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Wildlife Sri Lanka

Leopard Safaris
Wildlife Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – best for wildlife outside Africa

Take a look at this incredible photo blog of a tiny island called Sri Lanka, just over three times the size of Kruger National Park, where some amazing wildlife safaris await you. The species diversity alone, makes Sri Lanka certainly one of the best destinations for wildlife outside Africa.

Elephants roam wild in srilanka

Safaris to spot wild Elephants can be done in several parks across Sri Lanka


ELEPHANTS

It doesn’t matter where in Sri Lanka you choose to travel, you can always fit in a safari to see Wild elephants in one of the main National Parks. And those baby Elephants can be oh so cute as they play under their mummy’s stomach.

Elephants safaris Udawalawe

Observing Baby Elephants in the wild can be so exciting

LEOPARDS

What are your chances of spotting Leopards in Sri Lanka? Quite high!! In fact, unlike in other parts of the world, the Leopard is Sri Lanka’s top predator and roams freely inside the National Parks.

Leopards in Yala

In Sri Lanka the Leopard is the top predator.

We love to visit Kumana National Park for uncrowded safaris and it’s so rich in wildlife, including some great Leopard safaris. And if camping inside a Park is your thing, there’s no better place for it.

Where to see Leopards in Sri Lanka

Leopards can be seen in Kumana, Wilpattu and Yala National Parks

SLOTH BEAR

Those cuddly creatures are so shy but let me clue you in…come during the months of May and June when the fruits they love (Palu) are in season, and you will stand quite a good chance to spot them roaming around inebriated.

Wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka must be booked with responsible wildlife tour operators

The Sloth Bear of Sri Lanka

MONKEYS

You will see them everywhere in the island –  up in the hills of Kandy, throughout the cultural triangle, but inside Sri Lanka’s National Parks, especially in Yala, Udawalawe, Minneriya, Kumana, Kaudulla, Wilpattu and the rain forests of Sinharaja, you can observe different species and how they behave – we call it our Monkey Treks. It’s quite fun watching their antics even though this family of Toque Macaques are rather serious about something!

Monkey trek in Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya can be so fun

Monkeys can be seen everywhere in Sri Lanka

BIRDS

The last count of bird species was 500…and still counting! Incredible for an island this size. Every year, from November onwards, ardent bird watchers from across the world flock to Sri Lanka with their checklists, bird books, binoculars and massive zoom lenses to spot the 33 endemics.

Birding tours in srilanka

The endemic blue magpie can definitely be spotted in the Sinharaja Rainforest

WHALES AND DOLPHINS

Blue Whales the size of a bus, incredible pods of Dolphins and so much more can be spotted across the oceans of Sri Lanka, especially off the coasts of Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Trincomalee where you can do boat safaris or even stay overnight on a Yacht.

Blue Whales in Mirissa

Sri Lanka is famous for its Dolphins and Whales

CROCODILES, DEER AND MORE WILD CREATURES

If you travel with a responsible wildlife safari tour operator who does not merely chase after Leopards for the entire safari, you will truly begin to appreciate the incredibly diversity of wildlife in Sri Lanka.

Crocodiles spotting on a wildlife safari

Watching crocodiles hunt can be fascinating

Watching Crocodiles hunt inside and outside water, can be so fascinating on a wildlife safari.

Responsible wildlife tour operator srilanka

Deer gather in large numbers inside the national parks

From the Spotted Deer, to Sambur Deer to the shy and elusive Barking Deer, these creatures give the first warning sign of a predator lurking close by. Our guest’s love to learn about these alarm calls!


 

Want to book one of the most captivating wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka? Just enquire from Ayu in the Wild. Our Guides love to tell you the most amazing wildlife stories ever!

srilanka wildlife
Wildlife Sri Lanka

Postcards from Wildlife Parks in Sri Lanka

Is Sri Lanka one of the world’s best wildlife destinations outside Africa? We say Yes! Our tiny island has Elephants, Whales, Leopards, Bear, Birds, Primates and more. Plus, it’s a biodiversity hotspot!And it looks like we have friends globally who agree.

