The morning started really early. We needed to be in Wilpattu National Park just after sun-up to hopefully see some elephants, bears or leopards. So we got up at 5AM, woke Jace and got ready to leave. The owner of our guesthouse was already up. We thought he only arranged a driver for us, but to our surprise he was coming with us himself.
Bevary Holiday Home is a nice small guesthouse in Anuradhapura. Harindra, the owner, is a terrific guy who was very helpful to us in planning our trips around town. The rooms he offers are big and clean, with air-con and a hot shower.
Besides Wilpattu, there are many other National Parks in Sri Lanka where you can do safaris. Yala National Park is the best known and most visited, but Udawalawe National Park is a good option to visit with your family as well. Yala and Wilpattu were the first to national parks in Sri Lanka. We chose Wilpattu NP because, as it’s further away from Sri Lanka’s Southern beaches, it’s a bit less crowded and still offers a good chance of spotting wildlife. This safari was definitely one to cross off our bucket list of things to do in Sri Lanka.
On our way to Wilpattu National Park
We got in his car and set off towards Wilpattu National Park, one of the biggest national parks in Sri Lanka. It was about a thirty-minute drive to the entrance of the park where his friend was waiting for us with his pick-up Safari jeep. The car was quite a sight for us, a normal pick-up with three rows of car seats attached in the back and a small roof to keep you dry if it’s raining. We climbed in the back and took off for the park. It was a five-minute drive to the actual entrance of the park. Once there we bought tickets for us, the car and the driver. There were a few other cars there having some breakfast before entering the park. We quickly paid for the tickets and entered the park so we wouldn’t have another car in front of us al the time.
Our first wildlife!
After driving in the park for about five minutes we saw our first “wildlife”, some deer eating in the forest. We took some foto’s and continued our tour. A bit further wildlife spotter Lisa saw an eagle sitting on a branch of a tree. Well spotted Lisa! After we took some nice pictures and Jace had his first close-up look of a big predatory bird, the trip was already a success. Our little world traveler was loving it. We continued through the park with the landscape changing every hour or so. We spotted some beautiful kingfishers and there are wild peacocks everywhere.
Birds, crocodiles and monitor lizards
Some beautiful birds alongside one of the many lakes that are in the park, made us almost miss what was right in front of us. A crocodile was lying just next to the road trying to warm up in the sun that was coming up. All around the park, we spotted small and big monitor lizards sunbathing in a tree or at the side of the road. The driver could stop very close to them and they wouldn’t move. Only when someone came too close, then they would slip away quickly into the grassy sides of the road. After the early wake-up call for Jace he fell asleep in the car so he missed the last hour or so. But our little traveler did fantastic on his first ever safari!
Chamelon and mongooses
When we were almost at the end of the trip when spotter Lisa saw a chameleon sitting on a small tree. No small feat because the pick-up was driving pretty fast! As we were looking at it and taking pictures it changed color. Very cool. Just when we thought we had seen most of the animals we could see there were two mongooses playfully jumping around a tree stump alongside the road, what a cool ending of a nice trip through Wilpattu national park!
We were a bit sad that we didn’t see any elephants, bears or leopards but we spend five really nice hours in Wilapttu National Park. And we saw plenty of animals to make this trip worthwhile!