Wilpattu National Park

The unique feature of this park is the existence of "Willus" (Natural lakes) - Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater.

Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka.The park is located 30 km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo).

The park is 131, 693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu.

Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world renowned for its Leopard  population. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known.



Recommended review time for sightseeing: 4 h

Tourist reviews about Wilpattu National Park

Difficult to spot beautiful animals
FeliceDar... [TA], , Naples, Italy

The problem of the WNP is that it is very difficult to see leopard, bears and elephants so if you are on vacation and you value your time and money it just doesn't worth. You will spend 4 hours looking at some birds and deer and that's it.

Very sereen, not a lot of tourists
Lotte A [TA], , Siem Reap, Cambodia

We saw a lot of animals, even a leopard. We spend 8 hrs there and there were only a few tourists there.

Peaceful, pristine national park in Sri Lanka
dldarcy [TA], , Columbus, Ohio

The park was clean, including the common areas. The acreage is quite large and the woods are dense so it is not easy to see animals. We did not see leopards during our three, four-hour drives but the lakes are picturesque and birding is easy. We viewed spotted deer, barking deer, samba deer, wild boar, one male buffalo, land monitor, and it is not crowded with other vehicles.

Good bird spotting but nothing else
Galaxy638... [TA], , Jersey, United Kingdom

So disappointed....spent four hours driving round only to see birds, a monitor lizard, jackals, monkeys...and the sighting of a leopard was on a poster to warn against dropping litter. Furthermore, there was no opportunity to communicate with the driver who was sat in his cab and us in the back. If we saw something it was a noisy drama to get the vehicle to stop...not ideal!

A National Park with disappointments
kychin [TA], , Klang

Wilpattu National Park is the biggest National Park in Sri Lanka, it is said to cover 132,00 hectares and houses many wild animals. However, our visit to the park recently is full of disappointments. Firstly, the entrance ticket is very expensive ( USD 40/person) and what we got to see were just a few animals and birds. Only one elephant was seen drinking water from a pond ; 2 serpent eagles and a few peacocks ( which are common even in countryside in Sri Lanka). After going round and round many times in the park, we finally managed to get a glimpse of a leopard which we could hardly see becasue it was so far away from our car.

That was all we had for 4 hours of so called safari trip. In conclusion, it is not worth making the trip to the park because it has nothing much to offer except the bumpy ride!

Scholtenv... [TA], , Middelbeers, The Netherlands

The park is situated just a half hour before Anuradhapura if you are coming from colombo and is pretty green
There are a lot of trees and bushes and this makes spotting the animals difficult, but the rangers are pretty good and they know where to look.

The park is also less visited than for example Yala and that is a good thing, here you don't have 50 jeeps around a leopard and you have more the idea that you are in the jungle (and not like Yala where you sometimes have the idea that you are on a highway)
We visited this park in not the best weather of our tour through Sri Lanka. But although the weather was far from great we enjoyed the safari very much. We saw a lot of wildlife and also a leopard (unfortunately no bear). Maybe it is due to the weather that we saw a lot of wildlife, because when the sun is shining and it is very hot most animals will hide their self under the bushes and they will be hard to spot then. Now the animals were mere out in the open.

So if you have the time to visit I would say do.

Jeep safari in Sri Lanka's largest national park
the_0_man [TA], , Liverpool, United Kingdom

I wanted to take my kids to see something of the Sri Lankan geography, and also various animals in their natural habitat (rather than zoos or such like).
After taking the advice of a very helpful lady at our hotel (Menuka at Jetwing Blue), I booked this trip which included transfer from/to the hotel, a naturist guide (also provided by the hotel) and the jeep safari at the park.
We were staying in Negombo, so it was a 3 hour journey to the park. Kids feel asleep and I enjoyed seeing the various sights along the way.
Once at the park, our guide took care of everything whilst we had lunch (which was a picnic provided by our hotel) - all very nice and relaxed!
The jeep safari was excellent - basically it is a converted 4x4 pick up truck with comfy seats welded/bolted into the back. It had a roof but open sides - so we only got a little bit wet when the rain poured down!
During our visit there were intermittent heavy downpours, but this did not in any way spoil the experience. Our kids loved it (aged 7 and 3).
We saw many animals and birds, each explained by the naturist who had a book and binoculars (my 3 year old was so much more interested to be shown the book when looking at something in real life - it made it more understandable for him).
Highlights included there was the lone bull elephant eating reeds in one of the lakes, a leopard (which we only spotted on the way back), large land lizards, peacocks and other colourful birds.
We left as it was getting dark, and just before the gate there was an elephant crossing the path - we had to wait until it disappeared into the bush, but then it let out a loud roar which the kids thought was amazing.
Although it was a long journey from/to our hotel (because of young kids), we all thoroughly enjoyed the visit and it is a memory that we will cherish.

beautiful place
Steven M [TA], , Aalst, Belgium

We did both Yala and Wilpattu, and Wilpattu was the best in my opinion. While Yala is crowded, it seemed like we had Wilpattu to ourselves. We had a jeep for just the 3 of us so that was cool. After just 30 minutes in the park we saw a leopard! Right in front of our car! We also saw peacocks, serpent eagles, sambar deer, spotted deer, buffalo, jackals, crocodiles, monkey's and other birdlife. I would recommend just a half day safari though. We did a full day and it's quite exhausting. + we almost didn't see any wildlife in the afternoon.

A good exposure to Sri Lankan wildlife
AndyBalla... [TA], , Nanjing, China

You need to be there before 6am to get tickets. We found this with many Sri Lankan national parks - early opening, but chaos to get the ticket to enter.

Once inside - it's a large park with many roads, so you do find yourself alone rather than in a queue of jeeps.

Good variety of terrain, ranging from wetlands, jungle and plains. As for wildlife - we didn't see the leopards, bears or elephants but bird life, deers, crocodiles, mongoose, water buffalo, still made it a great day.

