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Guide to the best national park safari in Sri Lanka

Guide to the best national park safari in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a small island nation located in the Indian Ocean, known for its rich culture, beautiful beaches, and diverse plants and animals. The country is home to a number of protected areas, including national parks, marine protected areas, and other protected areas, which are home to a wide variety of plants and animals and offer visitors the opportunity to experience the natural beauty and diversity of Sri Lanka. Welcome to the ultimate guide to the best national park safari in Sri Lanka! The most comprehensive piece of information that is available online on wildlife in Sri Lanka.

National Parks in Sri Lanka are protected areas that are home to a variety of plants and animals and are usually managed by the Department of Wildlife Conservation. Some of the most popular national parks in Sri Lanka include Yala National Park, known for its large population of leopards and elephants; Wilpattu National Park, known for its leopards and sloth bears; and Udawalawe National Park, known for its large population of elephants and diverse array of bird species.

Marine Protected Areas in Sri Lanka are areas of the ocean that are protected in order to conserve the marine environment and its resources. These areas are usually managed by the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Coast Conservation Department. Some of the most popular marine protected areas in Sri Lanka include Pigeon Island National Park, known for its coral reefs and marine life, and Bar Reef Marine Sanctuary, also known for its coral reefs and marine life.

Other Protected Areas in Sri Lanka include forests, wetlands, and other protected areas to conserve the natural environment and its resources. One example of another protected area in Sri Lanka is the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to a diverse array of plants and animals, including rare and endangered species.

Safaris in Sri Lanka allow visitors to explore the country’s protected areas and see a variety of wildlife. Jeep safaris are a popular way to explore the national parks and other protected areas, and boat safaris are a great way to see the marine life of the country’s marine protected areas.

Overall, Sri Lanka’s National Parks, Marine Protected Areas, Other Protected Areas, and Safaris offer visitors a wide range of experiences, from jeep and boat safaris to hiking and birdwatching. Whether you’re interested in seeing rare and endangered species or just soaking up the country’s natural beauty, there is something for everyone in Sri Lanka’s protected areas.

This guide is the island’s ultimate source on the different National Parks, Other Protected Areas, Marine Protected Areas, Safaris and General Tips and Basic Background information about nature and wildlife in Sri Lanka. Offering valuable insider tips, what the best time to plan your safari is and the different biodiversity you can find in Sri Lanka.

Ecotourism in Sri Lanka is unique and fulfilling, though regulated in order to ensure discipline and safety. In terms of publicly accessible Protected Areas (PAs), in both the terrestrial (land) and marine (water) spheres the following Safari Types are officially available in Sri Lanka:

  1. Vehicular Safaris
  2. Walking Safaris
  3. Hiking Safaris
  4. Riverine/Reservoir (Boat) Safaris
  5. Maritime (Boat) Safaris
  6. Snorkeling Safaris
  7. Diving Safaris

Outside of publicly accessible Protected Areas (PA), in Other State Forests (OSFs), State Forested Lands (SFLs), Plantation Forests, Village Forests, Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs), River Valleys and the island’s Territorial (Marine) Waters, Ecotourism is significantly less regulated, though must still be conducted responsibly and respectfully.

We’ve also outlined amazing roads you can drive where you have a high chance of spotting elephants and other wildlife straight from your tuktuk, the REAL tuktuk safari of Sri Lanka!

Map of all National Parks, Marine Protected Areas & Other Protected Areas in Sri Lanka

National Parks in Sri Lanka

Yala National Park

Yala is the most visited and second-largest national park safari in Sri Lanka. It consists of six blocks, all with unique aspects, biodiversity and entrances.

Yala Block 1

Of all blocks, Yala Block 1 is the most famous and by far the most visited and the second smallest of the national parks in Sri Lanka, exclusively used for safaris.

Yala Block 1, due to the level of habituation, is a good choice when attempting to sight Terrestrial Big 5 (Elephant, Wild Water Buffalo, Sloth Bear, Leopard, Mugger Crocodile & Salt Water Crocodiles). The contiguous vegetation types in Block 1 mean that sightings of herbivorous fauna like Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, etc, are fairly consistent. Yala Block 1 also has excellent avian fauna (birdlife).

The Main Entrance (Palatupana) can be found 15 km East of Tissamaharama. Unfortunately, this is also the entrance where you will be caught in a traffic jam of jeeps before entering the park. It then depends on how good your driver/guide/safari provider is on what you will see. Some follow the crowd because they have already earned their money, while others want you to have a good experience and wander in a different direction. So always check reviews before booking your safari.

The other, lesser-known Secondary Entrance to Yala Block 1 is at Katagamuwa. Which is about 12 km east of Kataragama, and you enter the same block from the north. The biggest advantage of this entrance is that it is much less busy than Palatupana. However, this is the same Yala Block 1 and, therefore, the same area as all the other jeeps you will eventually come across as you head further south into Block I from the Secondary Entrance.

A thing to consider when visiting Yala is the number of jeeps, the Central Government (on paper) has even set a limit of 600 per day, but in reality, this is much more (during high season). These figures have an enormous impact on wildlife and nature in the park, and while there is a cap on the number of jeeps, there is no system in place to share jeeps. Resulting in jeeps just carrying individuals or couple-travellers with many empty seats.

Unfortunately, the Government Entity in charge of Yala National Park, namely the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), has not caught up with reality. The thought of having a minimal number of people per jeep would result in a better experience.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or it’s equivalent in LKRForeign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or it’s equivalent in LKR.
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or it’s equivalent in LKRForeign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or it’s equivalent in LKR.

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKRForeign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKRForeign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKRSafari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%. 
Jeep Price Toyota Hi-Lux or Mitsubishi L200 – 9000LKR (half-day) / 18000LKR (full-day)

Mahindra Maxi / TATA – 8000LKR (half-day) / 16000LKR (full-day)
Biodiversity Elephants, Leopards, True Wild Water Buffalo, Sloth Bears, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Peacocks and many other birds.
The best time to visit Yala Block 1 is a year-round destination. In the main dry season, which runs from May to September, you have a higher chance to see wildlife as the animals gather around the drying waterholes. From April and October, you can expect rain now and then. The main but main North-Eastern monsoon runs from November to January.

Between October and December, Yala Block 1 is closed to members of the general public due to the severity of the Dry Zones Dry Season and in anticipation of the North-East Monsoon.
Safari Provider From High-End to Budget:
– Ceylon Wild Safaris (Katagamuwa Entrance)
– Makini Bush Camp (Katagamuwa Entrance)
– Leopard Trails (Katagamuwa Entrance)
– Kulu Safaris (Katagamuwa Entrance)
– Tribe Yala (Main Palatupana Entrance)
– Camp Leopard Yala Safari Glamping (Katagamuwa Entrance)
Tips Try to avoid weekends and public holidays.

When visiting Yala Block 1, please share jeeps with other TukTuk Rental customers or tourists you meet on the road/at your accommodation.

