The cream of the crop is Yala National Park, home to the highest
concentration of leopards
in the world (nearly 60 in 380 square miles at last count), with
sightings all but guaranteed since the Yala leopards are also known
for being less elusive than in other parts of the world.
Unfortunately this means the inevitable presence of other vehicles,
but we think this is a small price to pay for the chance to see one
of the most magnificent of all the big cats. Other common sightings
on a Sri Lanka safari holiday are elephants, deer, langur monkeys,
wild boar and - in June and July during the palu tree fruit season
- sloth bears. Twitchers will also be in their element surrounded
by some 220 species of birds, including hornbills, painted storks,
peacocks and kingfishers.
Further north, and perfect in combination with the Cultural
Triangle, is Wilpattu National Park. As the park was out of action
for much of the civil war the animals are less used to humans so
often prove more elusive, but with far fewer visitors than in Yala,
the feeling of communing with Sri Lankan nature is arguably
The Gal Oya National Park is a vast protected park in South East
Sri Lanka, with both evergreen forest and Savannah. The park is
home to 32 mammal species, including elephant, leopard and sloth,
and 30% of bird species found within Sri Lanka.