There are very few places in the world where you can spot a leopard. Sri Lanka is one of those places! A natural wonderland, according to researchers there are 500 plus leopards in Sri Lanka. There are three places where you can spot a leopard in Sri Lanka.
Yala, Willpattu and Kumana national parks are the best locations where you can spot a leopard in Sri Lanka. Among them, Yala has the record for the highest number of leopards. According to the researches, there is a leopard for each square kilometre. Not only in Sri Lanka even in the world Yala is one of the best.
If you are planning to visit Sri Lanka in the near future, the details we found will be useful. Let Check each of them in detail.
We wouldn’t be surprised if anyone comes to us and says, ”God must be in a great mood! When they made Sri Lanka.” It is one of the most serene and beautiful island nations that you SHOULD explore.
Majority of the people do not see Sri Lanka as a wildlife spot. They would go on a beach vacation or visit the historical sites. Some of them are also interested in fresh seafood and brilliant architecture. However, the wildlife is as stellar as everything else in Sri Lanka.
In the year 2008, the Sri Lankan leopard was listed as an ‘endangered’ species
When you look at the Sri Lankan flag, you find a lion as the symbol. Sadly, the mighty Lion King could not survive prehistoric times. Lions can no longer be seen on the island nation. However, the other cat family member, the leopard can be spotted at different few different locations within Sri Lanka.
The Best Places to Spot the Sri Lankan Leopard
Sri Lanka has a total of 26 national parks. These are the places where the animals are able to breathe easy and enjoy their habitat. Among them, there are three national parks where you can spot a leopard. Let’s check them in detail.
Yala National Park – The Sri Lanka Paradise Of leopards
Yala National Park is one of the hot-spots for leopard spotting in Sri Lanka. Majority of the tourists and nature-lovers head to Yala with the hope that they would spot a leopard.
While you are exploring the national park with the licensed guide, elephants, jackals, buffaloes, and Langur monkeys shall come and greet you. That’s the perfect way to light up a child’s day!
During this trip, you may see things you have never witnessed in your life. A leopard might cross the road and give you a look that would haunt you for years to come. Hence, always be ready with your cameras (no flash, please). Since Yala is home to many species of animals, it is recommended that tourists should respect their habitat.
Why Should You Visit Yala For Leopard Spotting?
Yala is one of the largest protected regions where it is easy to spot a leopard. There are lakes, lush forests, some dry patches, and watering holes. Considering there is grassland, water source, and easy access to food, the leopards are able to thrive in this environment.
In total, there are five blocks within Yala. One of them is a restricted zone, and others are easy to access (with permission). It takes a little more planning to visit the national park. You cannot show up and expect to pay a visit to the wild animals.
Most of the visitors opt for Block One of the national park. Since there are many watering holes here, the leopards come out for a little stroll to drink water.
If you want to experience Yala from up close, it is recommended to stay in one of the luxurious properties within the vicinity. This way, you can start early for the safari and also stay amidst the wilderness.
Did you know that leopards are not as social? They are known as ‘solitary hunters’ because they like to hunt alone. If you spot a leopard at Yala, do not indulge in swift movements or try to mess with the big cat! Respect the animal’s privacy.
- Best Time To Visit Yala National Park – From February to June is the best time period to visit Yala National Park. Since it is dry season, it is easier to spot the animals which come out for the water. The park is always closed on the month of September every year.
- Location, – Yala, is located in the southern province of Sri Lanka, which is 300KM away from the Colombo international airport. It will take around 4-5 hours to reach Yala from Colombo airport.
- Cost – The entrance ticket for the Yala national park will cost you 25$ for a person. Additionally, to that, you will need to hire a safari vehicle which will cost you around 25$-35 USD. A safari jeep can take up to 10 people
Wilpattu National Park – Enjoy The Solitude
While you are in Sri Lanka, you may pick Yala as the go-to place for spotting leopards. However, the national park is busy throughout the years. Many visitors go for jeep rides, and it may scare the animals away.
If you want to go to a national park where there are less crowd and more chances of coming in contact with a leopard, visit WilPattu National Park.
It is one of the largest and much-loved national parks in Sri Lanka. There are natural lakes within the park which makes it easy for the leopards to come out for a quick swig of water.
Wilpattu is slightly superior as compared to Yala. As per historical records, WilPattu had more leopard sightings. We wouldn’t be surprised because the leopards enjoy solitude.
Apart from sighting a leopard, you will also come across a sloth bear.
Panthera Pardus Kotiya (leopard) can be spotted during a tour to the national park. Other animals you must watch out for are spotted deer, elephant, wild boars, water buffaloes, grey mongoose, crocodiles, and Python (Indian rock).
- Best Time To Visit Willpattu – From April to September is the best time to visit WIllpattu national park
- Location – The national park is located in the north-west of Sri Lanka. It is located 185KM away from the Colombo airport and will take you four and a half hours to reach there.
- Cost – It will cost you 15$ For the entry ticket in WillPattu, and you will also have to hire a safari vehicle which will cost you 4- 60 USD.
Kumana National Park
When you are in Kumana National Park, keep your eyes and ears open. This is where you can spot multiple species of animals. Tourists have spotted leopards, but they recommend keeping your eyes open for any sighting.
The leopard stays highly alert and active around the watering holes in the Kumana National Park. You may need to look deep into the forest to spot a leopard. Sometimes, they are hiding behind the bushes, and you may spot their sharp eyes.
Of course, there are other wildlife animals, but the leopard is swift, suave, and rare. We say ‘rare’ because it is uncommon to find a beautiful animal like the leopard.
Tourists have also mentioned that they spotted two leopards together during the safari. They were seen crossing the road. The icing on the cake is that leopards are less threatened by human beings if there are less safaris. Although Yala continues to be the
The best way to stay alert and keep your eyes open is to carry binoculars. This way, you can spot the leopards who are relaxing or hiding deep inside the jungle.
- Best Time To Visit Kumana National Park – From March to June is the best time period to visit Kumana national park.
- Location – The national park is located in the south-east of Sri Lanka which is 465KM away from the Colombo international airport.
- Cost – It will cost you 20$ per a person to enter the Kumana national park, and you will also have to pay for a safari jeep which will cost you 45$ to 65$ depending on the service you pick
Few things you should Avoid
- Don’t tease the animals.
- Don’t feed the animals.
- Don’t approach any wild animal up close.
- Don’t get off the jeep.
- Don’t use flash-light cameras.
- Don’t drive too fast or honk.
- Don’t scream/shout as it disturbs the animals.
- Don’t take babies or pets for the trip.
- Don’t play music during the safari.
- Don’t carry alcohol or enter the national park while you are intoxicated.
Few Last Words
We hope you thoroughly enjoyed reading our post on ‘Where are leopards in Sri Lanka’.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation with so much to offer in the name of tourism! The untouched beauty of the forests, the magnificence of luxurious properties, and freshness of food.
If you have made up your mind about visiting the leopards in Sri Lanka, make sure you get in touch with the right tour guides. A safari tour at all the national parks in Sri Lanka should be in your to-do list.
Leopard spotting in Sri Lanka continues to be one of the much-loved activities. If you are not doing it, you are missing the best Sri Lanka has to offer!