Safari vans in Wilpattu National Park
Sri Lanka,  Wildlife

Wilpattu National Park

This is the biggest and oldest of the Sri Lankan National parks. This means lesser congestion of safari vehicles than is reported from Yale. The morning we entered the park I counted 15 cars in line for entry – when the park opened at 06:15.

Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl
The Peacock is the Sri Lankan National bird
Asian Green Bee Eater

To enter the park you need to hire a licensed vehicle with a driver. We hired a Toyota Hilux with 6 seats mounted on the cargo bed and a metal canopy – it also had tarpaulin sides to roll down in event of heavy rain – but if it’s done you can’t see much.

Black capped King Fisher
Water buffolo
Sri Lankan axis deer

You shouldn’t expect the driver to be English speaking, he might know the names of the animals and birds. So, it will be a good idea to also hire an English speaking Wild life guide.

You can hire the car with driver for either half a day or a full day, the cost for the car will of cause reflect this, but cost for park entry will be the same. In January 2024 the entry fee was USD 25, but it’s only possible to pay the entrance in LKR, then amount of LKR relies on the current exchange rate, you also need to pay a fee for the car and driver. For 2 persons, car and driver I paid LKR 23.650.

The male Peacock unfolding it’s tail feathers

At the resting area there is a lot of monkeys – when there are safari cars. We came late for a rest and when the other cars left the monkeys also left. Clearly they are seeing a benefit being around guest, and as you see in the third picture catching scraps of leftovers are an easy complementary dish. This one only getting a piece of pineapple, but guess that an inconsiderate guests would hand them a plastic wrapped candy. You are of course not allowed to leave anything behind in the National Park.

Heron, not sure of the sup specie
White Bellied Sea Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle
Chestnut headed Bee Eater
Indian Paradise Fly Catcher
Sri Lankan Elephant – male
Crescent Serpent Eagle – washing in a puddle in the forrest
Wild Boars
If you have a bunch of Boars and Deer you don’t need to think about moving the lawn. The area around the lake was kept low and short
Taking time off from deliveries
Painted Stork
This lizard – about 0.7m – is a Land Monitor
Malabar Pied Hornbill

Listing to safari guest makes it clear that the above animals are fine to see. The elephant ranges high on any list and so do the boar but the Leopard seems to be topping all lists of desire to see animals. Many swear going to Yale because it has the highest density of Leopards but chances to see one should be almost as high in Wilpattu.

A safari car was parked at the road side, a little unmotivated. Our driver inquired what was going on, and yes they had spotted a Leopard in a tree shortly into the vegetation.
A little navigation back and forth of the vehicle and we could see it. Lying on a branch some 7-8 meters up with paws dangling in the air. But unfortunately somewhat hidden by leaves.
It was about 20 meters away from our car and at all time seemed to aware of our presence

To find information on animals, rules etc. for the park visit you should take a look at the official page

For general knowledge think you can use the Wiki article

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