Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jeep safari of Wilpattu National Park

I've wanted to visit Wilpattu National Park for a number of years now as it's one of the most famous on the island. It's famous for its population of leopards, elephants, sloth bears, spotted deer and many other species of mammals, birds and reptiles.

This trip was an impromptu one... a day trip to Kalpitiya turned into a drive up to Puttalam and then an overnight stay near Wilpattu and early jeep safari of the national park.
Unfortunately, it wasn't quite the right time to visit Kalpitiya. I had wanted to see the sperm whales and dolphins. Well, I guess that's for another road trip later this year when the season opens again.

Wilpattu is located in the north-west region of Sri Lanka, approximately 26 km north of Puttalam. It is spread over 131,693 hectares and is known for its unique water basins or lakes that fill with rainwater.

Wilpattu compares favorably with Yala and Minneriya. I think Yala tends to receive a lot more visitors and you feel like there's a lot of jeep traffic going through. I'd say there are more flora and fauna to observe at Yala, but the natural landscape of Wilpattu is stunning, especially with the number of natural water basins and lakes. My presonal favorite is still Minneriya for some reason. I can't explain it, but I just love the place.

A few pics from the five-hour jeep safari of Wilpatta...

Unfortunately, NO leopard sightings this time! However, I hadn't expected to even visit Wilpattu, so seeing leopards would have been an extra bonus. I'll definitely head back (maybe around December) when the leopards have a better chance of wandering around.

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