Beautiful park but long drive to open spots
Katherina... [TA], ,

Wonderful park, 5000 Rs per jeep and then the entrance fee per person. Had a driver and guide (I guess) who both sat in front, so seperated from us and said very little and very often late while we were already taking pictures. Also a long drive (hour or so) to open spots. Here, all is worth it. Big variety and saw many big and small animals. Did a morning tour, left at 5.30 or 6 (too tired, don't remember ;) ) and got back around 11. We saw that day only 15 jeeps or so had signed in at the entrance and it showed; not crowded at all! Nice park away from the crowds and with beautiful variety in animals. Get a better driver/guide than we did though!

Amazing Day spent with absolutely nature at Its best.
callen719 [TA], , Paris, France

If you are the out door out going Love to enjoy bumpy sans roads feel the sweat and smell the Green in the air, thén Its a wonderful place for family or friend to enjoy with coupled with laughter and satisfaction At the end of the Day. I enjoyed évery moment and would love to go again.

Authorities please fix the toilets
AD2010 [TA], , Melbourne

This was my first visit Wilpattu. I was appalled by the state of the toilets near the ticket counter and also inside the park. Almost all the comments on the Guest Book refers to the poor state of the toilets. It appears that the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka have turned a deaf ear to the requests to keep the toilets clean or build a new set of toilets suitable for foreigners to use.

The overall experience in the park was very good.

We were at the park in late December which is also the tail end of the monsoon season. The park was lush and green and most of the “Villu’s” or Lakes were at full capacity. The park name “Wilpattu” is derived from these shallow “Villu’s”. Driving on the water filled sand banks of the “Villu’s were a great experience

The sanctuary is located in the dry part of the country and it is the dryness of the surrounding that attracts animals to the many waterholes. We didn’t get to see too many animals because there is plenty of water inside the jungle for them to drink. We were lucky to spot a bear as we were leaving the park.

The park is very large (appox 13,00 ha) and was declared a wild life sanctuary in 1938.

We arrived at the park around 2.00 pm and were forced to leave before the gates close at 6.00 pm. Allow plenty of time if visiting this park. It located approximately 188 Km’s from Colombo and will take about 4 hours to get there from Colombo. Tickets have to be bought at the entrance and hiring a four wheel drive is highly recommended. The park is open from 6 am to 6 pm. The best time to visit the park is between 6 -10am or 3 – 6 pm in the evening. The entrance to the park is from Nochchiyagama and can be reached from Puttalam to Anuradhapura road.

The animals we saw included peacocks, flamingo’s, serpent eagles, Ceylon jungle fowl, Green bee eater and many other species of birds. Also we saw, water buffalo, wild boar, deer, bear, rabbits and many crocodiles.

The best time to visit the park is between February to October.

Not Worthy
Paritosh1... [TA], , Navi Mumbai, India

We visited the safari with family in Dec 2015. However, we were not satisfied with the experience because of following reasons:
1. Park/Jungle is huge and very dense. May be because we visited in Dec which is rainy season in SL, the thick vegetation on sides of the road impacted the views
2. Animal sighting was poor. We understand it is not Zoo but after paying Foreign Toursit Fees with small kids we felt it was not worth the money and time spent. The kids were bored within half an hour into the ride.
3. Requested for Forest Ranger or Guide at entrance. However it was not available (Not Sure if the facility is not available or person was not available). That left us to interact with Driver of Safari vehicle who obviously was tasked to drive the safari vehicle safely rather than interact with tourists.

Amazing visit!
MDakota [TA], , Perth, Australia

We saw lots of wildlife on our safari through wilpattu: Sambar, spotted and barking deer, crocodiles, wild boars, Mongoose, monkeys, jackels, monitors, peacocks, hawk-eagle and many other birds! We did not see a leopard (only tracks!), but a few other people did see one that day :) great to know they're still around! We booked a driver through eagle safaris, which they never confirmed so it was a bit of a hassle to sort out when we arrived, but it worked out ok. Our driver did not speak any English, but was good at spotting things and it was fine as we know quite a bit about wildlife, but might have been difficult if we didn't know which species we would see. Amazing park for those who are keen to see Sri Lankan animals in their natural habitat without loads of tourists! Highly recommended!

Safari in the north west, a huge and quiet park
FrankWhil... [TA], , Soestdijk, The Netherlands

As you probably read in any Sri Lanka travel guide this national park reopened only in 2009. It's Sri Lanka's biggest park, but in terms of wild life it's thinly spread. Our tour was however still amazing, the park is beautiful, but we didn't see what we come for... Not the park's fault of course. The number of visitors in the park is very low which is of course a big plus.
We had a private jeep with a great driver and spotter. He was very knowledgeable about the park and all the (wild) life inside.
The park is well laid out. I had a bit of a feeling too much was 'touched'. Maybe in a couple of years this is the best place to go again...

Amazing park and wildlife!!!
Nicolas R [TA], ,

This place is awesome. It's wild and 'mostly' free of tourists. During our whole day safari we only encountered two other jeeps. We had a terrible driver but being in a group of 4 wildlife biologists we were able to spot loads of wildlife including 30min with an elephant playing in the water and not a single human soul to be seen. Bliss!

It definitively gets hots and you might not see lots for some period of time but this is the essence of wildlife encounters.

All the people complaning about not seeing a leopard or about the lack of widlife do not understand the concet of a wild animals and must have a poor understanding of nature based tourism. It is not a Zoo and you might not see things, this is part of the game! If all you care about is a selfie with a Leopard than this place is not for you. If you ar enot ready to divert from wildlife and enjoy the scenery and natural aspect of i all, again, this place is not for you.

Try and avoid the rainy season November-December as you might not get to see the whole park due to the roads being flooded.

I loved it and will be back for sure.

