13 National Parks in Sri Lanka that you should visit - With photos & details

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13 National Parks to explore in Sri Lanka

An island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean southwest of the Bay of Bengal and southeast of the Arabian Sea. It is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of prehistoric human settlements dating back at least 125,000 years.

Bundala national parkWeligatta, bundala 82004, Sri Lanka

A famous wintering ground for migratory waterbirds in Sri Lanka. Bundala shelter 197 kinds of birds, highlighting the greater flamingo, which migrates in large flocks. The Park designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and got a redesign to a national park in January 1993 and become a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2005.

Gal Oya National Park, established in 1954 serves as the main catchment area to collecting water for Senanayake Samudraya, the largest lake in Sri Lanka. An important feature of the Gal Oya National Park is its elephant herd that can be seen throughout the year.

It is a national park located 2,100–2,300 meters above sea leavel, in the central highlands in Sri Lanka and designated in 1988. It has a richly diverse ecosystem and many species spotted here are endemic to the region.

Hurulu Forest Reserve of Sri Lanka designated in January 1977 as a biosphere reserve. The forest reserve is an essential habitat of the Sri Lankan elephant. Hurulu forest reserve represents Sri Lanka dry-zone dry evergreen forests. Carved out at the Hurulu Forest Reserve edge is the Hurulu Eco Park, which offers jeep safaris.

Kaudulla National ParkGaloya Rd, Kaudulla 51375, Sri Lanka

It is a national park located 197 km away from Colombo city. In April 2002, it was designated as a national park to become the 15th such in the country. Historically it was one of the 16 irrigation tanks built by King Mahasen and was reconstructed in 1959, now attracting and supporting a variety of plant and animal life, including large mammals, fish and reptiles.

Kumana National Park is famous for its avifauna, especially its large flocks of seasonal waterfowl and wading birds. The park lies 391 km southeast from Colombo on the southeastern coast and was closed from 1985 to March 2003 because of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam attacks. It was also affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

Lunugamvehera National ParkTanamalwila, Sri Lanka

Located in the south of Sri Lanka, it was designated in 1995 to be a national park to protect the catchment Lunugamvehera reservoir and its wildlife. This national park is an essential place for water birds and elephants.

Pigeon IslandPigeon Island, Sri Lanka

Pigeon Island National Park lies 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli in Eastern Province, containing a total area of 471.429 hectares. The island's name came from the rock pigeon which colonized it. The park includes some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. This place in the 17th century used as a shooting range during the colonial era. Pigeon Island was one of the several protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

Udawalawe National ParkUdawalawa, Sri Lanka

Udawalawe National Park is located on the border of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, south Sri Lanka. The national park was established to be a sanctuary for wild animals. It has the Udawalawa Elephant Orphanage- to rehabilitate orphaned elephant calves for release back into the wild.

It is a natural park in Sri Lanka located 225 km away from Colombo in Matale and Polonnaruwa. It is also one of the protected areas where you can see Sri Lankan Elephants in large crowds. It is also one of the important birds areas in the country.

Wilpattu National Park is located 26 km north of Puttalam. With an area of 131,693 hectares Wilpattu National Park is the largest and oldest wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka. The park features more than 50 wetlands, 31 species of mammals, and countless species of birds.

Yala National ParkKatagamuwa, Yala, Sri Lanka

The park is the most visited and second-largest national park in the country. It is a vast forest, grassland, and lagoons bordering the Indian Ocean in southeast Sri Lanka. It is home for leopards, elephants, and crocodiles, as well as hundreds of bird species.