National Parks in Sri Lanka

Yala Wetland   udawalawa   horton-plains-3   bundala-national-park-3   galoya  
Yala national Park   Udawalawa National Park  

Hortan Plains National Park

  Bundala Nationl Park  

Galoya National park

eagle-in-flight-at-yala-national-park   wasgamuwa   wilpaththu1   pigeon-island-national-park-st-lucia   minneriya  
Kumana National Park  

Wasgamuwa National Park

  Wipaththu National Park  

Piegon National Park

  Minneriya National Park  


Yala National ParkDistance from Colombo 309 km

Yala Wetland  
Lake in Yala   

Yala National Park is the 2nd largest national park in Sri Lanka.It is situated in the southeast region of the island in the dry zone. The park is situated about 300 km from Colombo which is capital city of Sri Lanka. Yala park belongs to two provinces in Sri Lanka namely Uva Province and Southern Province. The park divided into five blocks and only I and II blocks are opened for the visitors. The reserve covers 979 km², although only the original 141 km² are open to the public. It was established in 1894 as a Game Sanctuary. The park is situated in dry zone of the country which has long period of drought season in the year. Main source of rainfall is Northeast monsoon and inter monsoon rain during April - May. Mean annual precipitation is 900 - 1300mm and mean annual temperature is around 27°C. During June to October this area has experienced with very drought condition. The day time temperature is normally higher than 30°C which is not uncommon in this region. Much of the reserve is parkland, but it also contains jungle, beaches, freshwater lakes and rivers and scrubland. The latter zone is punctuated with enormous rocky outcrops. The range of habitats give rise to a good range of wildlife. Yala has the world's highest concentration of Leopards, although seeing this largely nocturnal carnivore still requires some luck.

   Elephant in Yala  


Yala National Park forest area is dominated by Manilkara hexandra (Palu), Drypetes sepiaria (Weera), Salvadora persica (Tooth brush tree), Cassia fistula (Golden Shower Tree), Limonia acidissima (Wood apple), and Azadirachta indica (Neem).


Yala National Park is well recognized as one of the best park in the world to observe leopards. The leopards at Yala largely considered as having the highest density of leopards in the world. The leopards in Yala National Park is subspecies of leopard native to Sri Lanka which is known as Sri Lanka Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Still Sri Lanka Leopards are considered to be endangered.

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Uda Walawe National Park Distance from Colombo 170 km

Elephants in Udawalawa   

The Uda Walawe National Park is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent. This park lies within the Ratnapura and Monaragala Districts and acts as the catchment to the Uda Walawe Reservoir, and is located in the dry zone. It comprises grasslands, thorn scrubs, and many valuable species of trees. Uda Walawe National Park is an important national park in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. The reserve covers 306 km² and was established in 1972 to protect the catchment of the Uda Walawe reservoir. The habitat is open parkland, with some mature teak trees along the river. This popular reserve has more than 400 wild Asian Elephants, which are relatively easy to see in this open habitat. Udawalawe also has a dozen or so Leopards, although seeing this largely nocturnal carnivore requires considerable luck.

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Horton Plains - Distance from Colombo 200 km

Hortan Plains   

Horton Plains National Park is the only national park situated in the hill country. It falls within the Nuwara Eliya District. The panoramic beauty of the hill county is witnessed within the park. Horton Plains National Park, "Maha-Eliya" in Sinhala, is a national park in the highlands of Sri Lanka. It lies at a height of more than 2,000 m in the central highlands, and its altitude means that it has a much cooler and more windy climate than the lowlands of Sri Lanka, with a mean annual temperature of 16 °C rather than the 26 °C of the coasts. The area was named in 1834 after Lady Anne Horton, wife of Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton, then- governor of Ceylon.In the winter months it is cold at night, and there can even be frosts, although it rapidly warms up as the tropical sun climbs higher in the sky 

   View from World's End 

Flora & Fauna

This is a key wildlife area. Species found here include Leopard, Sambar (Sri Lankan Sambar Deer) and the endemic Purple-faced Langur. All six highland endemic birds are found here, including Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, and Sri Lanka Bush Warbler. Yellow-eared Bulbul and Black-throated Munia are widespread throughout the highlands.

World’s End

The park also has a well-visited tourist attraction at World's End, a sheer precipice with a 1,050 m (3,445 ft) drop. The return walk passes the scenic Baker's Falls. Early morning visits are essential, both to see the wildlife, and to view World's End before mists close in during the latter part of the morning.

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Bundala National Park - Distance from Colombo 260 km

Birds in Bundala National Park  

Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of Birds, the highlight being the Greater Flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993. In 1991 Bundala became the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka. In 2005 the national park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 245 km southeast of Colombo.