Paddy J [TA], , America, The Netherlands

The ride to 'Wilpattu National Park' took some hours. Once arrived, there was time for a bathroom break. After which we went into the park with our driver.
We drove for many hours through the park on bad roads full with holes (in all sizes). This was a bit of an unpleasant ride because after some time you get enough of the shaking in the back of a truck.

The guide sitting next to the driver pointed out various animals we saw / encountered. But that is all the two of them did. Drive and point. There were no other interactions, no additional information or anything.
Unfortunately, this might have had more to do with the trip we booked then with the park itself. We booked a trip at a place across our hotel to the 'Wilpattu National Park'.

I’ve been in South Africa before and did some safaris through several parks. Compared to them, Wilpattu seems like childsplay. But maybe mid November is not the best time?
We saw quite some things; I’ll list them in order of interest:
-- A cute small/medium sized bear was hiding in the bushes. Took some time for him to come out and he crossed the road.
-- Just before we left the park, we saw an elephant hidden behind bushes.
-- A cool green/blue bird.
-- Some deers.
-- Some monkeys.
-- A lizard or two.
-- Two white storks.
-- Quite some peafowl.

Fantastic Experience
KaraandTo... [TA], , Chichester, United Kingdom

Lovely day out, we went during the dry season so were NEVER going to see leopards and Bears, but were treated to Monkeys, Grizzly Squirrels, Eagles aplenty, Eagle Owl, deer, baby crocodiles, water buffalo, wild dogs, mongoose, monitor lizards, peacocks and many beautiful birds and butterflies.

Bumpy adventure
etwickenh... [TA], , London

We took our kids (14 and 11) on the half day safari from 6am to 11am, while staying in Anuradhapura. The park was uncrowded and we enjoyed some serene moments when the driver turned off the engine for us to enjoy the wildlife. In addition to the plentiful peacocks, deer and land monitors we spotted wild boar, eagles, hornbills, storks, crocodiles, mongooses, a colony of bats and an elephant. I think our children were old enough to appreciate the trip, but for younger children the wildlife is probably too hidden and the ride is very bumpy. Binoculars were great for getting a bit closer to the action. Our driver was a great spotter, but with hindsight I would have liked to have had a guide to get more background information about what we were seeing.

We had a fun trip. We didn't visit any other parks in Sri Lanka, so I guess you would need to read other reviews to find out if another park is more suitable depending on what you're looking for.

Not a tourist destination
Sharron K [TA], , Burton on Trent

Peaceful and unforgettable. To say it was once an area ravaged by war, I have to say it has survived and is steadily evolving and life is returning. If you are looking for a touristy park with lots of wildlife, this is not for you, go to Yala for that. If you hope to see wildlife but are not really worried if you don't, then this is for you. I only hope that the government have the sense to restrict numbers entering the park as it is best that the wildlife is left peacefully to recover. Absolutely loved it and the views are stunning and our indebted thanks to Leopard Trails and Indika and his team who made it absolutely memorable.

Henry T [TA], ,

Hence my Kids wanted to have a wild safari & the famous Yala National Park closed for one month,we decided to visit Wilpattu National Park.
Our safari tour organized from the place we stayed.They have their own safari Jeeps with professional drivers.We started our tour around 1.30pm .We have taken half a day package.Before entering to the Wilpattu National Park we must take tickets to enter by registering the details of passengers ,driver,vehicle at the office near the main entrance.Its not just taking tickets but also for the safety of all visitors .
When we just entered we founded a notice that we should not throw anything.
First we heard many noises from many kind of birds,beetles.Saw plenty of Peacocks ,Bulls.When we went more inside to wilpattu we founded lots of Deers & founded uncommon Deer called " Sand Deer ".It was inside the bushes and very difficulty to identify because of its color same as the sand of the area.Because of our Drivers professionalism we were able to seen an Elephant which others have not seen it until we have informed where they can see.Wild animals were less to see because many animals has been switched to very far areas in the park where you needed a full day tour to see them.We started to return around 5.15pm & on the way back we founded a black color Bear.
We have reported to the main entrance checked point around 6.30pm & safely reached our hotel .
It was a unforgettable wild safari.Thanks to our Driver.

Beautifull park!
AnkeDS [TA], , Kapellen, Belgium

Our guide suggested to visit Wilpattu NP instead of Yala NP, because Yala would be closed when we supposted togo there for a safari. This was a perfect alternative! Unfortinately we didn't saw a leopard during but it didn't made our experience less wonderfull. During our afternoon safari (app. 4h), we saw some elephants, deers, lizards, crocodiles and a lot of birds. We heard many stories about Yala is being popular and more crowded than Wilpattu. In the time we were on safari, we didn't saw another jeep. You can enjoy the beautifull nature, silence and animals in the wilderness!

Not interesting
gabyzaraz... [TA], , Beirut, Lebanon

We spend the afternoon searching for leopard, but unfortunately we couldn't find any. Concerning other breeds you can see the same animals outside the park so no need to spend 3 to 4 hrs of your life at Wilpattu National Park.

Beautiful park!
wt1986 [TA], , Bacolod, Philippines

We went to Wilpattu instead of Yala for a chance to see a leopard in the wild. I had to change my group's itinerary at the last minute due to the announcement of Yala that it will be closing on the day my group was supposed to go there for a safari. I think it was the best unfortunate circumstance to happen because we managed to spot leopards on 3 different areas of Wilpattu.

The park is beautiful. We went in early September so it was the end of the drought season. Near the opening of the park, it was dry and almost arid but deeper into it you will see the lush fullness of the forest around the reservoirs. Our guide, Krishan Fernando of Triplanka Tours was a god send. If you're a bird watcher you will love the guy. He identified all the wildlife we saw, most especially the birds. He knows all the local birds of Sri Lanka by heart. He even brought binoculars with him. Had a good eye in spotting the wildlife in the bushes, better even that our hired park driver.