Which Wildlife Parks to visit in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is just over three times the size of Kruger NP! There’s no denying it but with over 20 National Parks, Sri Lanka is top of the pick for wildlife in Asia. And why is this so? With two monsoons, a range of climates, altitudes and biodiversity that is usually not found on small islands, Sri Lanka has the right mix. Here are some picture perfect images from our National Parks to help you decide which Sri Lankan wildlife destination to visit.To pick which National Wildlife Park to visit in Sri Lanka, see Highlights of National Wildlife Parks, Sri Lanka

Elephants


wild elephants safaris srilanka

One of Sri Lanka’s most endearing wildlife sightings is to observe elephants in the wild with their young. Herds of matriarch led majestic elephants can be observed regularly in the following NPs:

  • Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks – The ‘Gathering of wild Elephants in the Minneriya National Park has been billed by the Lonely Planet as the world’s 6th greatest animal spectacle and happens from July to August each year.
  • Uda Walawe National Park – Guaranteed sightings of elephants in Asia
  • Wasgomuwa National Park – An uncrowded wildlife park with diverse eco systems
  • Gal Oya National Park – The only park to offer boat safaris to watch elephants on islands
  • Lahugala National Park – Sri Lanka’s smallest wildlife park, lies enroute to the east coast

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Minneriya and Kaudulla NPs – Visit Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya.
  • Near Uda Walawe NP – Explore Ella or safari in Yala National Park
  • Near Wasgomuwa NP – Hike or birdwatching in Knuckles mountains or visit Kandy
  • Near Gal Oya NP – Explore the mountainous homelands of Sri Lanka’s indigenous tribes, the Veddahs
  • Near Lahugala NP – Surf in Arugam Bay or visit Kumana National Park

‘Gathering’ of Elephants in Sri Lanka – by Nat Geo Wild

Leopards and Sloth Bear


leopard safari srilanka

Unlike elsewhere in the world, the Leopard is Sri Lanka’s top predator and roams freely in the wild, making it much easier to spot than even in Africa.

srilanka wildlife tour sloth bear

Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations to photograph the Sloth Bear, especially during the fruiting season from June to September.

Which parks to safari in for Leopards and Sloth Bear:

  • Wilpattu National Park – Sri Lanka’s largest and most beautiful National Parks and Ayu in the Wild’s top pick for a safari in Sri Lanka
  • Yala National Parks – Sri Lanka’s most wildlife rich National Park and the most visited. The scrublands and rocks that reach the coastline are home to over 40+ mammal species, 200+ varieties of beautiful birds, the cheeky Toque Monkeys and Grey Langurs and many amphibians and reptiles
  • Kumana National Park – Great base for semi luxury tented camping in the heart of Sri Lanka’s best wildlife secret that straddles the east coastline.

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Wilpattu NP – Explore Anuradhapura or visit Kalpitiya seas to spot Dolphins.
  • Near Yala NP – Explore Ella, safari in Uda Walawe, Gal Oya or Bundala National Parks
  • Near Kumana NP – Surf in Arugam Bay or do a coastal drive to a beach resort in Paasikudah

Birds


birding tours srilanka
Yala National Park

Whether you’re an ardent twitcher, a serious ornithologist or an amateur birdwatcher Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best birding hotspots. The island is home to 33 endemic bird species and being the last stop for winter migrants, Sri Lanka stands at over 440+ total bird species. Best birding locations in Sri Lanka include;

  • Mannar: Prolific birdlife can be observed on this tiny slip of land with its many lakes and swamps up on the Northern shores of Sri Lanka which is one of the key entry points for winter migrant waterbirds and shorebirds. One of the best spots for Flamingos.
  • Sinharaja Rainforest – Sri Lanka’s last remaining virgin rainforest is best known for the mixed species feeding flocks or the Sinharaja Birdwave – one of the worlds longest studied birding spectacles
  • Horton Plains National Park – The cloud forests of Horton Plains in the Central Highland mountains of Sri Lanka are a phenomenal birdwatching site.
  • Bundala National Park – Just a short drive away from Yala NP, is wonderful especially for migrant shorebirds.
  • Along with the above, a serious twitcher should visit the National Parks of Kumana, Yala and Uda Walawe

