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Safari at Wipattu National Park

Description

Adventure Sri Lanka's most untouchable wildlife in the extended isolation of Wilpattu National Park. This is Sri Lanka's most extensive and oldest reserve, inhabiting a vast swathe of land edging the copper-sand shores of the northwest coast, the ancient ruins of the Cultural Triangle and the Northern Province. Residence to numerous endemic species, the park fosters spectacular bird life, Elephants, Sri Lankan Leopards, Sri Lankan Sloth Bears and many more animals.

 

HISTORY OF WIPATTU NATIONAL PARK

While Wilpattu was first established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1905, it wasn't till February 1938 that this 13,500-hectare grassland was upgraded to national park grade. However, its story starts considerably before this. The copper shoreline of the reserve, especially at Kudiramalai, a rocky promontory, is widely considered to have been the landing zone of the Indian Prince Vijaya in the 5th century BC. Prince married Princess Kuveni of Sri Lanka and founded the Sinhalese race. The region's alternative title – Thambapanni, or the 'colour of copper' – arrived due to the reddish sand that stained the hands and feet of Prince Vijaya and his 700-odd followers when they came ashore. The ruins of Kuveni's castle are just one of 68 archeological spots within Wilpattu National Park.

 

WHERE IS WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK?

Wilpattu National Park is in northwest of Sri Lanka, about 35km west of Anuradhapura and 30 km north of Puttalam. From the Main entrance in Hunuvilagama, the track weaves via a beautiful lowland grove for around 8 kilometres before reaching the better open wildlife places.

 

WHEN TO GO TO WILPATTU FOR A NATIONAL PARK SAFARI?

Park is a year-round destination for wilderness safaris. The most favoured time to visit is during the May to September dry season and earlier October when the start of the drought and die-back of vegetation elaborates wildlife viewing in and around the many puddles. The northeastern monsoon brings rainfall from October until December, after which the reserve is dense, green and attractive – awesome clouds of butterflies are a highlight at the start of the year. Sloth bears feast on the intoxicating fruits of the palm trees in the season between May and July, so sightings are optimal at this time.

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