Points of Interest - Wilpattu

Wilpattu National Park

Leopard at Wilpattu National Park
Deer at Wilpattu National Park

Size: 131,693 hectares

Main attractions: Leopards, Elephants, spotted Deer, Sambur, Wild Bow, Crocodiles, Water Buffalo, Peacocks and many migratory birds

Situated 180 km away from Colombo, and about 40 km from Anuradhapura, Wilpattu National park is the largest wild life sanctuary in Sri Lanka. It was declared a sanctuary in 1938, and subsequently also as a national park, Wilpattu reserve, is a popular attraction for both tourists and wildlife enthusiasts including birdwatchers.

The name Wilpattu has derived from the word Villu, meaning “small lakes in depressions of the land, where surface run-off water collects” complement the unique ecosystem found exclusively in Wilpattu National Park.

This park is renowned for its leopards, sloth bear population and villus. In the coastal strip of Wilpattu, lies sizable villi which are major feeding sites for a myriad of migrating water birds, primarily species of ducks.

Ecosystems found in Wilpattu

Although tropical dry mixed evergreen forests stand out in the landscape of Wilpattu, many other diverse sub systems can be found within its boundaries.

Forest Eco System

  • Tropical Dry Mixed Evergreen
  • Tropical Thorn Forests
  • Riverine Forests
  • Dry Grass lands

Wetland Eco System

  • Floodplains
  • Swamps
  • Ancient Tanks and Ponds
  • Villus

Coastal Eco System

  • Mangrove forests
  • Salt marshes
  • Beaches and sand dunes
  • Sea cliffs

How to get there

Located, approximately 180km north of Colombo, 30km west of Anuradhapura and 26km north of Puttalam. The total area of the park is 1,317 square kilometers and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level.

The Colombo – Puttalam highway (A3) is the best route from Colombo. Then move on to the Puttalam – Anuradhapura highway (A12) for 42 kms,

Safari in Wilpattu National Park

Safari jeeps can be booked through the hotels as well as the entrance to the park. All the jeep services generally pick up the guests at the hotels in any neighboring areas and drop at the starting point at the end. The Safari sessions happen in the morning from 5am and evening session from 2.30pm. However the intense wildlife enthusiasts can choose to have a full-day session with high possibility of higher wildlife sightings.


There are ample accommodations to be found in around Wilpattu National Park, ranging from luxury hotels, budget guest houses, camping and also glamping if you’re a both nature loving and pleasure loving.

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