name from the numerous 'villus' (natural lakes in Sinhalese) that spread across the area. Wilpattu is known for its large population of leopards, among the highest in Sri Lanka. 

Apart from the leopards, one can spot a multitude of other mammals and reptiles at Wilpattu, such as the Sri Lankan elephant, sloth bear, spotted deer, Indian python and monitor lizards. The bird species at the national park includes Sri Lankan junglefowl, whistling teal and painted storks. Interestingly, the national park also has a specific historical significance.

Ancient ruins such as stone pillars have been discovered in the national park, near a 'villu' called Kali. It is widely believed that these are the remains of the palace of Queen Kuweni, wife of Sri Lanka's first ruler, King Vijaya.

Home to several lakes and leopards, Wilpattu National Park, is a must-visit for any wildlife aficionado seeking a pleasant and unhurried experience.

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History of Wilpattu National Park

The story goes that Prince Vijaya and his men arrived at Kudirmalai in Wilpattu in 543 BC. Evidence of the bygone eras can still be seen today. The area was declared as a sanctuary in 1905 and redesignated as a national park in 1938. Wilpattu National Park closed down for more than two decades during the Sri Lankan Civil War; it reopened to the public in 2010.

Wildlife Safari in Wilpattu National Park

The timings of Wilpattu National Park are from 6 AM to 6 PM. Although half-day safaris are available, a full day safari by jeep is the best option as it lets you explore most of the large park. Local guides on the safaris assist in spotting the fauna. Some safaris have a stopover at a beach inside the park.

Fauna in Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu is renowned for its leopard population, which amounts to around forty-nine. Around 31 species of mammals have been sighted here, such as the Sri Lankan elephant, water buffalo, spotted deer, sambar deer and sloth bear. Birdlife species at Wilpattu includes Malabar pied hornbill, serpent eagle and Chestnut-headed bee-eater. Other fauna includes reptiles and amphibians like monitor lizards, mugger crocodiles and pond turtles.

Restaurants and Local Food in Wilpattu National Park

Full-day safaris at Wilpattu frequently include meals. There are a few restaurants near Wilpattu which mostly serve Sri Lankan food, but it is advisable to bring your food and water during the tour.

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FAQs on Wilpattu National Park

What are the places near Wilpattu national park?

The top places near to Wilpattu national park are Anuradhapura which is 42 km from Wilpattu national park, Sigiriya which is located 96 km from Wilpattu national park, Colombo which is located 171 km from Wilpattu national park, Kandy which is located 144 km from Wilpattu national park, Nuwara eliya which is located 186 km from Wilpattu national park

What is the best time to visit Wilpattu national park?

Wilpattu National Park is open throughout the year. The best time to visit Wilpattu is from February to October. There is little precipitation, facilitating easier sighting of fauna as they often linger at the lakes during this time. June is the perfect month for spotting sloth bears; during this month, two kinds of fruit called Palu and Weera, which are popular among the species, are in season. The off-season is usually in December and January, as there are higher chances of rainfall during these months.

Choose an early morning or evening safari for better opportunities to spot wildlife. The best times of the day to spot wildlife are from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM in the mornings, and from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the evenings.
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