Encompassing golden and white sand beaches, a rich culture and a culinary treasure trove, it’s no wonder that Sri Lanka gives holiday makers that little taste of paradise. There’s also a diverse range of things to do to suit every type of holiday maker, from exploring the culture and history, to snorkelling and scuba diving.
Sri Lanka is also home to some Asia’s most magnificent wildlife. With 100 areas of protected land and six world heritage sites, there are plenty of places to go and check out the incredible wildlife. The island’s isolated nature combined with heavy rainfall and varying altitudes means that Sri Lanka has a considerably varying climate making it a great environment for a diverse range of wildlife.
On the whole, the weather conditions are near-perfect throughout the seasons. The temperatures on the coast hit around 30˚C whereas the temperature in the hills and mountains central to the island tend to hover around the 19˚C mark.
The capital city of Colombo is known as the gateway to Sri Lanka for most people visiting the island. While Colombo is a great city in itself to visit, with various beach resorts and places to explore, there are also an array of national parks – home to some of the most amazing wildlife that Asia has to offer.
A four hour drive from Colombo will get you to Uda Walawe National Park. This is a must for anyone wanting to see Asian elephants during their visit. Home to almost 500 wild elephants, a sighting is pretty much guaranteed.
However, there isn’t much else in terms of mammals at this national park. Though there is great news if you’re an avid birdwatcher as changeable hawks and various species of eagles are known to inhabit the area also.
Beauty in biodiversity
For a more diverse range of Asia’s mammals, Minneriya and Kaudulla National parks in the North Central Province promise quite a lot. If you’re travelling between September and October you’re likely to see a congregation of elephants around Minneriya Lake which dries out at this time of year leaving behind a plush grassland area.
Yala West (Ruhuna) National Park is a six hour drive from Colombo city, but worth it for amazing wildlife. Considered Sri Lanka’s premier national park, it’s one of the best for spotting leopards (about 30 inhabit the park) as well as other Asian mammals such langur and toque monkey, buffalo and Indian palm civet.
For those visiting in June and July, it’s likely you’ll catch the sloth bears who are often seen during the fruiting of the palu trees in this region.