Wilpattu National Park| Why it is a must visit when in Sri Lanka
Wilpattu is not only the largest of the national parks in Sri Lanka it is also the oldest. Lying on the nothwest coast, it is one of the most important protected areas in the country. The Wilpattu National Park is located 30km west of the ancient capital city Anuradhapura.
It is not beautiful in the misty mountain scenic sense, but Willpattu has a raw and rugged appeal that will leave you yearning for more. Its name is derived from the word ‘villu’ which refers to the shallow rain-water filled lakes that can be found around the park. They form a unique complex of wetlands which creates the perfect environment for the thriving wildlife. Wilpattu has a convenient network of gravel roads between the lakes, suitable for safari jeeps which makes exploring the park easy.
The villus that form the landscape of the national park are popular watering holes for the abundant wildlife that call Wilpattu home. This is the place to scout if you hope to experience the thrill of catching sight of an elusive leopard or maybe a glimpse of a spotted deer flitting through the foliage. There are no guarantees with wildlife, but this wildlife park is the place to better your chances at seeing some of these amazing animals in their natural habitat.
Wilpattu is also known for its elephants, monkeys, sloth bear and water buffalo. Thanks to the lakes the park is also a paradise for bird lovers, providing endless hours of birdwatching opportunities, like the Asian paradise flycatcher, the racquet-tailed drongo, the crimson-breasted barbet, the pied hornbill and many more including Sri Lanka’s national bird the jungle fowl.
Not only wildlife but interesting historical sites can also be found within the park, adding to the entire experience. Found at various stages of ruin, these fascinating ruins have become part of their natural surroundings with some wild animals residing within them. However, look with intent and you will be able see beyond the collapsed structures and step into the once glorious civilization that created these inspiring edifices. Built by kings, crumbling though they maybe now, these historic buildings have much to say.
Where to stay
Unlike for the Yala national park, which attracts large amounts of visitors, Wilpattu is much less crowded. You could almost call the park isolated, giving visitors that do come, a peaceful experience. While the number of accommodations to choose from might be less than that of Yala, the accommodation on offer is of good quality. You could also opt for a camping experience within the park for an even more intimate experience with wildlife and nature.