Yala Block 2

One of the most remote areas of Yala you can visit is Block 2. Located far south with limited access roads, no civilisation and very few visitors resulting in wildlife being shyer and, therefore an interesting nature experience. Yala Block 2 has a unique landscape and associated contiguous vegetation types (the closest there is in Sri Lanka to an African-style Safari Experience). Bushy landscapes, large open plains and quite a few lagoons. A great but more expensive safari experience with accommodation included. A Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) permit is required to enter this part of the park, which is done by driving through Yala Block 1 towards two accessible entrances.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Block II Entry Permit (Foreign Tour Group of 10 Per Visit) – 5000 LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Toyota Hi-Lux or Mitsubishi L200 – 9000LKR (half-day) / 18000LKR (full-day)

Mahindra Maxi / TATA – 8000LKR (half-day) / 16000LKR (full-day)

*This could be a bit higher due to the distance that needs to be travelled.
Overnight Charges To Be Added (TBA)
Biodiversity Elephants, Leopards, True Wild Water Buffalo, Sloth Bears, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Saltwater Crocodiles, Peacocks and many other birds.
The best time to visit May to September.

Avoid the North-East monsoon period (the end of November to early January) at all costs.
Safari Provider Visiting this Block requires some preparation and planning. If you are interested, please get in touch with our recommended specialist John Wilson through WhatsApp.
Tips As this is a very remote area, you will need to have multiple modified jeeps stocked up with food, water, medical supplies and extra fuel. Best contact John Wilson for more information about this.

Yala Block 3

The largest of the five Blocks in Yala National Park, unlike Block 1, is heavily forested similar to what you might find in Wilpattu National Park. Due to this, Yala Block 3 has an extremely high density of Leopards and Sloth Bears. Though wild elephants’ densities are considerably lower than you would find in an open environment. On an average day, no more than 1 or 2 vehicles will enter this Block.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKRForeign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKRForeign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Toyota Hi-Lux or Mitsubishi L200 – 9000LKR (half-day) / 18000LKR (full-day)Mahindra Maxi / TATA – 8000LKR (half-day) / 16000LKR (full-day)
Biodiversity Leopards, Sloth Bears, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Indian Pangolin, Raptors and many other forest birds.
The best time to visit Throughout the year.

Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari Provider From High-End to Budget:Ceylon Wild Safaris (Katagamuwa entrance)Makini Bush Camp (Katagamuwa entrance)Leopard Trails (Katagamuwa entrance)Kulu Safaris (Katagamuwa entrance)Camp Leopard Yala Safari Glamping (Katagamuwa entrance)
Tips As Block 3 is constituted as old-growth forest, always maintain as much silence as possible when visiting.

Yala Block 4

The second largest of the five Blocks in Yala National Park, with similar vegetation and wildlife sightings to Block 3. On an average week, no more than 1 or 2 vehicles will enter this Block.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Toyota Hi-Lux or Mitsubishi L200 – 9000LKR (half-day) / 18000LKR (full-day)

Mahindra Maxi / TATA – 8000LKR (half-day) / 16000LKR (full-day)
Biodiversity Leopards, Sloth Bears, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Indian Pangolin, Raptors and many other forest birds.
The best time to visit Throughout the year.

Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari Provider From High-End to Budget:
Ceylon Wild Safaris (Katagamuwa entrance)
Makini Bush Camp (Katagamuwa entrance)
Leopard Trails (Katagamuwa entrance)
Kulu Safaris (Katagamuwa entrance)
Camp Leopard Yala Safari Glamping (Katagamuwa entrance)
Tips As Block 4 is constituted as old-growth forest, always maintain as much silence as possible when visiting.

Yala Block 5

The smallest of the five Blocks in Yala National Park, although it has similar vegetation to blocks 3 and 4, it also has a set of habitats and ecosystems that are unique unto itself. Because they are anthropogenically (meaning the result of positive human interference) driven, this created an area unique to Block 5.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Toyota Hi-Lux or Mitsubishi L200 – 9000LKR (half-day) / 18000LKR (full-day)

Mahindra Maxi / TATA – 8000LKR (half-day) / 16000LKR (full-day)
Biodiversity Elephants, Leopards, Sloth Bears, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Raptors and many other birds.
The best time to visit Throughout the year.

Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari Provider From High-End to Budget:
Ceylon Wild Safaris (Katagamuwa entrance)
Makini Bush Camp (Katagamuwa entrance)
Leopard Trails (Katagamuwa entrance)
Kulu Safaris (Katagamuwa entrance)
Camp Leopard Yala Safari Glamping (Katagamuwa entrance)
Tips The Main Entrance of Yala National Park – Block V (Weheragala) also serves as the Rear Entrance for Lunugamvehera National Park, and thus you can visit both National Parks on the same Entrance Ticket.

Yala Block 6 (formerly Lunugamvehera National Park)

A very high density of wild elephants and similar vegetation to Block 1. However, a very different set of ecosystems and habitats but a wonderful safari experience. Also directly borders Yala Block 5 and, for the most part, is relatively free of Forests.

Lunugamvehera National Park is Sri Lanka’s 09th largest National Park and also carries one additional National Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely Nationally Listed Wetland Site. Lunugamvehera is situated across two Administrative Districts, namely Monaragala (Uva Province) and Hambantota (Southern Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Lunugamvehera is positioned within the Intermediate and Dry Zone.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Lunugamvehera’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris).

Lunugamvehera is also home to an additional 40 species of Mammal, 32 species of Reptile, 184 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 12 species of Amphibian and 21 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Lunugamvehera is primarily constituted of Anthropogenically Created Grasslands (Tall Grass and Short Grass), Deccan Thorn Scrub Forests, Artificial Water Bodies and Dry Zone Riverine Forests, though Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland and large clusters of abandoned Forest Plantations (the latter consisting of both Eucalyptus and Teak) are also found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

Although 95% of the Vehicular Safaris to Lunugamvehera National Park take place through the Main Entrance (Thanamalwila), the National Park has 06 other Official Entrances, namely Left Bank (currently inaccessible), Kithulkote, Karawila (closed to the general public), Demaliya (closed to the general public) and Veheragala, the latter of which is the shared with the Main Entrance of Yala National Park – Block V).

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKRSafari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Toyota Hilux or Mitsubishi L200 – ???? LKR (Half Day) / ???? LKR (Full Day)

Mahindra Maxi/TATA – 15,000 LKR (Half Day) / 30,000 LKR (Full Day)
Biodiversity Wild Elephants, Leopards, Golden Jackals, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Raptors (Eagles, Kites and Owls), Painted Storks and other Avian Fauna
The best time to visit Throughout the year.

Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari and Accommodation Provider From High-End to Budget:
Tranquil Wild (Thanamalwila Entrance)
KirindiOya Village (Thanamalwila Entrance)
The Kingdom Eco Lodge and Farm (Demaliya Entrance – Closed)
Forest Edge Resort (Karawila Entrance – Closed)
Tips The Rear Entrance of Lunugamvehera National Park (Weheragala) also serves as the Main Entrance for Yala National Park – Block V and thus you can visit both National Parks on the same Entrance Ticket.
Elephants in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka
A herd of elephants in a Yala National Park, Sri Lanka.

Kumana National Park

A key wilderness feature of the Eastern and Uva Provinces, Kumana National Park is Sri Lanka’s 07th largest National Park and also carries one International Protected Area (PA) Designation, Ramsar Listed Wetland Cluster of International Importance (together with the ‘Panama – Kudumbigala Wildlife Sanctuary’), on of the best lesser-known national park safaris in Sri Lanka!

Kumana is situated across two Administrative Districts: Ampara (Eastern Province) and Monaragala (Uva Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Kumana is positioned within the Dry Zone.

All Five Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five are found within Kumana’s administrative boundaries, including the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), high densities of Sri Lanka’s increasingly rare True Wild Water Buffalo (Bubalus arnee), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) and the mighty Sri Lankan Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).

Kumana is also home to an additional 17 species of Mammal, 34 species of Reptile, 163 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 15 species of Amphibian, an incredible 52 species of Butterfly and 17 species of Freshwater Fish. Interestingly, while Kumana’s Avian Faunal (Birds) species diversity is very high, a common misconception over the last three decades is that Kumana National Park is primarily visitable for those who are solely interested in such Avian Fauna (Birds), which could not be further from the truth.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Kumana is primarily constituted of Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Dry Zone Riverine Forests, Dry Zone Rock or Outcrop Forests and large Coastal (Brackish Water) Lagoons, though isolated patches of Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland, extremely Localised Open Plains and Artificial Water Bodies (Reservoirs and Watering Holes), are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park. A unique hydrological feature of Kumana is the presence of Kumana Villu, which is a vast Natural Lake/Natural Sand-Rimmed Depression, that is surrounded by yet another type of unique ecosystem and habitats, in the form of Coastal Mangrove Forests.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKRSafari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price 9000 LKR (half-day) / 17000 LKR (full-day)
Biodiversity Wild Elephants, True Wild Water Buffalo, Sloth Bear, Leopards, Golden Jackals, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer and a myriad of Avian Fauna (Birds)
The best time to visit Throughout the year.

Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari and Accommodation Provider The only legitimate provider of Ecotourism related services to Kumana is Extreme Nature Tours.
Tips Avoid the expectation of guaranteed sightings of terrestrial big 5 and if you have an interest in avian fauna, make sure to visit south-western Kumana in particular.

Udawalawe National Park

Unlike other National Parks in Sri Lanka, about half of Udawalawe National Park is a modified ecosystem that was reclaimed from humans in the 1970s. This applies to southern Udawalawe, though interestingly, northern Udawalawe still retains the original habitats and ecosystems applicable to that area which are more along the lines of Yala Block 3 and Wilpattu National Park. Udawalawa National Park is one of the most famous National Park Safaris in Sri Lanka.

Southern Udawalawe has smaller vegetation and open plains and grasslands, while northern Udawalawe is still old-grown forests. Unfortunately, most safari’s only take visitors to the southern part and end up seeing only 10% of the actual park.

Udawalawe National Park is Sri Lanka’s 08th largest National Park and also carries one International Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely Important Birding (Bird) and Biodiversity Area. Udawalawe is situated across two Administrative Districts, namely Ratnapura (Sabaragamuwa Province) and Monaragala (Uva Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Udawalawe is positioned within the Intermediate and Dry Zone.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Udawalawe’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). Udawalawe is also home to an additional 40 species of Mammal, 32 species of Reptile, 184 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 12 species of Amphibian and 21 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Udawalawe is primarily constituted of Anthropogenically Created Grasslands (Tall Grass and Short Grass), Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests and Dry Zone Riverine Forests, though both Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland and large clusters of abandoned Forest Plantations (the latter consisting of Eucalyptus) are also found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

The Main Entrance of Udawalawe National Park is located on the southern boundary of this Protected Area (PA) and is also titled “Udawalawe”. However, there is a much, much less well-known Secondary Entrance to Udawalawe on the north-western boundary of this Protected Area (PA) titled Handagiriya.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKRSafari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Toyota Hilux or Mitsubishi L200 – ???? LKR (Half Day) / ???? LKR (Full Day)

Mahindra Maxi/TATA – ???? LKR (Half Day) / ???? LKR (Full Day)
Biodiversity Wild Elephants, Jungle Cats, Golden Jackals, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mugger Crocodiles, Peacocks and many other birds.
The best time to visit Throughout the year.
Safari and Accommodation Provider In terms of operators of legitimate safari providers, there is not much in terms of options, except for Governor’s Camp. You can find Private Sector Safari Jeeps parked right outside the Main Entrance and through whichever accommodation options you choose to book.

Aside from Governor’s Camp Udawalawe, there are also a number of other Private Sector Accommodation options that provide Ecotourism Services (Vehicular Safaris, Paddle Boat Safaris, etc), see list below:
Banyan Camp Udawalawe
Athgira Hotel and Restaurant (Main Entrance)
Centuria Wild (Main Entrance)
Eliyanth Udawalawe (Main Entrance)
Royal Tusker Udawalawe (Main Entrance)
Elephant Trail Udawalawe (Main Entrance)
River Glamping by Gaga Bees (Main Entrance)
Thuduwa Camp Udawalawe
Tips Adjacent to the National Park is the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) run Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home (UETH), an ethical State Elephant Orphanage and Medical Facility, unlike other ones on the island.

Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s largest National Park and the largest Protected Area (PA) on the island overall. Fondly known as the “Land of Lakes”, due to the presence of Natural Water Bodies classified as Villus (Natural Lakes or Natural Sand-Rimmed Depressions), among the few types of Natural Water Bodies found in Sri Lanka. A recommended place to spot the elusive Leopard on your National Park Safari in Sri Lanka, outside the generally busier Yala Nationalk Park.

The western boundary of Wilpattu National Park is the Indian Ocean, and the northern and southern boundaries consist of two rivers—namely the Kala Oya River in the south and the Modaragam Aru River in the north.

A key wilderness feature of the North Western and North Central Provinces, Wilpattu National Park holds the distinction of being Sri Lanka’s Largest National Park and also carries one International Protected Area (PA) Designation, Ramsar Listed Wetland Cluster of International Importance (together with the Wilpattu North Wildlife Sanctuary). Wilpattu is situated across two Administrative Districts, namely Puttalam (North Western Province) and Anuradhapura (North Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Wilpattu is positioned within the Dry Zone and is directly connected to multiple, smaller Protected Areas (PAs), namely the Galwila Ecological (Eco) Park, the Mavillu Conservation Forest, the Thabbowa Wildlife Sanctuary and the Wilpattu North Wildlife Sanctuary. All Five Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five are found within Wilpattu’s administrative boundaries, including the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan True Wild Water Buffalo (Bubalus arnee), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) and the mighty Sri Lankan Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).

