Wilpattu Sanctuary

The land of lakes

Wilpattu Sanctuary which was established in 1938, is the oldest and the largest game reserve in Sri Lanka and is a renowned game reserve even in South Asia. From Colombo, there is two access road to Wilpattu.One is via Negombo Chilaw,Madurankuliya Puttalama and Pomparippu.The other access is through Katunayake,Giriulla,Galgamuwa, Thambuttegama and Nochchiyagama.The distance from Colombo is nearly 175km. In Tamil “Wilu” means lake and thus given the large number of willus in the park. As most of the lakes in Wilpattu are surrounded by sandy walls, various species of flora and fauna add life to this landscape. Out of more than 40 small and large willus in the park, re Kokkariya and Lunuvila are considered to be the main lifeblood of the sanctuary. Some of the willus also consist of seawater, given the close proximity to the Indian ocean. The elevation of this park ranges from zero to152m and in area,1320 square kilometers.

This sanctuary, situated bordering  Mannar from Northern province, Northwestern and North-central provinces provides shelter to large numbers of flora and fauna. Leopard, which is a rare species in other sanctuaries, is somewhat frequent in Wilpattu. Those who visit must have an eagle eye to glance at the leopard in places such as leopard crossings, rock faces, and water holes. In addition to leopards, the park shares its shade with a few tuskers, Asian elephants, spotted deer, sambhur, water buffalos, wild boar, jackal, mongoose, porcupines, and bears. Among the bird species Peacock, Grey HornBills, Jungle FowlIndian Cormorants, Brown-capped Babbler, and migrant species such as Pelican are common. This valuable park also harbors some valuable trees and plants such as palu, satin, weera, milla, wewarana, and ebony. the monitor lizard and Indian python are common sights.

The beach along the northwest border, the colorful rocks and soil of this area, and its never-ending grassy plains make Wilpattu a nature lover’s dream. The war that lasted for more than 30 years refrained the public from seeing this park. After reopening the park in 2010, now public are allowed to visit it. Well-maintained safari jeep service facilitates the public by providing a very good service. A large number of hotels restaurants and villas that are found in the vicinity of the park solve the problem of staying with comfort.