First Safari Park in Sri Lanka opens tomorrow

By Jenna Jolie

Mar 27, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has made arrangements to open the country's first safari park tomorrow at Ridiyagama in Hambantota in the Southern Province.

The construction work at the first Safari Park in the island started in 2008 under the direction of The National Zoological Department. The park, being built under two phases, covers an expanse of about 500 acres and it contains a public entertainment zone extending to about 69 acres.

Four of the park's six zones will be reserved for carnivorous animals while the remaining two zones will be set apart for the herbivores. Two zones of the carnivore section will be exclusively reserved for the dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, and leopards.

The first phase with the African Lion Zone, Sri Lanka Elephant Zone and World Zone will be opened tomorrow. The Lions were released to the African Zone yesterday. The animals can move freely in the park.

African, Asian, Australian Zones and a small animal kingdom will be built under the second phase.

A special bus service will be available for the tourists to move around the park. The park consists of all facilities such as animal hospitals, internal road network and vehicle parks. Waste disposal methodologies have been introduced to protect the environment.

The Safari Park constructed at a cost of 1.6 billion rupees is seen as an avenue to attract more tourists to the island and a boom to the tourism industry.

Safari Park in Sri Lanka today

Now, Ridiyagama Safari Park is Sri Lanka's first man-made safari park. This park, which covers 500 acres, is home to 22 different types of animals, mostly mammals, and birds.

Why is Sri Lanka one of the best safari destinations in the world?

Sri Lanka is among the countries having the highest rates of biological endemism in the world. That means 16% of its fauna and 23% of its flora are unique to the island.

It has more than 400 species of birds and its own 'big five': elephants, leopards, sloth bears, blue whales, and sperm whales. It's also one of the few places where you can go whale watching and go on a land safari all on the same day.

The Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation protects a large portion of the country's 26 state-owned national parks, which cover an area of 5,734 square kilometers (2,214 square miles). Culture Trip travels throughout Sri Lanka looking for the best safari.

[Updates] How many safari parks are there in Sri Lanka now?

There are 26 national parks in Sri Lanka now. Visitors are permitted to enter national parks, but only with a permit, and to observe flora and fauna. There are currently 26 national parks covering a total area of 5,734 km2 (2,214 sq mi).

Below are 08 best Sri Lanka Safaris to visit on your journey:

1. Yala National Park

Yala National Park could easily be the country’s most well-known national park, with the largest nature reserves. The huge national park encompasses several ecosystems, ranging from semi-arid landscapes to dense wetlands, including elephants, sloth bears, and water buffalo, leopards. The best time to visit the park is generally in the dry season: roughly from February through to June. The roads are open, and there’s no chance of flooding. Wildlife is easier to spot too.

Located: Yala National Park is located in Southeast Sri Lanka, and it’s relatively easy to get here from Colombo or other parts of Sri Lanka.

Yala National Park

Yala National Park

2. Kumana National Park

This is a nature reserve that’s primarily set up for bird watching, but you can see all other kinds of wildlife here too. It is a quieter place to visit, with much less tourism. So, you might find the experience more enjoyable, as the roads are almost empty, and the whole park feels much rawer than its neighbors.

The best time to visit Kumana National Park is from May to June, as this is when nesting season is. Visitors will see many rare species flocking here from thousands of miles away during their annual migrations to Sri Lanka.

3. Udawalawe National Park

Also found in the South of the country, Udawalawe National Park is just a few hour's drives from Colombo. This place is the best to visit if you want to see elephants. The number of elephants in the park may be up to 250, and they can frequently be found at the local watering holes within the national park.

The best time to visit Udawalawe National Park is between May and September when there’s little rainfall in Udawalawe.

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park

4. Horton Plains National Park

This is a great place to visit if you are looking to escape the heat and humidity of Sri Lanka’s lowlands. You can find a diverse range of deer species and plenty of birdlife here. Seeing the waterfalls crashing rivers and even walking to the World’s End is a fascinating experience.

The best time to visit Horton Plains National Park is the dry season: between January and March.

5. Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla National Park is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The park is well-known for its elephant safaris. Other animals include leopards and sloths, as well as deer and wild boar.

The dry season lasts from April to October, but if you want to see large herds of elephants moving through the park, go to Kaudulla around the end of September, when the animals begin migrating through the park in search of large water reserves.

6. Minneriya National Park

Because they are so close, this is an excellent place to visit after exploring Kaudulla National Park. Minneriya National Park is well-known for its large elephant herds, which can be seen migrating from the park into Kaudulla.

The dry season, between April and September, is ideal for visiting Minneriya National Park. Herds congregate near large water reservoirs. By the end of September, however, they've usually depleted those reserves and have moved on to Kaudulla National Park.

The best time to visit Minneriya National Park

The best time to visit Minneriya National Park

7. Gal Oya National Park

Gal Oya National Park is located on Sri Lanka’s eastern coast. This is ecotourism at its best in the country where deer, buffalo, and even leopards are easily seen. The park protects one of the largest water reservoirs in Sri Lanka, and it’s fed by a network of waterways. For the most exciting Sri Lanka safaris, visitors can take a cruise along the river in search of wildlife.

8. Whale Watching Safaris

Throughout the year, Mirissa, on Sri Lanka's south coast, is the most popular spot for whale watching. A whale-watching safari in Sri Lanka allows you to see a variety of species, including blue whales, sperm whales, minke whales, and orcas.

The whales make their first appearance in November and can be seen until April. After April, the whales begin to migrate North along the Eastern coast. Between June and October, visitors can travel far North to Trincomalee.

Safari Parks in Sri Lanka offers outdoor activities that usually provide visitors with memorable experiences and a wealth of fresh information on biodiversity, life skills, and other topics. Furthermore, guests will always prioritize the safety of the trip. We also provide travel insurance service for this purpose. Visitors merely need to go to the website of our primary e-Visa service to uncover many extra services as appealing as travel insurance. Let's experience the extra services we are offering!

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