Although a small island, Sri Lanka has a large variety of wild animals. It has the highest density of Asian wild elephants on a square meter and Yala National park, Sri Lanka most famous park, has the highest density of leopards in the world.
Wow! These statistics are really impressive and should convince you to visit Sri Lanka and do a safari in one of their national parks.
But do you know when the best time for safari in Sri Lanka is?
Fortunately, Sri Lanka is a year-round destination. How is that?!
Well, very simple! It has two monsoons and when it rains in the south part on the north is sunny and vice versa.
Yala National Park
Yala National Park is located on the southeastern part of the country. This is the most famous park in the country and the best place to spot leopards.
There are 2 safaris on each day each lasting for 3 hours. The first safari is early in the morning and starts at 6 a.m. and the second one is in the afternoon and starts at 3 a.m.
The park is closed to the public in September and October and open in the other 10 months on a daily basis.
The best time for safari in Sri Lanka in Yala National park is during the dry season from May to August when are the dry season and all the animals gather near water holes and are much easier to be seen.
To fully enjoy the park and the safari you should book at least one night at a location nearby. We strongly recommend you to spend your night at Laya Safari hotel because is close to the main entrance to the park and it has really nice rooms and good food.
Udawalawe National Park
Located pretty close to Yala National Park, Udawalawe is the third park as size from Sri Lanka located on the southeastern part of the island. It is one of the best places to spot wild elephants in their natural environment.
Inside the protected area lives many species of birds and animals, some of them very easy to spot during your safari.
The park is usually not that crowded as Yala National Nations, except for September and October when Yala is closed for the public.
Udawalawe Park is open all year round, but the best time for safari in Sri Lanka in Udawalawe is during the dry season, from May to August. However, bird migration can be seen only between November and March.
For having a more relaxing safari and fully enjoy the experience we strongly advise you to book a night somewhere close to the park entrance. Eliyanth-Udawalawe is one of the best options because of its location and best quality-price ratio.
Minneriya National Park best time for safari in Sri Lanka
Located in the northern part of the country in the Central Province, Minneriya National park is one of the most important gathering points for elephants, especially during the dry season. In the centre of the park there is a huge water reservoir and during the dry season, more than 300 elephants gather around it. It is a vast open plain and the animals are very easy to be seen.
The main downside of this park is the jeep drivers who are sometimes a little bit too aggressive and chase the animals just because tourists want the perfect shot.
As you probably might guess, the best time to visit this magnificent park is during the dry season, from July to October, with August and September being the most important months for tourists.
To be the first in the queue at the park entrance you’d better book a room somewhere close to the park entrance. We chose to stay at Sorowwa Resort. The breakfast was good and the rooms were clean and comfortable. We were really happy with our choice!
The most important things when going to a safari is to have a good driver and a very knowledgeable guide. You can rent a car with a driver for the safari from the areas around the parks, but most of the drivers have very poor English.
We recommend you to book tours with professional guides who can answer all of your questions. That is why the guides below are highly recommended by us:
- Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours
- Udawalawa National Park, – Book Tickets & Tous
- 1-Day Tour of Both Yala and Udawalawe National Park
- Minneriya National Park Safari
All these three parks are a year-round destination. For sure the month indicated by me is the best time for safari in Sri Lanka. Combine your safari experience with a few days at the beach and you will have an unforgettable holiday!