Flora & Fauna

Halophyte plants thrive in the national park's environmental conditions. Salicornia brachiata and Halosarcia indica are examples of salt-tolerant plants. Lumnitzera racemosa trees found the small mangrove area. Narrow Leaf Cattail covers the canal that links Malala and Embilikala lagoons. Scrubland mainly covered with Dichrostachys cinerea (Sinhalese "Andara"), Ziziphus spp. ("Eraminiya"), and Carissa spinarum ("Karamba"). Dry mixed ever green forests dominated by Manilkara hexandra (Sinhalese "Palu"), Drypetes sepiaria ("Weera"), Salvadora persica ("Mallithan"), Bauhinia racemosa ("Maila") and Limonia ("Diwul").

Bundala is an important bird sanctuary. About 100 species of water birds inhabit the wetland habitats in Bundala, half of them being migrant birds. Greater Flamingo which visits in large flocks of over 1,000 individuals, from Rann of Kutch of India is being the highlight. Other water birds which are present in large numbers include Lesser Whistling Duck, Garganey, Little Cormorant, Indian Cormorant, Grey Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Asian Openbill Stork, Painted Stork, medium sized waders, Tringa subspecies, and small waders, Charadrius subspecies. Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant and Eurasian Coot are rare birds inhabit in the national park. 

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Gal Oya National ParkDistance from Colombo 314 km

Birds in Gal oya National park   

Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka was established in 1954 and serves as the main catchment area for Senanayake Samudraya. Senanayake Samudraya was built under the Gal Oya development project by damming the Gal Oya at Inginiyagala in 1950. An important feature of the Gal Oya National Park is its elephant herd that can be seen throughout the year. Three important herbs of the Ayurveda medicine, Triphala: Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis are amongst the notable flora of the forest. From 1954 to 1965 the park was administrated by the Gal Oya Development Board until the Department of Wildlife Conservation took over administration. The National Park is situated 314 km from Colombo 

Flora & Fauna

The vegetation of the forest is of three types: forest, shrub and grassland. The national park contains a substantial area of Savanna grasslands known as Thalawa in Sinhalese and mountainous grasslands known as Pathana. Thalawa grassland is dominated by rough grass species, Cymbopogon nardus ("Mana") and Imperata cylindrica ("Iluk"). The burnt Thalawa grasslands are known as the Damana grasslands and are used for cattle grazing by villagers. Rare plants of medicinal value such as Pterocarpus marsupium, Careya arborea, and Cassia fistula are also found in the forest. Berrya cordifolia, Longan, Mangifera zeylanica, Diospyros spp., Ziziphus spp. and Mallotus repandus ("Wal Keppetiya") are the common floral species.

32 terrestrial mammals have been recorded in the park. The Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Muntjac, Water Buffalo, Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lanka Leopard, Toque Monkey and Wild Boar are among them. Included amongst the amphibian species of the park are the Mugger Crocodile and Star Tortoise. More than 150 species of birds have been recorded in Gal Oya.

The Lesser Adjutant, Spot- billed Pelican and Red-faced Malkoha are some of the park's resident birds. The Indian Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Grey Heron, and Lesser Whistling Duck are among the common water birds of the Senanayake reservoir. The White-bellied Sea Eagle, and Grey-headed Fish Eagle are the notable raptors of the area. Gal Oya National Park's butterfly species include the endemic Lesser Albatross.

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Kumana National ParkDistance from Colombo 350 km

Eagle in Kumana   

National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, particularly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. The park is 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of Colombo on Sri Lanka's southeastern coast. Kumana is contiguous with Yala National Park. Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name in 5 September 2006. 

Flora & Fauna

The park's wetland areas are surrounded by dry zone tropical thorn forest. The inland forest's flora is dominated by Manilkara hexandra (Sinhalese "Palu"), Hemicyclea sepieria, Bauhinia racemosa, Cassia fistula ("Ehela"), Chloroxylon swietenia ("Burutha"), and Salvadora persica species. The dominant tree of the Kumana villu is Sonneratia caseolaris, while Typha angustifolia is the dominant reed. Terminalia arjuna trees dominate the riverine forests along the Kumbukkan Oya. The common aquatic plants of the swamp are colourful Ludwigia spp., Nelumbo nucifera, Nymphaea pubescens, Aponogeton spp. and Neptunia oleracea.

Kumana Bird Sanctuary, declared in 1938, is included within the Kumana National Park. Kumana is one of the most important bird nesting and breeding grounds in Sri Lanka. 255 species of birds have been recorded in the national park. During April–July months tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area annually. Rare species such as Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Eurasian Spoonbill, and Great Thick-knee are breeding inhabitants of the Kumana villu. Waders belonging to families Scolopacidae and Charadriidae are among the visitors to the area along with waterfowl. Pintail Snipes migrate here flying 9,000 kilometres (5,600 mi) to 11,000 kilometres (6,800 mi) from Siberia. 

