Sri Lanka wildlife safaris and vacation tours … an incredible destination that we will focus in this article. Udawalawe National Park on the other hand is smaller, a third of the size of Yala, covering 308 square km (119 square miles). Nonetheless, given its smaller size, Udawalawe has a greater density of animal to size ratio, particularly with Sri Lankan elephants. Being a less popular safari destination than Udawalawe, it is also quieter, which makes it a more enjoyable safari experience in our opinion. Yala National Park: can be visited all year round except in September and October, when the park is closed for maintenance. All animals can be seen throughout the year with your best chances to spot wildlife at Yala during the dry season, which runs from February to September when the water levels are low, and the animals gather around the lagoons to drink.
Towering up in the central highlands, Horton Plains is the highest plateau on the island. The cloud forests here are rich in endemic plants and animals that have adapted to the cooler climes (temperatures can fall below freezing at night). Birds such as the Sri Lankan whistling thrush and Sri Lankan bush warbler are best seen here. The dwarf lizard, found only in the montane zone, has evolved the ability to give birth to live young in order to avoid the problems of laying in such egg-chilling temperatures. See more info Sri Lanka wildlife tours.
It is an unmissable experience to go on safari while in Sri Lanka. There are many national parks with great experiences. I ended up choosing Kaudulla National Park and I was amazed at what we saw. Our group got into an open-top jeep and began cruising through the jungle. We spotted an owl and several monkeys before our jeep rolled out into a clearing. Next thing we knew we were heading straight towards a herd of wild elephants. The herd was massive with more than 100 elephants relaxing near the edge of a huge lake. We cruised slowly, letting the elephants go about their business as we watched calves follow their mothers and males fighting.
The beautiful Ravana Falls are used for bathing in the hot summer months. In the rainy season, the water flow is exceptionally strong and is an impressive sight. The falls are part of the Ravana Ella Wildlife Sanctuary, and the nearby cave complex is rich in local legend. Conveniently located on the main road on the way to Ella town, the caves are a common stop off point for visitors during their journey. Many cheeky monkeys live in the surrounding trees and they are often seen on the roadside dining on fruit. However, don’t let them get too close, as sometimes they can get over-friendly with visitors. The Dambulla Cave Temple is a sacred Buddhist site. There is no entry fee to get into the temple on full-moon days; however, these days are especially busy because of the religious significance of this lunar phase. Devotees from all over the world make pilgrimage to this place. There are over 80 caves documented in the area, but the most famous five are outfitted with impressive statues and paintings. Some of the caves date back to 1000 BC, when prehistoric Sri Lankans would have lived within them, so it is unsurprising that they would have created temples inside at that time. If you do plan to visit, please be aware that visitors must cover their shoulders and legs and remove shoes before entering the temple.