Leopards, elephants and bears oh my! If you’re wanting to experience a Sri Lankan safari like no other then Wilpattu is the place for you.
Wilpattu National Park is approximately 4.5 hours drive north of Negombo and about 1 hours drive west of Anuradhapura. It’s the largest national park in Sri Lanka and home to about 400 elephants who cover 1,317 metres squared of land.
We’d recommend this national park for travellers who prefer the road less travelled and although more tourists are beginning to explore this area it’s still the most authentic in the country. Due to the lower amounts of visitors you’re more likely to see the elusive leopard and bear as there’s less jeeps on the road.
You can book your safari through most hotels around the area. We went with Bobee Jeep Safari who picked us up from Leopard Den, a restaurant at the Wilpattu National Park turn off. We recommend stopping here for a delicious Sri Lankan curry buffet lunch before your tour. After all, wildlife searching is hungry work.
However, If you do go with Bobee’s Jeep Safaris and you see your driver with a brand new GoPro Hero 7 on a black dive handle, about 20cm long, that’s ours! Our driver took quite the fancy to it also and won’t hand it back.
The safari takes approximately 5 hours and cost us 17500 rupees for two people (50 USD or 70 AUD pp) where we had our own private Jeep. When booking your tour be sure to ask for the Japanese Jeep as they have a solid roof and side flaps that will protect you from the inevitable afternoon down pours.
We thought that the safari was absolutely awesome and would 100% recommend Wilpattu as a safari destination. It’s been the highlight of our trip thus far.
We saw elephants, mongoose, two breeds of deer, bears, turtles, a crocodile trying to eat a tortoise, lizards, birds, squirrels, water buffalo, the native bird of Sri Lanka the jungle Fowl and monkeys. We didn’t see the Leopard this time around but we’ll catch up with him next time.
If you want to experience this safari without the hassle of organising it yourself then we 100% recommend Nuwan from Nex Sri Lanka Tours. We spent 10 days with Nuwan travelling around Sri Lanka. He’s professional, safe, super friendly and will organise anything you wish to make your dream holiday a reality.
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