Wilpattu Safari & Camping
Discover what wild Sri Lanka has to offer with a Wilpattu safari & camping experience
Wilpattu is the largest national park in Sri Lanka and is teemng with great tropical wildlife
Covering a land area of 130,000 hectares Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s largest National park. It is also the oldest national park to be named as such in the country. The park which was closed for several years due to the Sri Lanka civil war has now been reopened and accessible to the public. The name for the park comes from a unique feature found in Wilpattu national park where the entire park is dotted with large sand rimmed natural lakes known as “Villus”. The Villus collects rain water and tends to attract wildlife especially during the times of drought.
Because of the large area of the park the camping option becomes very attractive. So this way you will be able to see and experience more of what the park has to offer. Some of the sights that you get during the sunset and sunrise periods can be truly breathtaking, with the wild animals coming to the villus to quench their thirst. There are now more camping sites in the park to cater for the increased number of visitors. Yet, is is still hard to reserve camping grounds. So in order to get the best Wilpattu Safari and Camping experience it is advised that you reserve your accommodation as early as possible.
Animals That You Can Expect To See During a Wilpattu Safari
The uniqueness of the Wilpattu National park is that because it had been isolated from humans for a long time animals are unaccustomed to humans and will show their natural behavior much as possible. The downside of this is that the animals will be shy to come out of the brush when humans are around so you are going to need a guide if you are to track them down.
The Sri Lankan Leopard if one of the highlights of the park animals and is considered to be the largest species of leopards in Asia. The leopards are most seen at dawn and at dusk, especially around the villus where they come to quench their thirst in the morning or before going to rest during the night. Another highlight of Wilpattu is the wild Sloth bear. This is a threatened species with only just over a 1000 individuals found in the wild. These creatures become highly active during the summer season when the trees are full of fruits. They can be seen filling up their bellies waiting rainy season.
You can see Elephants as well in Wilpattu but not as much as in some of the other parks in Sri Lanka. Visitors will be able see the occasional herd near some of the Villus in the mornings. You can see some amazing birds in Wilpattu though. A number of species such as Eagles, Kites, Owls, Jungle Fowls, Cormorants and Wetland species such as Cattle Egrets, Purple Herons, White Ibis and Spoonbills can be found in Wilpattu.
Camping Activities at Wilpattu
Wilpattu camping becomes a very attractive option for visitors wanting to go on safaris, due to the sheer size of the park. If you are operating from a base outside the park it will be very difficult to be at the park during the most important times such as Dawn and Dusk. So the best way to mitigate this issue is to start your day from a base situated in the park itself. That way you can be right in place to witness the awesome spectacle you will only see in the park during sunrise and sunset.
There are countless accommodation options within the Wilpattu Park for visitors who are looking to spend the night in the park. There are camping sites with tents provided by numerous 3rd party service providers as well as bungalows and tree houses that have been in the park for decades. You can even find luxury tents with actual beds and laundered linen and en-suite bathrooms that have toilets and showers. Yes, things have certainly come a long way within the park in terms of accommodation available within it.
The dining experience available for campers is nothing short of mouthwatering. Each camp has a kitchen where fresh produce and poultry is freshly prepared and served hot right to your table. Fresh fruit juice, tea and coffee are also available as beverages. If you are with a crowd and want to have some more fun in the night there are BBQ options available as well.