Wilpattu National Park which means the land of lakes is located on the northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is situated 180 km North of Colombo and ranges from 0–152 m (0–499 ft) above sea level. The park is 1,317 km2 (508 sq. mi.) (131, 693 hectares) and nearly one hundred and six lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu Park range some of which are connected to each other and some standing in isolation.
Visitor access is currently limited to approximately 25% of the park, the remainder of which is dense forest or scrub. Popular visiting periods span between the months of February and October, although there are a number of private eco-tourism groups that conduct safaris year-round.
Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of "Willus" (Natural lakes) - natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. is among the top national parks world-renowned for its leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population endemic to Sri Lanka.
Tambapanni- the landing site of King Vijaya from India who is wrongfully credited for founding the Sinhala nation is located within the park. The word Tambapanni literally means Copper coloured soil which the area is renowned for. Kudrimalai, or Horse Point, was visited by a subject of Emperor Claudius of Rome in 47 AD, who was blown off course by the monsoon. The local king later sent his own envoys to Rome during the time of Pliny.
The park is visited by many for its authentic forest cover of both foreign and endemic plants as well as the wildlife that it is renowned for. 31 species of mammals have been identified within Wilpattu national park. Mammals that are identified as threatened species living within the Wilpattu National Park are the elephant (Elephas maximus Maximus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), and water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). Sambhur (Rusa unicolor unicolor), spotted deer (Axis axis ceylonensis), mongoose, mouse, and shrew are more of Wilpattu's residents. All the above-mentioned species are endemic to Sri Lanka.
Wilpattu is also a bird watcher’s paradise with many visiting and endemic birds providing candid shots for anyone. The most common reptiles found in the park are the monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis), mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), common cobra (Naja naja), rat snake (Ptyas mucosus), Indian python (Python molurus), pond turtle (Melanonchelys trijuga) and the soft-shelled turtle (Lissemys punctata) which are resident in the large permanent Villus.
The lakeside views with its own flora and fauna, the picturesque dawns and dusks, the water buffaloes, and elephants frolicking in the lakes are only some of the Insta-worthy pictures that you are sure to obtain if you visit this paradise.