We paid 3300rupees each for a group of 6 people for 6 hours in the afternoon in the park. Thats 130-630pm. We opted afternoon with the thought that the animals will start appearing after the heat of midday, maybe near the watering holes. We were lucky. We saw a 2 year old adult male leopard 3-4 hours into the safari. It was just right there. Lounging beside a bush at the edge of clearing near a lake. Like a boss. The other two we saw while going back to the entrance. Along the road! One was around an 18 month old female who probably just left the care of its mum as our guides said and another was a cub, barely a year old. so the mum was also probably hiding somewhere in the bush.

We didn't spot a sloth bear, our guide said it wasn't the time of the year but the leopards alone were so worth it. Just hope for the best though, not everyone sees one. They do get scared if there are too many jeeps around. We were lucky there were only a max of maybe 15 jeeps that afternoon with us. A couple we talked to spent an entire day at the park without seeing a single leopard or bear. Just birds.

Lon A [TA], ,

We visited Wilpattu in August this year and drove around for 3 1/2 hours but unfortunately we didn't see anything other than lizards and monkeys that you can see anywhere in Sri Lanka. We were hoping to see sloth bears, elephants and or leopards, sadly none of them were in town the day we went.

Don't go there
daniel_bo... [TA], , Bonn, Germany

We booked a safari to Wilpattu national park from Anuradhapura. The trip started in the morning at 5:15h from our hotel. The car was nice and brought us directly to the park. Hopefully we bought some breakfast before, since there was no possibility to get some (the hotel, hievet, offered to prepare us breakfast for some phantasy price extra, which we did not do).

The six hour half day trip was unfortunately very very boring. We saw dogs, chicken, several birds, frogs and as a tiny highlight two crocodiles.

That was it. No elephants nor any other interesting animals.

In total very disappointing, definitely not worth the 7000RS we paid per person.

Unforgettable experience
Carol H [TA], , Alice Springs, Australia

We stayed near the entrance which was great for watching birds and the locals bathing in the river. Our driver tried hard to spot the wildlife, it would have been a little better if he spoke a little English, but nevertheless it was a great day. We spotted a Leopard,crocodiles,eagles,deer, wild boar and lots of birds. Take food and water with you as nothing in park. We did all day trip very bumpy and lasted 12.5 hours.Shame about rubbish around "toilet ". Hardly any western tourists but quite a few locals as it was a long weekend. Exhausting day but well worth it as we spotted the leopard in the middle of the day.

Huge park
Mateja_ml [TA], , Ljubljana, Slovenia

It is a vast land with a lot of lakes and swamp areas.
We went early in the morning. Our driver was great, he spoted a lot if animals for us. We were unlucky since there were no elephants, but we saw a leopard, crocodiles, monkeys, birds and all kind of deers...
Worth to go, but for at least a half day tour

Peaceful and quiet
samanthak... [TA], , Carlisle, United Kingdom

We had two early morning trips to Wilpattu in July 2015. There were no more the five jeeps in the whole park. We were lucky enough to see a huge variety of wildlife including four leopard. Seeing the leopard is by no means guaranteed but this park is quietly understated and is an enjoyable morning out.

Nice place to visit but no need to stay at the entrance of the park
gma95 [TA], , Paris

The park was nice even of we see no elephant and leopard, but the jeep driver was seraching.
Anyway we had a very bad experience with the Park View Bungalow.
The place looks nice expect the fact there is absolutly no food.
The owner send you at the junction to buy food at tourist price for dinner...
Obviously it takes one hour to go and bring food and transportation cost is at your own expenses.
We ask to have food at the kitchen, bu the owner did not want to understand, and for breakfast which was supposed to be included after complains, we get a cup of tea (no bread or fruit).
When we say we did not want to pay the full price... the owner says he will call the police and call my wife bitchy.
Lovely place...

Then to visit the willpattu park it is better to stay close to the junction or to bring all your stuff.

Amazing Wildlife and not too busy
coalmansh... [TA], , Pickering

We really enjoyed our three days in the park. We had chosen Wilpattu for the opportunity to see Sloth Bear and we were not let down. We were lucky to find one near the road in an open area and we watched it for 20 minutes. There were other vehicles in the park but was nowhere near as busy as Yala which made it very enjoyable.

Beautiful park full of wildlife
Chris S [TA], , Moss Beach, California

It takes a bit of patience, but you can spot a lot of amazing animals while out on Safari. The scenery around the lakes is breathtaking while you are likely to see elephants roaming freely and the occasional leopard if you spend a few days.

Wonderful experience
B K [TA], , Kl

Entrance fee (rs 7800/ 3 adults) and we found a jeep charging rs 5000. No tracker was available but for me this just added the fun as now I get to play tracker. But our jeep driver was very good, he found crocodiles elephants spotted deer mongoose monkeys( 2 types) rabbits peacocks eagles lizards Buffaloes and many birds. Unfortunately no leopards or bears. But we did see leopard's foot prints. Was a beautiful tour non the less. Total tour took 4.5 hours. We left at 7.30am. Only one toilet half way through but it was in an AWEFUL condition. There were a few concrete cylinders lying around which altered the wildlife feel the place had going.
Bring lunch and water as there are no shops inside at all. Every payment must be done in Sri Lankan rupees , USD not accepted here. So ensure you have enough money on you ( same goes for all the national parks in Sri Lanka )
Tip bring a can or two of beer on board the jeep while driving around ( if you want to). But please do NOT litter. No dustbins in the jungle so please keep all the rubbish on board the jeep and throw it at the end of the tour.

Artificial feeling
NikolayG [TA], , Moscow, Russia

Wilpattu park was a very good experience. I loved the smell of the forest, and the constant noises of birds and insects. We've managed to see the bears, crocodiles, an elephant, several mangosteens, lots and lots of deers, and many different birds. We didn't find a leopard, but we've seen traces of one.
At the same time the place looked quite artificial to me. One can see concrete pipes and rubber hoses in many places. And the animals seemed to be at exactly those places where the driver expected to find them.

