Where To See Elephants In Sri Lanka? Here’s 4 Awesome Places You’ll Love
There are a few things Sri Lanka is best known for; its beaches, cricket, tea, and being home to a large number of elephants. There are many elephant sanctuaries in the country, but the best way to see elephants is going on safari and observing them in their natural habitat. Here are some of the best places to see elephants:
Minneriya & Kaudulla National Parks
Close to the city of Polonnaruwa, the parks are found in the central province; technically Minneriya and Kaudulla are two separate parks, but they join in the middle to give the elephants a larger area to roam, and the link between the two is referred to as the elephant corridor. The largest gathering of Asian elephants takes place here, and it is truly a sight to see. The gathering takes place during the dry season which is from June/July and lasts till September, you will see 200-500 elephants. The best thing for your family is to embark on a game drive!
Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s largest and one of its oldest national parks. The park gets its name from its 106 ‘willus’ (natural lakes) that are spread throughout the park. Elephants are drawn to these pools of water, and so you are guaranteed to spot one here. Wilpattu is also renowned for its leopard population, and if you’re lucky you will be able to catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard. Kids will also enjoy the game drive here, unlike Minneriya and Kaudulla where you see the elephants in flat plains, Wilpattu is a thick jungle so going on a safari is more of an exciting experience. A good idea would be to stay in Mannar and do a day trip to Wilpattu, that way your family can experience a Sri Lankan seaside town, as well as its jungle.
Lahugala Kitulana National Park
Lahugala Kitulana National Park is Wilpattu’s opposite, being one of the country’s smallest national parks. Only a 20-minute drive from Arugambay, this is a great excursion to take a break from the beach. Despite its land area, the park is an important habitat for Sri Lanka elephants and endemic birds. This park is a hidden gem and you should definitely visit it because you and your family won’t be interrupted by crowds of tourists, ensuring a more private safari experience.
Yala National Park
On the south coast of Sri Lanka, Yala is without a doubt the most popular National Park. Yala is home to Sri Lanka’s ‘Big Three’: elephants, leopards and bears. There are many elephants that roam the park, and since it is smaller than Wilpattu you will be more likely to see them. Yala also has the highest density of leopards in a geographical area and because of this, the park tends to get very crowded, so it is advised if you go early in the morning so that you can skip the queues.