Wilpattu is also home to an additional 37 species of Mammal, 55 species of Reptile, 163 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 17 species of Amphibian, a remarkable 86 species of Butterfly and 29 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Wilpattu is primarily constituted of Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Dry Zone Riverine Forests, Dry Zone Rock or Outcrop Forests and Coastal Mangrove Forests, though Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland, extremely Localised Open Plains and Artificial Water Bodies (Reservoirs and Watering Holes), are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park. A unique hydrological feature of Wilpattu is the presence of multiple “විල්ලු”, which in English loosely translates to “Natural Lake”. These Natural Lakes or Natural Sand-Rimmed Depressions are scattered throughout the National Park and can either consist of Freshwater or Brackish Water.

Wilpattu National Park has Six Official Entrances, but currently, only two are open and accessible to members of the general public (the Main Entrance at Hunuwilagama and the Secondary Entrance at Eluwankulama).

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKRSafari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price All types – 8000LKR (half-day) / 16000LKR (full-day)
Biodiversity Leopards, Sloth Bear, Jungle Cats, Fishing Cats, Golden Jackals, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mugger Crocodiles, Peacocks and many other forest birds.
Visit Wilpattu National Park can be visited throughout the year, but try to avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February).
Safari and Accommodation Provider From High-End to Budget
Wilpattu Safari Camp (Main Entrance)
Leopard Trails (Main Entrance)
Governors Camp (Secondary Entrance)
Big Game/Mahoora by EcoTeam (Main Entrance)
Leopard Lakes (Secondary Entrance)
Wild Wadi Wilpattu (Secondary Entrance)
Wilpattu Nature Resort (Secondary Entrance)
Wilpattu Wild Watch (Main Entrance)
Tips The best option for the most realistic chances of seeing both Leopards and Sloth Bears in Sri Lanka outside of Yala National Park – Block I.

Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla National Park is Sri Lanka’s 17th largest National Park and the epicentre of one of the planet’s greatest wildlife spectacles, namely the Great Elephant Gathering of Asia. As expected, the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is found in extremely high densities within the administrative boundaries of the National Park, particularly between June and September.

Kaudulla is situated within one Administrative District, namely Polonnaruwa (North Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Kaudulla is positioned within the Dry Zone. Aside from the Sri Lankan Elephant, other examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found in high densities within Kaudulla’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris).

Kaudulla is also home to an additional 22 species of Mammal, 24 species of Reptile, 160 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 09 species of Amphibian and 26 species of Freshwater Fish. 

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Kaudulla is primarily constituted of Seasonal Grasslands and the Kaudulla Reservoir, though Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Dry Zone Riverine Forests and  Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

There are Two Official Entrances to Kaudulla, though Vehicular Safaris for the general public take place via the Main Entrance (Habaraa – Galoya), not to be confused with Gal Oya Valley National Park.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKRSafari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Normal Vehicles – 7000 LKR (half-day) / 14000 LKR (full-day)

Luxury Vehicles  – 8000 LKR (half-day) / 16000 LKR (full-day)
Biodiversity Wild Elephants, Fishing Cats, Golden Jackals, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mugger Crocodiles, Peacocks, Raptors and many other aquatic birds.
Visit The best time to visit Kaudulla National Park is early May to late September (months of the Gathering)

Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari and Accommodation Provider All applicable Private Sector Accommodation options are located in Sigiriya, Habarana and a few close to Moragaswewa, none in the immediate vicinity of the Kaudulla Main Entrance (Galoya)
Tips The best option for witnessing a global wildlife spectacle called “The Great Elephant Gathering”.

Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park is Sri Lanka’s 15th largest National Park and the epicentre of one of the planet’s greatest wildlife spectacles, namely the Great Elephant Gathering of Asia. As expected, the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is found in extremely high densities within the administrative boundaries of the National Park, particularly between June and September.

Minneriya is situated within one Administrative District, namely Polonnaruwa (North Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Minneriya is positioned within the Dry Zone.

Aside from the Sri Lankan Elephant, other examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found in high densities within Minneriya’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). Minneriya is also home to an additional 22 species of Mammal, 24 species of Reptile, 160 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 09 species of Amphibian and 26 species of Freshwater Fish. In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Minneriya is primarily constituted of Seasonal Grasslands and the Minneriya Reservoir, though Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland and Bamboo Clusters are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Normal Vehicles – 7000 LKR (half-day) / 14000 LKR (full-day)

Luxury Vehicles  – 8000 LKR (half-day) / 16000 LKR (full-day)
Biodiversity Wild Elephants, Fishing Cats, Golden Jackals, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mugger Crocodiles, Peacocks, Raptors and many other aquatic birds.
Visit The best time to visit Kaudulla National Park is early May to late September (months of the Gathering).

Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari Provider All applicable Private Sector Accommodation options are located in Sigiriya, Habarana and a few close to Moragaswewa, none in the immediate vicinity of the Kaudulla Main Entrance (Galoya)
Tips The best option for witnessing a global wildlife spectacle called “The Great Elephant Gathering”.

Wasgamuwa National Park

A key wilderness feature of the Mahaweli Region, Wasgamuwa National Park is Sri Lanka’s 05th largest National Park. The actual name for this National Park is derived from the Sinhala terms “වලස්” and “ගමුව”, which in English loosely translates to “Bear Village”.

As would be expected, the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus) is found in extremely high densities within the administrative boundaries of the National Park. Wasgamuwa is situated across two Administrative Districts, namely Matale (Central Province) and Polonnaruwa (North Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Wasgamuwa is positioned within the Intermediate and Dry Zone.

Aside from the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, other examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found in high densities within Wasgamuwa’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). Wasgamuwa is also home to an additional 17 species of Mammal, 34 species of Reptile, 163 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 15 species of Amphibian, an incredible 52 species of Butterfly and 17 species of Freshwater Fish. In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Wasgamuwa is primarily constituted of Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests and Dry Zone Riverine Forests, though Dry Zone Rock or Outcrop Forests, Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland and Intermediate Zone Savannah Grasslands are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

A unique hydrological feature of Wasgamuwa is the presence of multiple “එබ්බේ”, which in English loosely translates to “Oxbow Lake”. These Oxbow Lakes are situated in the immediate vicinity of the මහවැලි ගඟ or the “Great Sandy River” and act as natural sponges that effectively soak up and collect excess water from the aforementioned River, preventing it from bursting its banks during the North Eastern Monsoon Season.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKRForeign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKRForeign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR
Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKRSafari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR
As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price Toyota Hilux or Mitsubishi L200 – 12,000 LKR (Half Day) / 24,000LKR (Full Day)
Mahindra Maxi / TATA – ???? LKR (Half Day) / ???? LKR (Full Day)
Biodiversity Wild Elephants, Fishing Cats, Golden Jackals, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mugger Crocodiles, Peacocks, Raptors and many other aquatic birds.
Visit Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari and Accommodation Provider High-End to Budget:
Lavendish Wild Safari (Handungamuwa Entrance)Safari Village Hotel Wasgamuwa (Handungamuwa Entrance)Lakegala Resort (Kiri Oya Entrance)Hotel Elephant Border (Handungamuwa Entrance)
Tips  

Angammedilla National Park

A “Mini-Wasgamuwa”, with its own unique ecological characteristics, Angammedilla National Park is Sri Lanka’s 16th largest National Park. Angammedilla is situated within one Administrative District, namely Polonnaruwa (North Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Angammedilla is positioned within the Dry Zone. Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Angammedilla’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). 

