How to Plan a Sri Lankan Wildlife Holiday
As one of Asia’s top wildlife hotspots, the tropical paradise that is Sri Lanka is a dream come true for safari enthusiasts the world over. Home to some of the region’s most verdant wildlife sanctuaries teeming with countless species, exploring the wealth of wildlife attractions is a priority for all who vacation in the popular holiday hotspot. From planning wildlife excursions to selecting which national parks to explore here are some guidelines on planning a wildlife vacation in Sri Lanka.
1. Select Wildlife Hubs
The first step in planning a wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka involves looking in to the sheer diversity of national parks in the tropical paradise and the wealth of experiences on offer at each location. Reading up on the various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the island and the area in which they are located is key to finding which regions and species are of particular interest to you. Venues like Yala National Park should be at the top of your list with more than 44 mammal varieties occupying the park’s impressive 378 square mile enclosure while the Sinharaja Rainforest and the Bundala National Park are equally intriguing wildlife hotspots. Those who wish to witness wild elephants while on a safari should look in to travelling to the Udawalawe National Park while the Wasgamuwa National Park and Wilpattu National Park are equally breathtaking areas that are ideal for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.
2. Time Your Vacation
Wildlife holidays are heavily dependent on the availability and visibility of wildlife animals during any given period of the year. Sri Lanka’s national parks are best explored during the dry season, as the wet season reduces your chances of spotting the sanctuary’s inhabitants, while visitors should avoid visiting the island during drought conditions as this tends to have a negative effect on spotting animals, as they will move in search of water sources like lakes, as other bodies of water dry up. Each national park has its ideal period for visitors and finding out what time of year is perfect for the wildlife parks of your choice can not only help you decide when to travel to the area but also helps you make the most of your trip.
3. Book Tour Operator
Most, if not all wildlife or national parks in Sri Lanka should be explored with the aid and guidance of experienced tour operators or organizers of adventure tours in Sri Lanka. Tour companies operating in Sri Lanka such as Walkers Tours will be able to arrange a wildlife tour that would best suit you. Travellers should scour the internet and consult reviews of fellow travellers online and offline to gauge which tour operator or safari organizer is the perfect fit for your travel needs and make an advanced booking.
3. Create an Itinerary
This can be done with the help of your tour operator or independently. Make sure you create a feasible and achievable daily plan for each day spent in national parks and the like. Leave time slots available for breaks and stopovers at other cultural or recreational attraction in the areas you are visiting as a wildlife holiday need not only include safaris and camping adventures.
4. Accommodation Options
When it comes to accommodation visitors can either stay at a luxury resort close to the wildlife sanctuaries or camp out in the wild where camping is permitted. Be sure to check with your tour plan on what accommodation you’ll be staying in. There are several Sri Lankan resorts that are located within the jungle while camping tours are also organized by local travel companies.
5. Visit Pinnawala
The Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary is a must visit for all tourists exploring the wild side of Sri Lanka. Home to countless rescued and injured gentle giants, head down to the lake to witness the daily bathing ritual at the conservation and rehabilitation centre which is a truly captivating sight!
6. Don’t Forget Birding Hotspots
Sri Lanka is home to several dedicated birdlife national parks with Kumana National Park and the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary leading the way. Make it a point to stopover at these verdant landscapes to witness both endemic and migratory birds in Sri Lanka.