Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka
Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park, famous for watching Leopard and Sloth Bear. Wilpattu National Park is situated along the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. It comprises of a unique complex of lakes called Villus, which are natural basins that are filled up with rainwater and are surrounded by open grassy plains set within dense scrub jungle. A multitude of sandy paths wind around the entire park and open up into these large natural lakes. The unspoilt and beautiful Wilpattu National Park is one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. It is ideal for those wanting to escape the flurry of activity of Yala and instead offers the opportunity for a tranquil, peaceful and undisturbed drive.
The biggest draws in Wilpattu are Leopards and Sloth bears. Alongside these, it is possible to see Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Asiatic Buffalo and Mugger Crocodiles. Endemic birds include the Ceylon Junglefowl, Brown-capped Babbler, Ceylon Woodshrike and Black-capped Bulbul in riverine habitats. Muntjac or Barking Deer are more easily seen in Wilpattu than any other national park. Butterflies recorded include the Great Eggfly, Great Orange Tip, Glad-eye Bushbrown, Blue Mormon, Common Mormon, Common Rose and Crimson Rose.
Near the turn off to Wilpattu off the A12 (Puttalam to Anuradhapura road) is the simple Hotel Leopard Denn Inn (Formerly Preshamel Safari Hotel). The nearest for a choice of accommodation is Anuradhapura which includes the comfortable Palm Garden Village. Wilpattu is also easily accessible from hotels in Negombo. Movable Tented Safari Camps are also available inside Wilpattu National Park upon request.
Source: Sri Lanka National Parks & Reserves by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, published by Jetwing Eco Holidays.