Other National Parks to Visit Besides Yala National Park

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No hard feelings but even though Yala National Park is famous, there are dozens of other parks and protected nature reserves in Sri Lanka that will offer you the same experience without the hoard of safari vehicles following you or blocking your path. Give Yala a break. 

Why NOT Yala National Park?

Yala National Park is undoubtedly beautiful and rich in wildlife. But there’s nothing more annoying that the army of safari jeeps zigzagging around the park. What’s worse is, once the jeeps spot an animal, they’d do anything to make sure their driver-friends (and the passengers) see it, even if it means blocking the animals pathway.

Say no to Yala and check out these other parks in Sri Lanka that are equally rich in wildlife and not with safari jeeps!

Udawalawe National Park

Known for its population of Sri Lanka’s gentle giants, Udawalawe National Park should not be missed. The park is also home to leopards and sloth bears, but due to their rarity it’s quite hard to spot them. Some of the other mammals are the golden jackal, Asian palm civet, water buffalo, tufted grey langur, crocodiles and a rainbow of birds – both endemic and migratory. The watering holes are the best places to spot a herd of elephants. Keep you camera ready!  The ideal time to visit is from May to September.

Bundala National Park

The Bundala National Park is recognized as a paradise for bird lovers. Teeming with a plethora of different bird types, this national park is great for those patient enough to watch the winged creatures of the island. The wetlands are ideal to spot lurking crocodiles and other reptiles. You should also expect to see elephants, deer, wild boar, porcupines, jackal, fishing cat and many other mammals. Though the park is open all year round, the ideal time to visit is from December to March.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Ditch the open lands, and head into the lush forests of the island. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it’s the last remaining stretch of primary rainforest on the island. The forest reserve is great for the explorer who prefers safaris on foot than in a jeep! Look closely for various amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The months between January to April are the most ideal for visiting.

Minneriya National Park

Thanks to NATGEO, the Minneriya National Park has become famous throughout the world for the World’s Largest Elephant Gathering. This natural spectacle is dubbed to be the largest gathering of wild Asian elephants. It occurs between June to October each year. Grab your cameras and get ready for some serious elephant action!

Featured image by Eshan Goonetilleke.