Wet season in the dry zone. Paddy planting in full swing. We’ve been to Wilpattu many times – it’s our favourite national park as well as Sri Lanka’s largest – but never before via the back door from the side close to the coast, which is what you do when you stay at the lovely Backwaters Lodge https://backwaterslodge.com/ You start with a short drive along what was once the Puttalam – Mannar road, now ending in a dirt track by a swollen river which you cross by means of a pontoon bridge. Then you pay your park entrance fees on the other side and climb into the jeep which has been reserved for you. Then, as with all wildlife parks, it’s down to luck. On this visit, no elephant or bear though we’ve often seen both in Wilpattu, and only one leopard rather deep in the jungle. But three species of deer, wild pigs, crocodiles, monitor lizards and birds of all shapes and sizes, notably two enormous adjutant storks.
Until we finally reached the centre of the park where they are building a new visitor centre, we did not see a single other jeep. What a contrast to the usual tourist experience of national parks! At Jungle Tide we can arrange itineraries to all kinds of places the tourists don’t often see. Get in touch and we’ll help you have an even more memorable holiday.