Angammedilla is also home to an additional 40 species of Mammal, 32 species of Reptile, 184 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 12 species of Amphibian and 21 species of Freshwater Fish. 

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Angammedilla is primarily constituted of Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Dry Zone Riverine Forests and Dry Zone Rock or Outcrop Forests, though both Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland and Localised Open Plains are also found (albeit in scattered clusters) throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park. A unique hydrological feature of Angammedilla is the presence of the Parakrama Samudra Reservoir. The Parakrama Samudra Reservoir is the second largest Artificial Water Body in Sri Lanka.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR
As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price  
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park is Sri Lanka’s 18th largest National Park and also carries two International Protected Area (PA) Designations, namely Ramsar Listed Wetland Site of International Importance and International UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve.

Bundala is situated within one Administrative District, namely Hambantota (Southern Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Bundala is positioned within the Dry Zone, and directly borders the Indian Ocean (one of the few Protected Areas that does), with a stretch of coastline totalling approximately 20 kilometres.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Bundala’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Bundala is also home to an additional 30 species of Mammal, 47 species of Reptile, 197 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 15 species of Amphibian and 32 species of Freshwater and Brackish Water Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Bundala is primarily constituted of Deccan Thorn Scrub Forests, Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland and Coastal (Brackish Water) Lagoons, though Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Coastal Sand Dunes and large clusters of the highly invasive Long-Thorn Kiawe (Prosopis juliflora) are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price  
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Gal Oya Valley National Park

A key wilderness feature of the Gal Oya Valley, Gal Oya Valley National Park is Sri Lanka’s 10th largest National Park. Gal Oya Valley is situated across two Administrative Districts, namely Badulla (Uva Province) and Ampara (Eastern Province).

From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Gal Oya Valley is positioned within the Intermediate and Dry Zone. Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Gal Oya Valley’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris).

Gal Oya Valley is also home to an additional 17 species of Mammal, 34 species of Reptile, 163 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 15 species of Amphibian, an incredible 52 species of Butterfly and 17 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Gal Oya Valley is primarily constituted of Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Dry Zone Riverine Forests, Intermediate Zone Savannah Forests and Intermediate Zone Riverine Forests, though Dry Zone Rock or Outcrop Forests, Seasonally Flooded, Anthropogenically Created Grasslands (Tall Grass and Short Grass) and large stretches of illegal working Agricultural Lands (the latter consisting of Paddy Crops), are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park. A unique hydrological feature of Gal Oya Valley is the presence of the Senanayake Samudra Reservoir. The Senanayake Samudra Reservoir is the largest Artificial Water Body in Sri Lanka.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price  
Boat Price Chargeable Fees for a Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) Motor Boat Tour (Foreign Tour Group Consisting of Eight Persons Maximum) – 1000 LKR
Biodiversity  
Visit Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early February) at all costs.
Safari and Accommodation Provider High-End to Budget:
Wild Glamping Gal Oya
The Gal Oya Lodge
Tips  

Maduru Oya National Park

Maduru Oya National Park is Sri Lanka’s 04th largest National Park and also carries one International Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely Important Birding (Bird) and Biodiversity Area. One of the most unknown national park safaris in Sri Lanka.

Maduru Oya is situated across three Administrative Districts, namely Badulla (Uva Province), Ampara (Eastern Province) and Polonnaruwa (North Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Maduru Oya is positioned within the Dry Zone.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Maduru Oya’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). 

Maduru Oya is also home to an additional 40 species of Mammal, 32 species of Reptile, 184 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 12 species of Amphibian and 21 species of Freshwater Fish. 

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Maduru Oya is primarily constituted of Anthropogenically Created Grasslands (Tall Grass and Short Grass), Open Plains and Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland, though both Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests and Dry Zone Rock or Outcrop Forests are also found (albeit in scattered clusters) throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price  
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Chundikkulam National Park

Chundikkulam National Park is Sri Lanka’s 11th largest National Park and also carries one International Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely Important Birding (Bird) and Biodiversity Area.

Chundikkulam is situated across two Administrative Districts, namely Jaffna (Northern Province) and Mullaitivu (Northern Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Chundikkulam is positioned within the Dry Zone and directly borders the Indian Ocean (one of the few Protected Areas that does), with a stretch of coastline totalling approximately 30 kilometres. Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Chundikkulam’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). 

Chundikkulam is also home to an additional 40 species of Mammal, 32 species of Reptile, 184 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 12 species of Amphibian and 21 species of Freshwater Fish. 

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Chundikkulam is primarily constituted of Deccan Thorn Scrub Forests and Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland, though Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Coastal Sand Dunes and Coastal (Brackish Water) Lagoons are also found (albeit in scattered clusters) throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

A unique hydrological feature of Chundikkulam is the presence of multiple “කුලම්”, which in English loosely translates to “Natural Pond”. These (Brackish Water) Natural Ponds are situated in the immediate vicinity of the National Park’s extensive coastline and are unique examples of Natural Water Bodies that are found exclusively in the Northern Province.

PLEASE NOTE that as of October 2022, no Private Sector Safari Vehicles have been registered with the Chundikkulam National Park Headquarters (NPHQ), and there are no examples of Private Sector Accommodation in the immediate vicinity of the National Park either. If you wish to enter Chundikkulam, renting a 4X4 Vehicle in Jaffna City beforehand would be advisable, as it is extremely risky to traverse Chundikkulam in a tuktuk. Please also note that just like any other, publicly accessible Protected Area (PA), you have to purchase an Official Entrance Ticket from the National Park Headquarters (NPHQ), in order to be granted entry into Chundikkulam.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price N/A
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider N/A
Tips  

Horton Plains National Park

Horton Plains National Park is Sri Lanka’s 21st largest National Park and also carries one International Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely Individual Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site (part of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka Collective Natural UNESCO World Heritage Property). The most famous walking national park safari of Sri Lanka.