A beautiful park for those who love birdlife and butterflies
Sandbergs... [TA], ,

This is a park for those who want to experience a bit of wildlife and a taste of Sri Lankan nature. But don't have too high expectations, a safari tour in the park is not to be compared with the ones in southern Africa. You will see some different species of birds, lizards, water buffalo, spotted dear, barking dear, Asian elephants, wild pig and hundreds of butterflies. We were lucky to see one of the parks biggest draws up close - the Slot bear. You can either choose a morning drive or an evening drive. The morning drives are probably better than the evening ones. Most important though is to get a proper ranger, and not only a driver of a safari jeep. It can make a huge different to have someone that point out the animals and name them. We got unfortunately the other kind, a driver. The price of a 4 hour tour is on the high side. Make sure to bring water/snacks before you enter the park.

Jackals and leopards
John L [TA], , Mayenne, France

Wilpattu is a fantastic national park. We spent three days there staying in the Eco Team tented camp. We had two very close encounters with leopards and saw others at a distance. We also saw a jackal dive into a thicket to pick up its baby in its mouth and run off at speed to a safer place - there was a leopard in the thicket! Our guide - Dhanu - was extremely knowledgeable and the range of wildlife from the tiniest birds to huge elephants was amazing. A visit which will be remembered for ever.

Worlds within worlds
Mark T [TA], ,

Though you have to get up early, it's worth it when you get to see so many different animals living in the wild plus so many different landscapes. A half-day safari is plenty though: the park is enormous and you will see a huge amount of things within 4 hours.

Nice, but too long to get to center.
Alex G [TA], , New York City, New York

The park is great, but there are 26km from the entrance until you get to the main area where most of the animals can be found and beautiful watering holes. You see some in those 26km, but it normally is kind of empty and you lose some time just going in and out.

Visiting wild animals in Wilpattu
EricFedda... [TA], , Singapore, Singapore

We left Kalpitya for a day trip (started visit at 2pm, ended visit by 6:30pm) and diversify our activities from beach and kitesurfing

The park is stunning and the jeep was old-school as we love it!

Driver was really knowledgeable and had the eyes to spot living creatures from small birds to a big male elephant, including a variety of deers, crocodiles... but no leopard, who apparently do not like rain and wet grounds

One CAVEAT, lodges around are really pricey and given the lack of competition do not offer great accommodation: we visited after our day in wilderness but decided to come back by night rather than sleep over at the park

Wilpatthu National Park Sri Lanka
Rohan A L... [TA], , Gampaha, Sri Lanka

WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK is located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo), spanning an area that runs inland from the northwest coast towards the ancient capital of Anuradhapura (50 km to the east of the park). Covering an impressive 425 sq miles, the park is Sri Lanka’s largest. Having reopened in 2003 it is now an increasingly popular eco-tourism destination. Wilpattu is a fairly thick dry zone jungle interspersed with a number of flood plain lakes banked with delicate white sands. It boasts an impressive variety of flora in huge expanses of forest, and varied wildlife, including Leopards, deer, elephants, wild boar, sloth bears and leopards.

Good National Park.
Ruwan_Rat... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Wilpattu is also a national park where you can see leopards. You can see more bears, deers and many other animals. This park has several small lakes where you can see animals come to see water early in the morning and late afternoon. I enjoy the game drive there.

Whole day safari
Tabitha56 [TA], , Oslo

I had a whole day safari, but I suggest it's better to have a morning and an afternoon-safari. I believe the afternoon-safari will be longer and it's a better time to spot the animals after dusk. I was so lucky to se a Leopard sliping in the sun and jumping up in the tree. But we didn't see any elephants, even it's 200 of them. Do not expect to see as many animals as in Africa, if you have been on a safari there. But I saw quite a few birds, some land monitors, crocodiles, wild pigs, spotted deer, turtles and one buffalo. In the morning it was about 4 jeeps, but later we were all alone.
I got a very, very simple lunch packet, but it was not sufficient, so bring some extra food if you don't get the time to eat breakfast before you leave on the early morning safari.

A park you must visit
ioan_wils... [TA], , Newtown, United Kingdom

This park is relatively quiet and one gets peace to view the animals. Our guide followed leopard tracks up the road until we eventually caught sight of him sitting on the verge. The leopard was not surrounded by other jeeps as in other parks. One wants to spend a whole day there so get your hotel to provide packed breakfast and lunch. Make sure you visit the park before it gets too popular

Leopards brunching at Wilpattu
EmkaySriL... [TA], , Sri Lanka

An overnight stay at Dolos Mahe Guesthouse near the Park entrance in October when light rains had greened the park after the long drought

Driver Amila and Tracker Upul are excellent at their jobs

A Must Go Place in Sri Lanka
Salithra... [TA], ,

Wilpattu is one of the best places to see the true dry zone nature. it has nearly 10 hard water lakes within the forest area. It is also the best places to catch leopard sightings which seconds only for Yala which is another dry zone forest situated the southern coast of the country. Wilpattu is located in the north west region of the country.

Moreover wilpattu has a vast variety of bird sightings from endemic to migrating birds. especially for photographers,My opinions for you is to reach the forest as early as possible. It will gain you more sightings of leopards and eagles. There are ample safari jeeps and lodging facilities around.

But still it has more crowd during the weekends and its better if you can book a safari jeep prior. It will roughly cost you around LKR6500. Make use of the link I have provided above too..

Cheers !!!!

Jeep safari
NZA2013 [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Saw an elephant and crocodiles but sadly no leopards. Trip slightly marred by opaque pricing re jeep hire and accompanying guide so get all prices and clarify who is owed what up front (do not rely on being told at the end).

