WILDLIFE AND NATURE
YALA NATIONAL PARK
It’s very rich in wildlife and you’re virtually certain to encounter elephants, crocodiles, buffaloes, and monkeys. Also if you are lucky you could spot other animals like sloth bears and fox-like jackals. Sambars and leopard. Yala is considered one of the world’s best parks for spotting these big cats. Panthera pardus kotiya, the subspecies you may well see, is unique to Sri Lanka. The best time to spot leopards is February to June or July when the water levels in the park are low.
HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK
Horton plains are located in the hill country on the altitude of 2,100–2,300 metre from the sea level, midway between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale and was designated as national park in 1988. Wild stretch of bleak, high-altitude grasslands, dramatically plunging cliff – World’s End and stunning waterfall – Bakers Falls are the highlights of the National park. Large parts of the Plains are still covered in beautiful and pristine stands of cloud forest, in the distance you can see the umbrella-shaped keena trees. The park’s most visible residents are the sambar deer, while you might see rare bear monkeys. Great place to see dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka bush warbler, Sri Lanka whistling thrush and the pretty yellow-eared bulbul Birds. Usual trail is 9km circular path around the park. There’s also a much longer – 22km trek to the top of Kirigalpota (2395m). Shortest trail – 6km return to the summit of Totapolakanda(2359m). Just walking on the trail couple of kilometres, you will reach the first viewpoint, Small World’s End.
MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK
Minneriya national park is undoubtedly one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants. This can be big as 100-200 elephants present at once. Surrounded by the ancient Minneriya lake, the park has plenty of scrub, forest and wetlands. The dry season, from April to October, is the best time to visit (as by then water in the tank has dried up while exposing animals). Elephants come to minneriya lake to feed and bathe during what is known as ‘the Gathering.
SINHARAJA RAIN FOREST RESERVE
Sinharaja Rain Forest has a immense biodiverse habitat, bordered by rivers and rich in wildlife, including rare mammals and many endemic birds. Unlike most Sri Lankan national parks, access to the forest is only on foot, accompanied by a guide. TOurs are possible from Deniyaya as well as Kalawana.
FISH MARKET NEGOMBO
Fish Market Negombo – Located on the north side of the Lagoon. Hundreds of lines of fishes laid out there on the sand to dry out. Usually fisherman go out in the sea to search for fishes. You can see the Fish auctions on the beach, once they return.
LITTLE ADAMS PEAK ELLA
Little Adam’s Peak (Elevation from the Sea level 1141 m)/ Punchi Sri Pada (Sinhalese) in Ella Resembles the real Adam’s Peak, however much easier to climb, less challenging as well as less expensive trek. It is sort of a pyramid-shaped rock which stands opposite to the Ella Rock.
Pinnawala Orphanage is probably on the top 5 of the list of must see places in Sri Lanka. Pinnawala Elephant orphanage is the nursing home for nearly 100 injured elephants. It is well worth a visit on your way to Dambulla or to Kandy otherwise you could make a half day excursion from Kandy. The orphanage was originally established in 1975 with 4 baby elephants who lost their parents. Most of the elephant are bring down from near by forests while wandering around with injuries and provide medical care and protection, and some of the elephants are born later in the orphanage.