Sri Lanka has numerous national parks, the most famous in the Southern region being the National parks of Yala, Udawalawe, Bundala, Kumana, and the Sinharaja forest reserve.
Yala is the second largest in the island and covers almost 1000 square kilometres. It has a diverse variety of ecosystems and terrain. Yala has the highest leopard density in the world – for this reason people flock from all over the world here, making it one of the busiest parks during the season. Various other mammals can be spotted during your safari here, including sloth bears, jungle cats, mongoose, wild boar, sambar deer, spotted deer, buffalo and Asian elephants. You can also spot a number of crocodiles near rivers and pools, as well as turtle species near the coastal areas.
Udawalawe National Park spans over 30,000 hectares and lies on the boundary of Sri Lanka’s wet and dry zones, with a great diversity of flora and fauna. The Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe is another interesting place to visit. It is established by the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the home rehabilitates abandoned baby elephants, with the aim of releasing them into their natural habitat when they are five years old.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is situated in the south-west lowland of Sri Lanka, and is a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts. Trekking through nature trails here is a true adventure which will lead you through a great diversity of habitats and give you the opportunity to see various endemic flora and fauna species. This virgin tropical rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a Biosphere Reserve, and covers over 10,000 hectares. Sinharaja literally means ‘lion king’, and plays an important part in legends and folklore of Sri Lanka.