Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu National Park

Due to the fewer number of visitors, the wildlife within the confines of the Wilpattu National Park has hardly had contact with humans. The animals are therefore often shy, unlike those in Yala, making the need for an experienced guide even greater, one which Mahoora can provide. 4WD safari jeeps are the best way in which to explore the varied terrain.

a leopard at wilpattu national park in sri lanka

Leopards and Sri Lankan Sloth Bears at Wilpattu National Park

The Sri Lankan Leopard is a recognised subspecies of the Indian Leopard and is currently the largest species of leopard living in Asia. The Wilpattu National Park is known for its numerous opportunities to film and photograph these wonderful animals which are often seen lying beside the Park’s many villus. In addition, Wilpattu is also home to Sri Lankan Sloth Bears, which are highly threatened with less than 1,000 numbers currently living in the wild. Sloth Bears are best seen during the fruiting season of the Palu Tree which is from June to July. Observing endangered animals in the wild is a privilege that this National Park has to offer and it is definitely one that you will cherish for a lifetime.

Mammals at Wilpattu National Park Sri Lanka

On a Wilpattu safari you have the chance of encountering 31 species of mammals residing within Wilpattu, of which 4 are threatened. These are the Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Sri Lankan Leopard and the Water Buffalo. Other animal species that can be seen on safari drives are the Sambar and Spotted Deer, Mongoose, Mouse Deer, and Shrew.

a birdlife at wilpattu national park in sri lanka

Birdlife at Wilpattu National Park

Many species of Owl, Tern, Gull, Eagle, Kite and Buzzard along with the Painted Stork, Sri Lankan Junglefowl and the Little Cormorant can be found at the Wilpattu National Park. Wetland birdlife includes the Garganey, Pintail, Whistling Teal, Spoonbill, White Ibis, Large White Egret, Cattle Egret and Purple Heron.

Reptiles & Amphibians at Wilpattu National Park

The most common reptiles found on a Wilpattu safari are the Monitor Lizard, Mugger Crocodile, Common Cobra, Rat Snake, Indian Python, Pond Turtle and the Soft Shelled Turtle which reside in the villus.

Flora at Wilpattu National Park

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a bird with its food at wilpattu national park in sri lanka

History and Geography

Wilpattu is located on the west coast of Sri Lanka. The Wilpattu National Park extends inland towards the ancient city of Anuradhapura, in the heart of the Cultural Triangle. The Park is a fairly thick dry zone forest interspersed with a number of flood plain lakes banked with delicate white sands. It boasts an impressive variety of flora in huge expanses of forest with varied wildlife.

A topographical feature particular to this part of the island is the abundance of villus or natural lake-like basins. All bar two of the villus within the Park contain pure rainwater and support a vast range of resident and migratory water-birds.

The Wilpattu National Park is one that is steeped in history and legend. According to some identified ancient ruins, it is said that Queen Kuweni lived in the place now identified as Kalli Villu.

Queen Kuweni is in essence the mother of the Sinhalese race as it is out of her marriage to Prince Vijaya (the first king of Sri Lanka) that its people were born. Historical evidence also points to the fact that Prince Saliya son of King Dutugemunu (161 to 137 BC) lived in Wilpattu over 2,000 years ago. Pomparippu, which borders the Park, is also of historical importance, as ancient urns have been excavated at this site. Between the coastal villages of Palangaturai and Kollankanatte are the remains of an old harbour. Due to its vibrant history, Mahoora also offers historical tours of this National Park, which can be arranged on request. Declared a Sanctuary in 1905, Wilpattu was upgraded to National Park status in 1938. It is now one of the oldest and most important protected areas in Sri Lanka.

Climate at Wilpattu National Park

The annual temperature in the Park is around 27°C and its annual rainfall is approximately 1,000 mm. Though situated in the dry zone, the climate inside the Wilpattu National Park is very unlike that of the dry zone. The period from September to December is known as the rainy season in Wilpattu with the north east monsoon falling heavily. Inter-monsoonal rains come to Wilpattu between March and April. The period of drought in the Park extends from May to early September. Thus the best time for wildlife safaris at the Wilpattu National Park is during the months of February and October.

Best times to visit Wilpattu National Park

This National Park can be visited throughout the year but for that optimal safari experience, a visit during the months of February and October is recommended.

How to get to Wilpattu National Park Sri Lanka

Wilpattu is located 30km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo) extending from the northwest coast inland towards the ancient capital city of Anuradhapura (50 km to the east of the Park), covering an impressive 425 square miles. The route from Colombo is via Negombo, Chilaw and Puttalam, with a turn-off at the little hamlet of Thimbiriwewa near the 28th mile post along the Puttalam-Anuradhapura road. The Park office, where one can obtain a permit and a guide, is at Hunuwilgama, 8 km from the turn-off. Alternatively, you can travel by Helicopter and take off either from the Bandaranaike Airport or from Ratmalana and land at Wilpattu. From there, you can reach the Park by road. Air Taxi services are not available for this location. For more information on air travel please visit www.flysrilanka.lk.

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