Enjoy everything that the jungles have to offer!
Ayanthi S [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Wilpattu is a great place to visit and we visited it just for the day and it was great. This is one of the few national parks in the island that you can visit for a day trip if you wish from Colombo. A over night stay of 2 nights minimum would be highly recommended but if your pressed for time then a day trip is good too. We saw so many animals, birds and fauna that we didn't feel the day go by. I would advise not to expect to see animals the way you see in Yala so please don't be disappointed if you don't. The Jungle has so much to offer from butterflies, birds, tress, great lakes or Villus and so much more. Enjoy everything the wilds have to offer. We did see the Leopard and Sloth Bear in the evening but the day was spent on seeing the amazing fauna & flora of the forest. Make sure you ask your Jeep driver to obey the rules of the park and not go off road to see animals or disturb any animals who are resting, feeding or drinking water. Taking your Photographs should NOT be priority over the animal's benefit/safety. Please be a responsible traveler/photographer and ensure you insist that your jeep driver is one too.

It's a beautiful park not only for animals the vegetation is also very nice. Not so crowded with people you can enjoy th
Sueratnay... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

We have been to wilpattu many times . Some times we have not seen many animals. This perticular time we went with a fam who came from uk and had not been to a national park in Sri Lanka at all. They were so lucky the leopard was there at a bund and that was very closer to the jeep. It did not move for a long time so we were able to take photoes as much as we wanted. They were so happy. That made a great day for all of us. It's not far from Colombo and can go in about 3 to 4 hrs . Lovely strait roads nice little lakes you pass on the way . Beautiful sea nary on the way you pass .

Amazing park
Chandi_13 [TA], , Colombo

Probably the best scenic park in the country. Just amazing and not as crowded as Yala. You definitely need to go to this park. And very close to the cultural triangle if you are covering it during your trip.

Afternoon safari at Wilpattu
zxcvbnm20... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

We visited 2pm-6pm. We saw 1 elephant, 1 leopard, 2 crocs, a few deer, a few monkeys, a large owl and some eagles, no sloth bears. The animals were far away, its not worth coming unless you bring binoculars and a very high zoom/ SLR camera. Unfortunately my digital camera pics of the leopard blur when I zoom in and we couldn't see him close enough to appreciate his colours. Yala in my experience was better, but this is only my first visit to Wilpattu.

Great but avoid on a weekend!!
Brit_trav... [TA], , UK

Wilpattu is a beautiful national park and a perfect place for any bird lover to visit. We were lucky to see a number of different types of birds of prey as well as the stunning kingfishers. Our driver guide recommended that we visit the park in the afternoon as he has a 100% record of seeing at least one leopard there when he has been in the afternoon and it was great advice! The ranger managed to track down a leopard for us which was lying in the middle of one of the roads. We had a great view and it was an amazing animal.

The only downside was the number of other jeeps in the park. As it was a saturday there were lots of locals who were extremely noisy and littered (the ranger kept popping out to pick out their rubbish which they just chucked out the back of their jeep). At points it did feel that we were just in a queue following 6 other jeeps around which made it hard to stop and take photos.

Amazing Place for Leopards!
Arshad_Ni... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

I would personally advice to take a stop in Wilpattu if you are seriously looking for the Elusive Leopard! This the largest national park in the country with a very high number of Leopards! This is the most ideal park at the moment to view wildlife without being hassled by many jeeps surrounded unlike any other park. If you are lucky you will have the chance of seeing a sloth bear too!

Best Wildlife Park in Sri Lanka
LeopardTr... [TA], , Bristol, United Kingdom

Wilpattu is a truly hidden gem for wildlife enthusiast chasing the elusive Leopard and Sloth Bear in its natural habitat. The park is a well kept secret among local wildlife enthusiasts offering a a true wilderness experience, It is far less visited than other parks such as Yala, Udawalawe, Horton Plains etc. Until recent times the park lacked good quality accommodation in close proximity, luckily a few Classic mobile camping operators are offering the true wilderness experience.

A hidden gem....
HDS007 [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Wilpattu is a truly hidden gem; a well kept secret among local wildlife enthusiasts. If you want to experience a true wilderness experience, this is the park to visit. It is far less visited than other parks such as Yala, Udawalawe, Horton Plains etc. Its vastness also means that when you encounter animals, chances are you will be alone its their company.

What the park has lacked upto now is good quality accommodation surrounding it; luckily a few authentic properties offering 'the jungle experience' have started to come up, allowing guests to stay in comfort.

Make sure you explore the park's famous villu's; unique fresh and salt water lakes that are always shots to observe a variety of wildlife.

Fantastic park
Amrithds [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Spent many days in this national park which is the largest in Sri Lanka. Its fantastic for the elusive Leopard and also for sloth bear.

The great thing about this park is you really feel like you are in the true jungle. There is no phone reception so you are cut out from the world and there are very few vehicles so you really feel like you are deep in the jungle.

This park is fantastic for long Leopard sightings and I fully recommend it to anyone in the area.

Amazing Safari Park
KenSmith [TA], , United Kingdom

We really enjoyed the Jeep trip around this National Park. We did an early morning half-day safari. We had been to Yala twice and only ever seen one very distant leopard but here we had an amazing experience of seeing one close up. It stalked a large bird - which got away - and then rolled over on its back, playfully! Evidently there are over 30 leopards in the park. There were many other animals and birds to see. Including peacocks that had lost, or were losing, their tails. The guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. As the park is somewhat remote it is not as crowded as Yala. It was a great experience and we would thoroughly recommend it as worth a visit.

Good trip but didn't see a leopard
Nick946 [TA], , St Andrews

I visited twice in 2 days and saw lots of animals including elephants and bears but the closest I got seeing a leopard were the paw marks from the one that passed by the morning before.

Great nature reserve
Niri A [TA], ,

We were there for one afternoon until dusk. The highlight was seeing two young leopards at close quartets playing & climbing into the trees. We also saw deer, a lone elephant, baby wild boar & crocodile. The were lots of exotic birds as well. The guides were fantastic. Well worth the visit.