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Mannar – Visit the Adams Bridge Islands, visit the Tantirimale historical site and stay en route to Jaffna
  • Near Sinharaja Rainforest – Drive down to the 17th century Galle Dutch Fort, book whale watching on a yacht in Mirissa, enjoy the south coast beaches
  • Near Horton Plains NP – Take a scenic train journey to Ella or Kandy, visit ‘little-England’ the hill country of Nuwera Eliya
  • Near Bundala NP – Visit Yala NP

Primates


primate tours srilanka

Sri Lanka is one of the best primate watching destinations in the world and offers specialized Primate Tours. Five Primates species are found in Sri Lanka – 2 species of Lorises and 3 species of Monkeys; the Purple faced Leaf Monkey and the Toque Macaque which are endemic to Sri Lanka and the Grey Langur.

Primates of Wild Sri Lanka – by Nat Geo Wild

  • Purple faced leaf monkey: Mostly observed in the Sinharaja World Heritage Site, Horton Plains National Park and in home gardens across suburban Colombo. Keep an eye out in Polonnaruwa and Wilpattu NPs too
  • Toque Macaque: The Polonnaruwa World Heritage Site is home to the world’s longest behavioural studies of Primates and a trek with the research staff is a must! They can also be observed in the National Parks of Wilpattu, Horton Plains and the Sinharaja Rainforest
  • Grey Langur: A healthy population lives among the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and they can be observed in the wildlife parks of Yala, Wilpattu and Minneriya.

Whales and Dolphins


Blue Whale safaris srilanka

Sri Lanka is the world’s top spot for Blue Whale encounters due to its deep waters and a reef close to its shores/ Sri Lanka’s waters count for 26 of the 86 Catecean species found worldwide including 13 species of Whales and 15 species of Dolphins.

  • Trincomalee: Peak season for Blue Whales is from March to April
  • Mirissa:90% strike rate for Blue Whales from December to April but do make an effort to book a responsible whale watching safari tour
  • Kalpitiya:A fabulous location for super pods of Spinner Dolphins, Brydes Whales and Bottle-nosed Dolphins

Other Wildlife in Sri Lanka not to be missed!


wildlife tour operator srilanka

The presence of large mammals, high rate of endemic species and phenomenal species diversity, Sri Lanka ranks among the world’s prime wildlife destinations. To see which parks to visit in any given month check out Sri Lanka Wildlife Calendar

Sloth Bear Yala Sri Lanka
Wildlife Sri Lanka

Adventure Travel Blogger Laurel Robbins writes of her Wildlife Adventures in Yala Sri Lanka

Being open to ‘any’ wildlife adventure comes easy to this award winning Adventure Travel Blogger. Read how Laurel Robbins simply loved her safari “Most Captivating Wildlife Adventures in Yala, Sri Lanka!” 

“I knew my chances of seeing a sloth bear weren’t very high, and the odds worked against me.  That’s why I appreciate AYU in the Wild’s philosophy so much – appreciate what you do see, and be open for whatever wildlife adventures may come! Everyone goes to Yala to see leopards. I get it.  Leopards were at the top of my bucket list too. But if you just focus on leopards you will miss all that Yala has to offer and will leave disappointed if you don’t spot a leopard.”….say Laurel Robbins the award winning founder of Monkeys and Mountains who’s billed as one of the Top 20 Adventure Travel Bloggers of 2015.

Related Posts

More on Laurel’s Experiential travel with Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka.

Read why she’s ‘award winning’

Laurel Robbins the award winning founder of Monkeys and Mountains
Monkeys and primates srilankawildlife srilankaAsian Elephants srilanka


Ayu in the Wild Holidays – Sri Lanka’s unique experiential travel company