Horton Plains is situated within one Administrative District, namely Nuwara Eliya (Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Horton Plains is positioned within the Montane and Upper Montane Wet Zones, and directly borders another, much larger Protected Area (PA), namely the Peak Wilderness Wildlife Sanctuary.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Horton Plains’s administrative boundaries, are limited to the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Horton Plains is also home to an additional 23 species of Mammal, 09 species of Reptile, 87 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 08 species of Amphibian and 01 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Horton Plains is primarily constituted of Montane Forests, Upper Montane or “Cloud Montane” Forests and Montane Grasslands and Shrublands, as well as vast swathes of Dwarf Bamboo (Arundinaria densifolia) and Carpet Grass (Axonopus fissifolius), the latter of which were illegally introduced to Horton Plains in the 1960s and are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

Additionally, from a geological standpoint, Sri Lanka’s 02 and 03rd tallest mountains, namely Kirigalpoththa (2388 metres) and Thotupola Kanda (2357 metres) are situated within Horton Plains’s administrative boundaries.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Private Vehicle Price Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Private Vehicle (tuktuk) Ticket – 150 LKR
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
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Delft Island National Park

Delft Island National Park is Sri Lanka’s 23rd largest National Park and is situated within one Administrative District, namely Jaffna (Northern Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Delft Island is positioned within the Northern Dry Zone. Presently, zero examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Delft Island’s administrative boundaries.

Delft Island is also home to an additional 23 species of Mammal, 09 species of Reptile, 87 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 08 species of Amphibian and 01 species of Freshwater Fish. In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Horton Plains is primarily constituted of Montane Forests, Upper Montane or “Cloud Montane” Forests and Montane Grasslands and Shrublands, as well as vast swathes of Dwarf Bamboo (Arundinaria densifolia) and Carpet Grass (Axonopus fissifolius), which are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

The only population of Wild Ponies in Sri Lanka (a remnant of colonial heritage) is found on Delft Island.

Additionally, from a geological standpoint, Delft Island is the only Terrestrial National Park within Sri Lanka’s territorial landmass that is situated exclusively on an island.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 03$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $04 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $02 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR
A
s per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price  
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Other Protected Areas (PAs)

Peak Wilderness Wildlife Sanctuary

The Peak Wilderness Wildlife Sanctuary is Sri Lanka’s 04th largest Terrestrial Wildlife Sanctuary and (importantly), also carries one International Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely Individual Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site (part of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka Collective Natural UNESCO World Heritage Property).

Peak Wilderness is situated across two Administrative Districts, namely Nuwara Eliya (Central Province) and Ratnapura (Sabaragamuwa Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Peak Wilderness is positioned within the Sub Montane, Montane and Upper Montane Wet Zones and is directly connected to one much smaller Protected Area (PA), namely Horton Plains National Park.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Knuckle’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) and the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Peak Wilderness is also home to an additional 21 species of Mammal, 09 species of Reptile, 95 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 09 species of Amphibian and 17 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Peak Wilderness is primarily constituted of Sub Montane Forests, Montane Forests, Upper Montane or “Cloud Montane” Forests and Montane Grasslands and Shrublands though, Montane Riverine Forests, Natural Waterfalls and large stretches of both working Tea and Forest Plantations (the latter consisting of Pinus) are found on the peripheries of the administrative boundaries of the Wildlife Sanctuary.

Additionally, (from a geological standpoint) Sri Lanka’s 08th tallest and possibly most well-known Mountain, namely Adam’s Peak or “ශ්‍රී පාදය” (2243 metres) is situated slightly within Peak Wilderness’s north-western administrative boundaries.

Although under the authority, mandate and purview of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), the Peak Wilderness Wildlife does not allow Vehicular Safaris. Instead (in an identical manner to the 05 of the 28 National Parks), only Walking and/or Hiking Safaris are officially allowed within the administrative boundaries of the Wildlife Sanctuary.

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 03$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $04 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $02 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $05 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $03 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $04 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $02 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Consisting of 10 Persons) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Biodiversity Elephants, Leopards, Golden Jackals, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Raptors and many other birds.
The best time to visit Throughout the year.

Avoid the period of the North-East monsoon (the end of November to early January) at all costs.
Private Sector Accommodation Provider From High-End to Budget:
Tips  

Hurulu Ecological (Eco) Park

The Hurulu Ecological (Eco) Park is Sri Lanka’s 1st Ecological (Eco) Park and was only officially opened to members of the general public for visitation (ecotourism) purposes in February 2008.

Hurulu is situated within one Administrative District, namely Polonnaruwa (North Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Hurulu is positioned within the Dry Zone and directly borders multiple other Protected Areas (PAs).

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Hurulu’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). Hurulu is also home to an additional 20 species of Mammal, 17 species of Reptile, 80 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 07 species of Amphibian and ?? species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Hurulu is primarily constituted of Anthropogenically Created Grasslands (Tall Grass and Short Grass), Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests and abandoned Forest Plantations (the latter consisting of Teak), though Dry Zone Riverine Forests, Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland and a large number of Artificial Water Bodies are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

Although under the authority, mandate and purview of the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC), the Hurulu Ecological (Eco) Park does not allow Walking and/or Hiking Safaris. Instead (in an identical manner to the 16 of the 28 National Parks), only Vehicular Safaris are officially allowed within the administrative boundaries of the Ecological (Eco) Park.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

Excluding Value Added Tax (VAT)

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price  
Biodiversity Elephants, Leopards, Golden Jackals, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Hornbills and many other birds.
The best time to visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Galwila Ecological (Eco) Park

The Galwila Ecological (Eco) Park is Sri Lanka’s 2nd Ecological (Eco) Park, and was only officially opened to members of the general public for visitation (ecotourism) purposes in July 2020. Galwila is situated within one Administrative District, namely Puttalam (North Western Province).

From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Galwila is positioned within the Dry Zone and directly borders another, much larger Protected Area (PA), namely Wilpattu National Park.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Galwila’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and the Sri Lankan Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). Galwila is also home to an additional 19 species of Mammal, 13 species of Reptile, 115 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 10 species of Amphibian and 07 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Galwila is primarily constituted of Dry Zone Dry Evergreen Forests, Semi-Arid Scrubland/Xeric Shrubland and Localised (Short Grass) Open Plains through Dry Zone Riverine Forests, Artificial Water Bodies and large clusters of abandoned Forest Plantations (the latter consisting of Eucalyptus) are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the National Park.

Although under the authority, mandate and purview of the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC), the Galwila Ecological (Eco) Park does not allow Walking and/or Hiking Safaris. Instead (in an identical manner to the 16 of the 28 National Parks), only Vehicular Safaris are officially allowed within the administrative boundaries of the Ecological (Eco) Park.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $12 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 06$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per Vehicle) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Safari Vehicle (Jeep) Ticket – 300 LKR

Excluding Value Added Tax (VAT)

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Jeep Price  
Biodiversity Elephants, Leopards, Golden Jackals, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Hornbills and many other birds.
The best time to visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Galoya Ecological (Eco) Park (planned to open in 2023)

More info added soon.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is Sri Lanka’s 16th largest Protected Area (PA) and (importantly), also carries one additional National Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely National Heritage Wilderness Area, as well as two International Protected Area (PA) Designations, namely Individual Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and International UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve.