More enjoyable than Yala
Marg95 [TA], , Warrnambool, Australia

We visited 2 national parks in Sri Lanka... Wilpattu and Yala... and they were quite different. The animals were probably further apart here, but so were the tourists! The tourist volume in Yala was crazy, especially when there was talk of a leopard sighting early on, and we did not enjoy it. In my opinion Yala was still worth visiting, but don't anticipate a relaxing tour!

In contrast when we stopped for breakfast by the lagoon in Wilpattu we saw only 3 or 4 other jeeps (compared with maybe 30-40 in Yala), and rarely passed them on the tracks. We weren't lucky enough to see leopards in either park. But we did see plenty of birds, buffalo, deer, wild boar, crocodiles, mongoose and a fox. Plus it is a very scenic park, with lots of dense jungle as well as some open spaces and waterholes.

We also took our 2 and 4 yr old boys who loved it until they fell asleep (it's an early morning start to see the most animals). Tour was longer than expected, almost 4 hours in the park, but well worthwhile!

Master Campers Luxury Portable tented camps in Sri Lanka Wildlife Parks
snrajan [TA], , Inverness, Illinois

We, party of two(couple) stayed At a potable tented camp by "Master Campers" outfit inside the Wilpattu National Park, in Sri Lanka on the nights of November 29, 30 and December 1 in 2013.
The tents are reasonably comfortable with enough cold water and barely adequate hot water. Remember that these tents are set up in a few hours time, considering that I would rate the accommodation in terms of comfort as satisfactory to good. The Master Campers own vehicles take you for game drives in the morning and afternoon. As you are already camping within the park you get more actual drive time in park game dives. The guides are well informed and very very helpful. The food is good and has reasonable choices.I was told that they arrange for within the park tents at various wild life parks in Sri Lanka; but can do only three nights maximum within one park. We were able to see leopard, crocodiles, many birds,. especially eagle species, elusive barking deer, Sambar deers, python, mongooses, jackals, the rare Purple Faced Leaf Monkey(Tachypethicus vetulus), grey Langurs, Fishing owls among others. The very agile climbing leopards being the most rewarding experience. The Game drives were excellent and accommodation good to very good.

Underrated park
Thomas T [TA], , Copenhagen, Denmark

We spent an afternoon in late July in the park, enjoying every minute of it. Sightings included four sloth bears, crocodiles, two types of deers, wild boars, monkeys, wild buffaloes and lots of birds, including serpent eagles, horn bills, and jungle fowls. We did not see any leopards, but we have met lots of other travellers who had that fortune during recent weeks. The landscape is superb, with a highly varied forest being interspersed by meadows and lakes. Having read slightly less positive reviews in guidebooks and from other visitors, the experience definitely surpassed our expectations.

"Undisturbed Leopard Watching"
Rajasingh... [TA], ,

The biggest national park of Sri Lanka, now set opened for the tourist to enjoy viewing the wildlife there.
I was able to visit the park for 4/5 times including camping.
It has mainly a dry evergreen forest type with lots of shallow lakes here and there. The banks of the lakes ha sany beaches growing grasses towards the forest.
The jeep treks in the park are very shady...now and then we saw big Raptors perching on the branches and could get very close view.
In winter season there are many tourist birds; I could spot many : snipes, gowitts, bee-eaters etc.
The leopards we spotted here are awsome; we could watch them alone for 20 min to 1 hour...no disturbances for both parties...certanly no...peaceful...!

PRABHU60 [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Wilpattu National park is about 26 Km towards the east of Puttlam, about 180 Km north of Colombo in Sri Lanka, It stretches to about 131000 hectares of excellent wilderness dotted with more than 40 natural lakes (Willu ) out of which 10 are the major ones, thus giving the park its name Wilpattu.
The flora and fauna are amazing to the visitors and the one can see Leopards, Spotted deer, Barking Deer, Wid Boar, Wild Buffalos, without much effort. Among birds there are the black winged stilt, woolly necked ibis, open bill storks, Egrets, Herons, Cormorants, Teals, Pea fowl, Jungle Fowl, Green Pigeons, Blue and Black magpies, Brahmini Kites, Hawks, Eagles, Ospreys so on and on and a variety of exotic Butterflies.. We can travel in four wheel drive vehicles with a guide or in the rented four wheel drives provided by the local safari operators approved by the park authorities.
It is a wonderful experience to be i Wilpattu every single visitor to Sri Lanka who is interested in wild life should NEVER MISS.

Beautiful Park-needs making the most of
Hypat1a [TA], , Redditch, England

Wilpattu is beautiful and bursting with wildlife. We saw 2 bull elephants, mongoose,crocodile, jackals, monitor lizards, eagles, hornbills, peacocks....
The day felt a little spoiled by the lack of information, no visitors centre and a guide who barely spoke to us and was a bit miserable. We spend far too much time hurtling through the jungle at full speed in a jeep-not the best way to see wildlife! We would have loved to sit my one of the lakes or visit a viewing point. Instead there seemed to be a rush to get to a place we could get out and have a packed lunch by a beach. I wish we hadn't bothered as the long journey was a bit much on the bumpy tracks and the beach was full of litter-very upsetting.
My advice to Wilpattu is to make the most of the beautiful environment, keep it clean, slow down the jeeps and employ guides who speak English and are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the wildlife. It would then be worth the high price.

Wilpattu National Park
Sanka W [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

There're many reasons to visit the Wilpattu National Park except for the obvious wildlife attractions. Last month I was in the park & saw 3 leopards where one was sleeping like a log. I have witnessed sloth bears & elephants in the park along with many bird species (unfortunately I'm not a great bird lover & therefore can't remember who I saw).

Other attractions in the park were Kuveni's Palace, ancient coral reef, black & copper colored sand were some of them. I visited Pomparripu which was supposed to be an ancient archaeological site, but I found it a little dull.

