Sri Lanka has one of the most diverse collection of Natural reserves and parklands. Beginning with the most famous!
YALA, a strict National reserve of Forest, grassland, shrub jungle and marine wetlands,which covers much of the south-eastern tip of Sri Lanka,was designated a strict reserve in 1900,has the worlds highest concentration of Leopard,with a high population of the Iconic Elephant,Crocodile,Sambhur,Bears,Peacock,Deer and more wildlife than one can mention!It is made up of Five blocks,with two open for visit!Best during the months of May to July,when the dry season brings the wild life out into the open!It is the second largest nature reserve
BUNDALA ,on the western edge of Yala,is well known for its bio-diversity,and a bird watchers paradise!It is an important destination,and winter watering site , for the many migratory bird species that make up part of the parks appeal,and the last point before the Indian ocean. and its highlight, are the flocks of the greater flamingo .Declared a UNESCO, Man and bio- sphere Reserve in 2005 it was the first park to be declared a Ramsar site,in Sri Lanka and is one of four Bio-sphere reserves in Sri Lanka,Its delightful mix of Shrub jungle ,Wetland and lagoon and rugged shoreline hold great promise for the adventurous!A delightful park to visit!
KUMANA National park,North eastern Boundary,once a part of the Yala reserve and contiguous to it, was separated in 2005.The boundary between the two is the Kumbukkan oya,and its main feature is the Kumana Bird sanctuary .A part of the important bird migratory route,and an important winter stop over, 250 bird species have been recorded here.An area encompassing several shallow lagoons ,that get inundated during the monsoons,set amidst semi tropical jungle and thorny scrub,it has a great Bio-diversity,providing ample feeding,and mating for various species of birds.It also has an ancient history with inscribed rock carvings,dating back to 3d century BC.It also lies on the pilgrim route to the sacred city of Kataragama!
WILPATTU!The land of lakes.In the north western coastal area of Sri Lanka is the country’s oldest sanctuary and designated natural reserve .Just 35 kms,from Anuradhapura,and 25 kms from Puttalam .It is an area covered by about 60 inland lakes,called villus,and is famous for its leopard,Elephant and many other mammals.It has an endemic bird population, as well as many migrant species.It also has a historical link.As legend goes,Prince Vijaya landed at Tambapanni, now known as Kudurumalai,or Horse point, married a local princess called Kuveni,and began the Sinhala civilization!
Galoya National park is situated more to Islands east and was established as a catchment area for the countries largestman made reservoir,The Senanayake samudra,and several other protected areas around the Galoya.A park of savannah ,and mountainous grassland,it is home to several of the islands mammals and endemic bird species.The Resrvoir can be crossed by boat and a visit to the bird island in the middle of the reservoir is an option.It has an ancient cultural link the Ancient Dhigavapi Stupa which was constructed in the 2ndCentury BC,to commemorate the third visit of the Bhudda to Sri Lanka.It is also the traditional home of the Islands, Veddahs,indegenous tribes who once populated the region!
Wasgamuwa national park is situated between the Pollonaruwa and matale districts .Designated a Nature reserve in 1938 in ,it was upgraded to a National park in the 1984,to protect the many species of wild life displaced by the Mahaweli development scheme.With natural forest,and grassland,it is home to many specie of birds and mammals.It’s name is derived from the sinhala word for Bear.Walaha!It is famous for its herds of wild elephant and is home to over 150 species of birds.It is an area of historic significance,with the remains of The Chulangani chaitaya with a circumference larger than the Ruwanweliseya,and the ancient battle ground of King Dutugemunu,and King Elara,in close proximity!
HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK is set in the central highland plateau .It is at the headwaters of three great rivers,the Mahaweli,Kelaniya,and the Walawe and is a watershed of rich bio-diversity.Contiguous to the Peak wilderness and the Knuckles range,it is a part of the central highlands world heritage list , it is the most popular and frequently visited of our National parks!It is cloud covered mountain forest and misty grass land,showered with mountain dew,and slow moving mountain streams and cold climate is a delight to the visitor .Its high elevation of over 2000 metres,keeps it permanently moist.It’s highlight is the famous “worlds end”,a sheer precipice of terrifying proportions offering a great vista,and the magnificent Bakers falls!It has,its importance in prehistoric cultures,with evidence that exist in the nearby Balangoda caves, traced back to 27000 yrs!It is home to several specie of Fauna and flora that are endemic to the region alone and that, is its global importance!A sheer pleasure for any nature lover!