This is a Guide to how conditions on our island – rainfall, the drought, food and water; affects what wildlife you might see and when. Global weather patterns do affect these conditions, but it’s a wildlife rich island, with great safari experiences all year.
Meaning ‘Seven tanks’ in Tamil, and described as a secret beauty for it’s scrubland, paddy fields, tanks and forest patches the Sanctuary is the island’s second RAMSAR Wetland. Good all year round for resident and migratory wetland birds, waterfowl and worth a half day’s visit especially during the winter bird migration between November to March. Wet conditions may be experienced from mid October to November.
Fringed by the coast where the endangered Marine Turtle lay their eggs, this is the first RAMSAR Wetland of the island. Great for birds all year round with an increase in numbers during the winter migration from November to March and warrants at least a full days visit or more during the migration. Wet conditions may be experienced from mid October to November.
Islands within the Gal Oya Reservoir which are inhabited by Asian Elephants could be visited by Boat from May to September, coinciding with the drought in the North-Eastern Province. One of the most epic landscapes in the island with the vast reservoir fringed by rugged hills and brightly coloured birds nesting on flowering trees. Boat service may not be regular during wet and windy conditions from November to January.
Best visited during the dry months from December to May but treks may be possible all year round depending on weather.
Best visited in November to end March during the sea mammal migration and shoals of Spinner Dolphins and to experience the ‘reef’ life on snorkeling expeditions and unspoilt, sparsely populated beaches. Wet conditions and rough seas may occur from May to September.
Best visited during the winter migration of birds from November to March. Wet conditions may occur from November to February.
RAMSAR Site. A picturesque park in the East coast best visited from April to June for it’s aquatic birds in the mangrove swamp interspersed with tall ‘Kirala’ trees and rocky outcrops. Ruins of great archeological and historical interest. Elephants and hundreds of deer graze on it’s grassy open plains, the Sloth Bear ventures out to feed on the ‘Palu’ fruit in June and of late, Leopard sighting have increased in frequency. The nesting season for birds that commence in April, peak in June and, in September, the earliest migrants may even begin to appear. Larger flocks follow with the advent of the North-East monsoons in October taking control of the swamps and trees until almost April.
Storks and large numbers of birds may visit the mangroves. Best visited during the winter migration of birds from October to February although wet conditions may occur from November to February.
Best visited from May to September. Wet conditions may occur from November to February.
Giants Tank Sanctuary & Vankalai - RAMSAR Site are best visited during the winter bird migration from November to March. Wet conditions may occur from November to February.
One of the World’s top spots for Blue Whales. Do not miss the sea mammal migration and shoals of Spinner Dolphins from November to end March. Wet conditions and rough seas can occur from May to September during the South-West Monsoon and visiting is not recommended during this period.
Do not miss ‘The Gathering’ billed as the World’s sixth greatest animal spectacle when hundreds of Asian Elephants converge to quench their thirst at the Minneriya Tank from June to September. A similar migration maybe witnessed in the adjacent Kaudulla National Park during the same period. Outside the season for ‘The Gathering’, smaller numbers can be seen at the nearby Eco Park.
Worth a visit all year round with an increase in numbers of birds during the winter migration from November to March. Wet conditions may occur from November to February.
Worth a visit all year round with an increase in numbers during the winter bird migration from November to March. December and January are best for butterflies and dragonflies. Better avoided during rains from May to September.
Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1988, a UNESCO International Man and Biosphere Reserve and the last remaining virgin rainforest in Sri Lanka. Worth a visit all year round. A high rate of endemism in vegetation, 29 of the 33 endemic bird species in Sri Lanka, the Purple Faced Leaf Monkey, reptiles and idyllic streams, waterfalls and fresh water springs. Do not miss out on the captivating and world renowned spectacle of ‘The mixed-species Feeding Flock of Sinharaja’ occurring during the winter bird migration from November to March/April. December and January are best for butterflies and dragonflies. Safaris will be on foot within the rainforest. Although it rains throughout the year, walking could be uncomfortable during heavy rains that fall from May to September.
One of the world’s top spots for Blue Whales especially from February to August peaking around April and Spinner Dolphins all year. Do not miss an opportunity to, with some luck, be on Swami Rock when Blue Whales swim by – probably the only place in the world where Blue Whales can be seen from ashore. Wet conditions may occur from November to February.
Guaranteed sightings of Asian Elephants with their young, all year round. Best time of day would be early morning and before the strong mid-day sun, and in the late afternoons. A 30,821 Ha beautiful park, excellent for photography with its open scrubland, hardwood trees, rivers lined with Kumbuk trees, raptors and endemic birds, winter migrant birds from November to March, mammals and Toque Monkey. Wet conditions may occur from November to February.
Best known for its Elephants – both slightly larger and more aggressive than those seen elsewhere in the island and the Sloth bear. The park is also home to Primates and Leopard, although rarely sighted. Can be visited all year round. Wet conditions may occur from November to February.
The largest and one of the most beautiful National Parks in the island. The cluster of natural sand rimmed water basins or 'villus' are also RAMSAR Wetlands. One of the best for Leopard and Sloth Bear and worth a visit all year. Birds can be seen in great numbers during the winter migration from November to March. Excellent for photography especially near the magnificent saucer shaped water holes or ‘Willus’ fringed by the whitest of sand, scrub jungle and willowing trees, vast grasslands and plains. Can experience wet conditions during October and early November and intermittently in December until mid-January.
A captivating jungle of 97,880 Ha with sand dunes and semi deciduous forests: 44 species of mammals, including the largest of the Asian Leopards, 215 species of birds including 46 species of reptiles and 21 species of amphibians. Don’t forget to capture an image of the rare and critically endangered Black-necked Stork although the park is best known for the highest density of Leopards per square kilometer anywhere in the world. Can be visited throughout the year. Can experience wet conditions during October, early November and some days in December/January due to the North-East Monsoons.
Bespoke experiential holidays that make the inner you connect with outdoor Sri Lanka.