Wilpattu is situated in the northwest of the island, close to Puttalam, Kalpitiya and Anuradhapura. It is one of Sri Lanka’s largest and oldest parks and arguably one of the most spectacular. Dense scrub jungle and dry zone forest opens onto villus, small lakes, surrounded by grassy plains. The park also borders the coast where you can see the remains of Queen Kuweni’s palace, which is thought to date from ancient times.
The real advantage of doing safaris here is that it is not commercial like Yala, and therefore there will be times when there are only a handful of other jeeps in the park. You may not even see anyone else on your trip, which really adds to the authenticity of the experience.
The highlights of a Wilpattu safari are seeing leopards and sloth bears. However, there is also a wealth of other wildlife to spot including: Asian elephants, spotted deer, barking deer, sambar, wild boar, Asiatic buffalo and mugger crocodiles. Endemic birds include the Ceylon junglefowl, brown-capped babbler, Ceylon woodshrike and black-capped bulbul in riverine habitats. Butterflies recorded include the great eggfly, great orange tip, glad-eye bushbrown, blue mormon, common mormon, common rose and crimson rose.
An Insider's Perspective
Noel Rodrigo began Leopard Safaris, the safari company, seven years ago to share his love and passion for wildlife, particularly leopards, with other enthusiasts around the world. He has handpicked and trained a fantastic team of naturalists to give guests an unforgettable and unique experience in the wild.What is special about Wilpattu National Park?
Wilpattu is the most scenic National Park (NP) in Sri Lanka and the largest. It only opened a few years ago after the war, so it’s less visited and we have the chance of enjoying wildlife privately/undisturbed. There is a high density of leopards and sloth bears and there is a higher chance of seeing sloth bears here compared to any other NP in Sri Lanka.When is the best time to visit?
February to August when the weather is good and the skies are clear. June/July is bear season because pallu and weera trees are in fruit and these are a sloth bear’s favourite snack.What is your favourite activity?
Going in search for the elusive leopard and other game.Top Tip?
Bring a good camera with a good zoom lens; be quiet and keep your eyes open; and if you're staying at Leopard Safaris, let us surprise you!