Sinharaja is situated across four Administrative Districts, namely Ratnapura (Sabaragamuwa Province), Galle (Southern Province), Matara (Southern Province) and Kalutara (Western Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Galwila is positioned within the Lowland Wet Zone and the Sub Montane Zone and directly borders another, much smaller Protected Area (PA), namely the Diyadawa Conservation Forest.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Sinharaja’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) and the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Sinharaja is also home to an additional 57 species of Mammal, 92 species of Reptile, 184 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 55 species of Amphibian and 59 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Sinharaja is primarily constituted of Lowland Tropical Rainforests, Lowland Tropical Riverine Forests and Sub Montane Forests, though Sub Montane Grasslands and Shrublands (anthropogenically created), Natural Waterfalls and large stretches of both working Tea and Forest Plantations (the latter consisting of Pinus) are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the Forest Reserve.

Although under the authority, mandate and purview of the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC), the Sinharaja Forest Reserve does not allow Vehicular Safaris. Instead (in an identical manner to the 05 of the 28 National Parks), only Walking and/or Hiking Safaris are officially allowed within the administrative boundaries of the Forest Reserve.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult – 1037.04 LKR or its equivalent in USD
Foreign Child (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 518.52 or its equivalent in USD

Including Value Added Tax (VAT)
Walking and/or Hiking Safaris Price Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per State Guide) – 4000 LKR or its equivalent in USD
Biodiversity  
Visit Avoid the period of the South-West Monsoon (the start of May until early September) at all costs.
Safari and Accommodation Provider High-End to Budget:
The Boulder Garden Hotel
Nestwood Bungalow
Greenwood Bungalow
Birds Paradise Hotel Sinharaja (Kudawa Entrance)
The Blue Magpie Lodge (Kudawa Entrance)
Jansen’s Bungalow Sinharaja (Kudawa Entrance)
Martin’s Lodge (Kudawa Entrance)
Rock View Sinharaja (Kudawa Entrance)
Sinharaja Forest Edge (Pitadeniya Entrance)
Sinharaja Forest Gate (Pitadeniya Entrance)
Rainforest Mount Lodge (Pitadeniya Entrance)
The Rainforest Village (Pitadeniya Entrance)
Pavarone Eco Lodge Sinharaja (Lankagama Entrance)
Sinharaja Base Camp (Wathugala Entrance)
The Forest Retreat
Sinharaja Kurulu Ella Eco Resort (Kurulugala Entrance)
Sinharaja Tea Garden Hotel
Tips  

Kanneliya Forest Reserve (part of the KDN Forest Complex)

More info to be added soon.

Rathna Ella Forest Reserve

The Rathna Ella Forest Reserve is one of Sri Lanka’s least known, publicly accessible Protected Areas (PAs). Rathna Ella is situated within one Administrative District, namely Kandy (Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Rathna Ella is positioned within the Intermediate Zone and directly borders two, much larger Protected Areas (PAs), namely the Knuckles Conservation Forest and the Victoria Randenigala Rantambe Wildlife Sanctuary.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Rathna Ella’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) and the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Rathna Ella is also home to an additional 57 species of Mammal, 92 species of Reptile, 184 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 55 species of Amphibian and 59 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Rathna Ella is primarily constituted of Intermediate Zone Evergreen Forests and Intermediate Zone Riverine Forests, though Natural Waterfalls and large stretches of both working Agricultural Lands (consisting of Rice) are found throughout and within the administrative boundaries of the Forest Reserve.

Although under the authority, mandate and purview of the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC), the Rathna Ella Forest Reserve does not allow Vehicular Safaris. Instead (in an identical manner to the 05 of the 28 National Parks), only Walking and/or Hiking Safaris are officially allowed within the administrative boundaries of the Forest Reserve.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult – 324 LKR or its equivalent in USD
Foreign Child (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 162 LKR or its equivalent in USD

Including Value Added Tax (VAT)
Walking and/or Hiking Safaris Price Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per State Guide) – 4000 LKR or its equivalent in USD
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Kandalama – Kaludiya Pokuna Forest Reserve

Info to be added soon.

Yagirala Forest Reserve

Info to be added soon.

Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve

Info to be added soon.

Kitulgala – Makandawa (South) Forest Reserve

Info to be added soon.

Knuckles Range Conservation Forest

The Knuckles Conservation Forest is Sri Lanka’s 18th largest Protected Area (PA) and (importantly), also carries one additional National Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely National Man and Biosphere Reserve, as well as one International Protected Area (PA) Designation, namely Individual Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site (part of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka Collective Natural UNESCO World Heritage Property).

Knuckles is situated across two Administrative Districts, namely Kandy (Central Province) and Matale (Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Knuckles is positioned within the Intermediate, Sub Montane, Montane and Upper Montane Wet Zones and is indirectly connected to two slightly larger Protected Areas (PAs), namely Wasgamuwa National Park and the Victoria Randenigala Rantambe Wildlife Sanctuary.

Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Knuckle’s administrative boundaries include the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus) and the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Knuckles is also home to an additional 28 species of Mammal, 53 species of Reptile, 128 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 20 species of Amphibian and 15 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Knuckles is primarily constituted of Intermediate Zone Evergreen Forests, Sub Montane Forests, Montane Forests, Upper Montane or “Cloud Montane” Forests and Montane Grasslands and Shrublands though, Montane Riverine Forests, Natural Waterfalls and large stretches of both working Tea and Forest Plantations (the latter consisting of Pinus) are found on the peripheries of the administrative boundaries of the Conservation Forest. Additionally, from a geological standpoint, one of Sri Lanka’s taller mountains (top 40 – 50 in terms of overall height), namely Gombaniya (1906 metres) is situated deep within Knuckle’s administrative boundaries.

Although under the authority, mandate and purview of the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC), the Knuckles Conservation Forest does not allow Vehicular Safaris. Instead (in an identical manner to the 05 of the 28 National Parks), only Walking and/or Hiking Safaris are officially allowed within the administrative boundaries of the Conservation Forest.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult – 1037.04 LKR or its equivalent in USD
Foreign Child (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 518.52 or its equivalent in USD

Including Value Added Tax (VAT)
Walking and/or Hiking Safaris Price Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per State Guide) – 4000 LKR or its equivalent in USD
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Piduruthalagala Conservation Forest

Due to National Security concerns, the Piduruthalagala Conservation Forest is by far Sri Lanka’s most restricted (in terms of accessibility), publicly accessible Protected Area (PA). Piduruthalagala is situated within one Administrative District, namely Nuwara Eliya (Central Province). From an ecological (eco) – climatic perspective, Piduruthalagala is positioned within the Montane and Upper Montane Wet Zones. Examples of the island’s Terrestrial Big Five found within Piduruthalagala’s administrative boundaries are limited to the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya).