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Wasgamuwa National Park - Distance from Colombo 200 km

Bear in Wasgamuwa  

Wasgamuwa National Park is a natural park in Sri Lanka. It was declared to protect and to make a refuge for the displaced wild animals during the Mahaweli Development Project in 1984 and is one of the four National Parks designated under the Project. Originally it was designated as a nature reserve in 1938, and then in the early 1970's the area was regraded as a strict nature reserve. Wasgamuwa is one of protected areas where Sri Lankan Elephants can be seen in large herds. It is also one of the Important Bird Areas in Sri Lanka. The name of the Wasgamuwa has derived through the words "Walas Gamuwa". "Walasa" is Sinhala for Sloth bear and "Gamuwa" means a wood. The park is situated 225 km away from Colombo 


Wasgamuwa National Park exhibits one of the highest biodiversity among the protected areas in Sri Lanka. More than 150 floral species have recorded from the park. Cryptocoryne walkeri and Munronia pumila are two plants with economic value. Reservoirs and riverine forests support large number of fauna species. The forest consists of several layers. Chloroxylon swietenia, Manilkara hexandra, Elaeodendron glaucum, Pterospermum canescens, Diospyros ebenum, Holoptelea intergrifolia, Pleurostylia oppasita, Vitex altissima, Drypetes sepiaria, and Berrya cordifolia are dominant trees in the emergent layer. Polyalthia korinti, Diplodiscus verrucosus, Limonia acidissima, Cassia roxburghii and Strobilanthes stenoden are common in other strata. Some 1,700 years old tamarind tree, "Oru Bendi Siyambalawa" (Sinhala for Canoes-moored-Tamarind) was situated in the park.


Wasgamuwa National Park is home to 23 species of mammals. The park is inhabited by a herd of 150 Sri Lankan Elephants. Marsh elephant (Elephas maximus vil-aliya) roams in the Mahaweli river area. Both monkeys found in the park, Purple-faced Langur and Toque Macaque are endemic to Sri Lanka. While Water Buffalo and Sri Lankan Axis Deer are common to observe, Sri Lanka Leopard and Sloth Bear are rare. Small Golden Palm Civet is another rare endemic mammal. Number of bird species recorded from the park is 143. This includes 8 endemic species. 

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Wilpaththu National Park - Distance from Colombo 203 km

Sambar Deer in Wilpaththu  

Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu; Land of Lakes) is a park located on the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) - Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo). The park is 131, 693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. Wilpattu is one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world renowned for its Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known. 


There are many types of vegetation to be found in Wilpattu; Littoral vegetation, including Salt grass and low scrub monsoon forest with tall emergents, such as Palu (Manilkara hexandra), and Satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Milla (Vitex altissima), Weera (Drypetes sepiaria), Ebony (Disopyros ebenum) and Wewarna (Alseodaphne semecapriflolia).


31 species of mammals have been identified within Wilpattu national park. Mammals that are identified as threatened species living within the Wilpattu National Park are the elephant (Elephas maximus), Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). Sambhur, spotted deer, mongoose, mouse and shrew are more of Wilpattu's residents. 

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Pigeon Island National Park - Distance from Colombo 280 km

Arial View of Pigeon Island  

Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province. The island's name derives from the Rock Pigeon which has colonized it. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. Pigeon Island was designated as a sanctuary in 1963. In 2003 it was redesignated as a national park. This national park is the 17th in Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era. Pigeon Island is one of the several protected areas affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 


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Minneriya National Park - Distance from Colombo 222 Km

Elephants in Minneriya   

Minneriya Tank was created by King Parakarambahu at the height of Polonnaruwa’s glory as the capital of Sri Lanka. The national park based largely around the huge tank (reservoir) was created rather more recently but serves as an important gathering place for Sri Lanka’s large population of elephants.

It is a great place for elephant spotting all year round – though as the dry season makes water scarce between June and September, more and more elephants gather on the shores of Minneriya Tank. Indeed by late August and September, the awe inspiring site of up to 300 elephants can often be seen, in a phenomonen known as ‘The Gathering’. It is the largest concentration and gathering of Asian elephants that can be seen anywhere in the world. Watching baby elephants playing with each other, bull elephants tussling for dominance and the great matriarchs surveying the scene is not a sight you are likely to forget in a hurry.

Beside from the elephants, Minneriya is also home to some 23 other species of mammals: some, like the Deer and Sambur you will see, some like the Leopard and the Sloth Bear will probably prove elusive. The arid dry zone is a paradise for many species of Lizard and you will see them here in all their technical colour brilliance if you look carefully enough, as well as snakes like the Indian Python and the Mugger Crocodile. Above all, of course, are Sri Lanka’s wonderfully varied bird population. Among the 150 or so species, particular favourites of ours you may see in Minneriya include the beautiful painted stork, the Pelican and various imposing eagle species, as well as the endemics: the Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl, the Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, and the Sri Lanka Gray Hornbill.