The island nation of Sri Lanka is filled with a staggering number of natural wonders. To experience Sri Lanka is to experience the great outdoors. The beauty of the land and seascapes is only complemented by the rich variety of flora and fauna.
The Sri Lankan people are culturally and religiously bound to the concept of conservation. Nine national parks and seven bird sanctuaries are merely the outward manifestation of the population’s dedication to preserving the natural beauty of their island. Fully one quarter of the entire island is reserved for the protection of dozens of endangered species and other indigenous life. All are spectacular, but here are a few of our favourites.
Wilpattu National Park & Alankuda Beach
Sri Lanka is the only place in the world where, in one day, you can see the largest land animal, the Asian elephant, and the largest marine one, the Blue Whale. Start your trek and spend a few hours in Sri Lanka’s largest national park and visit with the mammoths of the wetlands. Then make the short trip to Alankuda Beach and journey offshore to watch for the gargantuan of the sea and their playful cousins, the dolphins.
The more adventurous traveller may desire his experience with nature to be more visceral, more up close and personal. If so, the hike to the Bambarakanda Falls is an experience to be anticipated. The falls are located five kilometres from the main road and the hike is through hilly terrain. Car travel is possible at certain times of the year but it is unsure and you may be walking anyway. In any event, the trip is most memorable if made on foot. The approach to the 260 metre falls is truly spectacular.
Kumana National Park
If you are fortunate enough to be in Sri Lanka between April and July, a visit to the Kumana National Park is in order to witness the mass migration of thousands upon thousands of birds. Over 200 species have been identified in the park and a sky full of avians is something to be remembered. Internationally recognized, Kumana National Park is a premier bird sanctuary, ecotourism centre and conservation site.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
The forests of this virgin tropical rain forest are home to more of Sri Lanka’s endemic species than any other. Over half the mammals of Sri Lanka live here including such rarities as the Badger Mongoose, the Purple Faced Leaf Monkey and the Golden Palm Civet. A vast assortment of birds on the wing, reptiles as still as statues and teeming plant life will leave the impression of a lifetime.
Sri Lanka is an exciting and hospitable tourist destination, It is renowned for many diversions. The wise traveller will take the time to visit the greatest treasures of Sri Lanka.