Piduruthalagala is also home to an additional 28 species of Mammal, 53 species of Reptile, 128 species of Avian Fauna (Birds), 20 species of Amphibian and 15 species of Freshwater Fish.

In terms of both ecosystems and habitats, Piduruthalagala is primarily constituted of Montane Forests, Upper Montane or “Cloud Montane” Forests and Montane Grasslands and Shrublands though, Montane Riverine Forests, Natural Waterfalls and large stretches of illegal working Agricultural Lands (the latter consisting of both Apples and Potatoes) are found within the administrative boundaries of the Conservation Forest. Additionally, from a geological standpoint, Sri Lanka’s tallest mountain, namely Piduruthalagala/Mount Pedro (2524 metres), is deep within Piduruthalagala’s administrative boundaries.

Although under the authority, mandate and purview of the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC), entry is actually controlled by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). The Piduruthalagala Conservation Forest does not allow either Walking and/or Hiking Safaris nor Vehicular Safaris. Instead (in a unique manner not found anywhere else on the island), only Private Vehicles are officially allowed within the administrative boundaries (for an unofficial Vehicular Safari) of the Conservation Forest, by means of traversing the tarred and concreted Main Trail which starts at the Main Entrance of Piduruthalagala and ends at the Sri Lanka Air Force’s (SLAF’s) Radar Array Station.

Please note that you still need to purchase an Official Entrance Ticket from the Department of Forest Conservation’s (DFC’s) Ticketing Office (to be considered for entry), located approximately 200 metres before the Main Entrance to the Piduruthalagala Conservation Forest.

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult – 1037.04 LKR or its equivalent in USD
Foreign Child (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 518.52 or its equivalent in USD

Including Value Added Tax (VAT)
Walking and/or Hiking Safaris Price Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Tour Group Per State Guide) – 4000 LKR or its equivalent in USD
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Ranawakanda (Jathika Namal Uyana) Conservation Forest

More info to be added soon.

Gangewadiya Conservation Forest

More info to be added soon.

Badagamuwa Conservation Forest

More info to be added soon.

Hanthana Environmental Protection Area

More info to be added soon.

Maragala Environmental Protection Area

More info to be added soon.

Lake Gregory Environmental Protection Area

More info to be added soon.

Bolgoda Environmental Protection Area

More info to be added soon.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Hikkaduwa Marine National Park

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 03$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $04 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $02 or its equivalent in LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Snorkelling/Diving Safaris Price Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Adult Per Visit) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Pigeon Island Marine National Park

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Snorkelling/Diving Safaris Price Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Adult Per Visit) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Adam’s Bridge Marine National Park

Entrance Fees Tourist Season (Daytime Visit) (07th December – 15th May)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $25 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – 15$ or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) – $20 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR

Regular Period (Daytime Visit) (16th May – 06th December)
Foreign Adult (Non-SAARC) – $20 or or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (Non-SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $10 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Adult (SAARC) $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (SAARC) (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $08 or its equivalent in LKR

As per Extraordinary Gazette No. 2295/08 (dated as the 31st of August 2022), Value Added Tax (VAT) for “the import and/or supply of goods or supply of services” is now pegged at 15%
Snorkelling/Diving Safaris Price Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Foreign Adult Per Visit) – $05 or its equivalent in LKR
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Mirissa Sea Mammal Observation Zone

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult – $15 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $7.50 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Service Charge Per Foreigner) – $01 or its equivalent in LKR

Excluding Value Added Tax (VAT)
Maritime (Boat) Safaris Price N/A
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Kalpitiya Sea Mammal Observation Zone

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult – $8 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $4 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Service Charge Per Foreigner) – $?? or its equivalent in LKR

Excluding Value Added Tax (VAT)
Maritime (Boat) Safaris Price N/A
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Trincomalee Sea Mammal Observation Zone

Entrance Fees All Seasons (Daytime Visit)
Foreign Adult – $8 or its equivalent in LKR
Foreign Child (06 – 12 Years in Age) – $4 or its equivalent in LKR

Chargeable Fees for Tourist Services (Service Charge Per Foreigner) – $?? or its equivalent in LKR

Excluding Value Added Tax (VAT)
Maritime (Boat) Safaris Price N/A
Biodiversity  
Visit  
Safari Provider  
Tips  

Bar Reef Marine Wildlife Sanctuary

More info to be added soon.

Rumassala Marine Wildlife Sanctuary

More info to be added soon.

Kayankerni Marine Wildlife Sanctuary

More info to be added soon.

Vankalai Marine Wildlife Sanctuary

More info to be added soon.

Muthurajawela Marine Wildlife Sanctuary

More info to be added soon.

Tuktuk Safaris

There are many amazing roads where you can drive your tuktuk and see wildlife on your very own tuktuk safari!

But first, a warning, as wild animals are not pets and can be extremely dangerous. Especially in an open, slow vehicle like a tuktuk, extra caution is very much advised! Before traversing any of these roads, please read our general elephant warning information document here.

Yala B35 Road, drive your tuktuk and see elephants

You will almost see elephants on the B35 road cutting through Yala National Park. Unfortunately, these elephants are there, waiting for food. For years they have been fed fruits and other foods from passing vehicles. Now, they wait till someone feeds them.

This does result in extremly dangerous situations, as the elephants there will reach out into your tuk tuk to find food! Be very careful.

Bundala towards Yala tuktuk self-drive safari (customer recommendation)

Self-drive tuktuk (through Bundala park) and Yala (driving towards Situlpawwa). Animals seen. Crocodiles, water buffalo, about 20 varieties of birds, loads of monkeys (toque macaque and gray langurs!), about 5 good sized monitor lizards, plenty of mongoose a snake, about 100 peacocks.  The buffalo were amazing in that swamp setting, submerged up to the neck and some with cool looking birds on them.  We saw all these pretty much at Bandula. It was really cool as we were literally the only ones on that road stopping whenever we wanted.  We did not see any elephants.  We got tied up too long after a late lunch and attempted to take the road through Yala to Situlpawwa but we were stopped at the gates because we they close them at 6pm as it is too dangerous with the elephants after that time. The guard did tell me there was an abundance of them up that road so we could only look and dream of seeing them. We are leaving to Tangelle tomorrow but going to attempt at his road one more time. So verdict drive safari, freaking fun, awesome, beautiful!!

Tips for Preparing Your Safari Adventure

To make the most out of your national park safari experience, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Book your safari in advance to ensure availability, especially during peak season.
  2. Choose the right time of day for your safari. Early morning and late afternoon tend to be the best times to spot wildlife.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear, and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
  4. Bring a pair of binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens to get up close and personal with the wildlife.
  5. Don’t expect to see all the wild animals which are on the list.

More important than anything else

  • DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS OR LEAVE FOOD ANYWHERE.
  • NEVER LEAVE THE VEHICLE.
Elephant Safari in Sri Lanka
Guide to the best national park safari in Sri Lanka!

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