Top Five Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka

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Top Five Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka

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An island destination brimming with the wild and exotic, Sri Lanka is the perfect stop to harness your inner nomad. Prime locations, luxurious retreats and simply stunning natural beauty offer you the complete experience of a wilderness adventure like no other in the world. A journey of a lifetime, a venture into wildlife destinations in Sri Lanka takes you everywhere from stretches of lush rain forest, thrilling wildlife sanctuaries to murky marshes and silent dry woodland.

Thirsty for a taste of the wild tropics? Expect the unexpected at South Asia’s most intrepid wildlife holiday spot. Watch the wild in action with safaris into deep untouched terrains of raw forest, Sri Lanka is your ticket to watching the peacocks dance under crimson skies and sambar deer strolling in tall wavy grass lands. This is where elephants roam the open plains while stealthy leopards hound the peaceful forest floors.

The pristine land of the wild; here’s our take on the top wildlife destinations in Sri Lanka

1. Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Dramatic and beautiful, this vast natural biosphere reserve is an endless emerald sea of rich forest and foliage. With a trove of rare medical herbs and plant life, Sinharaja is treasured as the country’s last zone of perfectly pure rain forest. Keep your binoculars tuned for the occasional roaming leopard, endemic bird species and wild boar. The forest is home to a large variety of exotic animal species including the flying squirrel, the fishing cat and the rusty spotted cat. Small herds of elephants roam the north-eastern edges of the reserve while rare creatures such as the purple faced leaf monkey haunt the profuse forest foliage. Tree huggers and plant lovers will also have their dose of magic with several elusive and fragrant floral species. Keep an eye out for the shy snakes and leeches that sometimes prowl out of sight here. Also, stay camera-ready for herds of graceful sambar deer, rare cat species and giant squirrels. A truly unique pick among the island’s national parks, Sinharaja is not simply a thriving wildlife hot spot; but also one of the most beautifully preserved wildlife destinations in Sri Lanka.

2. Yala National Park

The final resting place of the avid nature lover’s heart, Yala is where the elephants come out to play and the peacocks dance to the setting sun. Enjoy an immersing experience in the very core of the island’s ravishing wilderness realms. Yala is the right place to explore a pristine wealth of wildlife, from cheeky monkeys on thick forest canopies and exquisite birds to wily leopards slinking through dry grasslands. One of the park’s top attractions, the leopards here are truly a majestic sight to behold. Keep your eyes peeled for other exotic creatures here including the sloth bears and wary deer. Other animals to check out here include sun-bathing turtles, ambling water buffalo and the large lazy crocs that are always hungry. A fascinating reserve from one end to another, Yala is most definitely one of the most exciting wildlife destinations in Sri Lanka.

3. Uda Walawe National Park

Close your eyes and breathe in the scent of an intriguing wildlife escape like no other. Beautiful Uda Walawe; with its lone leopards and intriguing woody landscapes is truly an adventure to remember. Have your camera ready for close-up shots of the most majestic creatures to roam the wild. Herds of free-roaming elephants and sambar deer frequent the lightly forested patches of the park while monkeys, colorful birds and butterflies keep the reserves’ upper reaches buzzing with life. Watch out for the sloth bears and monitor lizards that haunt the water pools and make sure to get some snaps of the exotic bird species that call the forest home.

4. Muthurajawela Marsh

A nature stop fast gaining popularity, the Muthurajawela marsh is among the more intriguing wildlife destinations in Sri Lanka. Far off from the sounds of the city bustle, the place is a hot-bed of wild creatures, beautiful birds and plant species. The marsh was allegedly created by Portugese traders who built a canal through what was once a rich rice-growing basin. Tickets sell at a simple 350 rupees for a local and 1100 rupees for foreign travelers. Simply hop on a boat, strap on your life jacket and you’re ready to explore one of the island’s best-hidden wildlife attractions. The marsh is also said to be the country’s single largest saline peat bog that provides shelter to countless species of exotic creatures. The area is definitely pretty with its varieties of vibrantly colored birds, interesting fish and an endless selection of plant life. Wide stretches of waters, ringed around by trees create a quiet atmosphere perfect for snapping a few perfect shots of the cormorants, king fishers and even rare otters. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the occasional crocodile gliding through the marshy waters and the daring monkeys overhead.

5. Pigeon Island National Park

This is one of the top-choice marine wildlife destinations in Sri Lanka. If crystal clear waters, silver sands and beautiful beach holidays are your jam, then look no more.  Of the country’s two marine national parks, the Pigeon Island is definitely the more fascinating with its baby blue waters and pure white sands. An underwater adventure different from anything you’ve seen, this location boasts shimmering stretches of glorious coral and vibrant fish. This underwater paradise is home to over hundred species of coral and three hundred species of fish. The island also sports shallow reef bars; simply perfect for a satisfying snorkeling or scuba diving experience. Swim with friendly turtles and also watch out for the occasional curious black tip reef shark while you’re at it. Also, the marine eels and countless reef fish create a colorful world of exquisite beauty that will certainly sweep you off your feet. Other things to check out here include the pigeon nesting areas, which are quite beautiful, but not enough to keep you away from the water. Do enjoy the experience but keep in mind to avoid standing on the coral reef as this badly damages the surreal perfection of the island.

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