There's a famous temple on the Oyamaduwa road called Tantirimallai Temple.

animals we saw at wilpattu
lakshmani... [TA], , Kandy, Sri Lanka

I visited the park after 35 years it was nice i saw some dear, sambur ,red dear the sloth bear and some birds the roads in the park were fairly good saw only one monkey not a single languor saw crocodile too the forest was lovely the very old trees

some improvements to be done
sunil2325 [TA], , Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka

been several times inside the park with luck even u will be able to spot all animals, as its biggest park in srilanka not only animals so many historical values in side the park,thoughit was abondon twicereason years hope its going to be the best park in srilanka future to come

Amazing jungle...
Amali W [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Visited Wilpattu jungle during April this year. It was not exactly a very sunny day so some drizzling was there in the evening at the time we went. The jungle itself is pretty amazing actually and you can only imagine how much it stretched to either side of the track you were traveling. Lot of place with sand on the ground and thought the ride was not exactly that bumpy the jeep found it tough to turn its wheels in certain places. Not as crowded as the yala national park. We were lucky to see a hawk, peacocks, lots of deer, wild roosters, elephants, sambar and a bear.

Helpful hint: If you go in the morning you might not see bears as they tend to come out during dusk. Also, pick your jeep carefully. Something that offers a cushioned seat and a full back rest will keep you more comfy during the journey.

A beautiful park re-emerging after the security concerns a few years ago
Roamingsp... [TA], , Melbourne

I have been to Wilpattu many times, but the most distinct images in my mind are from 2004 , from when I have visited this park a further 3 times. Let me put it briefly, the park is beautiful and it is a miracle that the wild life that currently exists, remains as is, given the poaching and lack of management during the LTTE era. My most recent visit was in May this year and we stayed at the "Kokmutai" Bungalow within the park. Wildlife did not disappoint, we saw leopard every one of the four days we were there, including bear and elephant. However this bungalow, supposed to be a premium one, dissaponited very much. The location was magic, located by the Modaragam aru river with the peaceful jungle around. The maintenance of the bungalow was however sadly lacking, toliets in very poor condition, no light bulbs in many parts of the place and very limited electricity (solar power) that seem to run out way ahead of the "cut off" time.
I understand the government wants to make these bungalows similar to the game lodges in Africa, great intention, but based on the current condition and price, this vision has a lot more work involved, if it is to become a reality.

Dont be in a hurry....
zia70 [TA], , Ekero, Sweden

This is real djungle really left as it is, but please take your time and also ask the drivers to take their time as well. The entrance fee could be more reasonable of course as usual for tourists visiting Sri Lanka. But what to do ? Anyway this is attraction not made for a stop just passing on the way. You need time and stay for the night in the neighberhood if possible two nights. After the end of th civil war in Sri Lanka this attraction could finnaly be opened. Good,good !!

best sightings of leopards... EVER!!!!
Shalindri... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Stayed at thalavila fir three nights and I can't absolutely imagine how lucky we were to spot those two majestic leopards. Absolutely loved the whole experience. There was such a diversity of animals. Leopards, elephants, crocodiles, wildboar, deer, peacocks... you name it... I guess this is the one place you could spot such a diversity of animals with a peace of mind . Unlike other national parks like Yala etc etc this place is not at all crowded and packed with vehicles.

The accommodation was very very basic... with only the necessities being met. Guess you can't expect anything more than that in the middle of nowhere. But I must say the location of the bungalow was absolutely breathtaking... a must visited place by any wildlife enthusiast.

Tip: take plenty of clean water, lighting equipment (place only has a solar powered lighting system), plenty of blankets, anti bug sprays (a lot of mosquitos are roaming everywhere) and last but not least dont expect to have much contact with the outside world..

Absolutely loved the whole experience.

I loved it but the government needs to bring the facilities up to international standards...
Mary38677 [TA], , Coventry, United Kingdom

Yes if is different from safaris in Kenya or South Africa but then we chose to come to Sri Lanka .It was quite a drive from our lodgings but arrived about 7.30am the toilets at the entrance were not very good.the government charge a great deal of money for tourist to visit the national parks and should insure that the facilities are up to international standards .Our spotters were very good and we saw a wide range of animals .we stopped to have our packed breakfast at one of the picnic areas ,watching an elephant berthing and playing inthe water hole amazing and lots of other animals near the edge .So to use the toilets smelly and the toilets were actually broken!,we had to go behind a bush!,we saw a herd of wild boar and babies running from a water hole ,lots of spotted deer .We had lunch down by a river but no toilets nearby.As were leaving the park we finally saw a leopard our spotters had been so determined to find them for us.

Fantastic place
Joanna P [TA], , Brussels, Belgium

For safari lovers, the nature is amazing. Only downside are the roads, very rough. It would be hard to spend the whole day in a jeep like that.

Wilpattu Safari Guide Services
TravelerR... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

After reading comments posted by safari lovers on wilpattu National park.we were in two mind whether to go their or not but after much discussions ,we booked the “thalawila bungalow” which is inside the walpattu national park . we took an four wheel safari jeep from “Panwila Safari Jeep Service”, (in order to tour wilapttu 4 wheel drive is mandatory) having Swasthi as our driver, in Wilpattu National Park. We were amazed and thrilled by all of the wildlife we saw, including a leopard, which were only 10 feet away. Swasthi seemed to know exactly where the wildlife were and the timing to see them. We also saw herds of elephants, spotted and Elk, buffalo, many jackals, wild boar, crocodiles, deer and numerous species of birds. Wilapttu National Park exceeded our expectations by a long shot. The service given to us by swasthi was indescribable ,he was a very friendly and humble guy and if not for his expertise we couldn’t seen what we have seen on those days ,the jeep was also very comfortable comparing with the other safari rides we have taken in wasgomuwa and yala, the price of the jeep was very reasonable
Sagara the owner of “Panwila Wilapttu Safari “ can be reached at -- and he has his guest house in Nochchiyagamaa
You can get more details from his web site http://www.panwilawilpattu.com
Contact Details

I would definitely recommend “Panwila Wilapttu Safari” to any one who’s going to wilpattu

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