Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s largest national park with an area of 130,000 hectare. It is also the oldest national park which has been reopened after several years of closure due to the armed conflict in the country. A few decades ago it was Wilpattu that was known ahead of Yala for its Leopard population. A unique feature of Wilpattu national park is that the entire park is dotted with large sand rimmed natural lakes known as “Villus”. The Villus collects rain water and tends to attract wildlife especially during the times of drought.
The main draw in Wilpattu is the leopard and sloth bear. It is also one of the better parks to see barking deer. Wilpattu is bounded to the north and south by 2 main rivers, the Modara Gamaru towards the north of the park and the Kala Oya to the south of the park
Wilpattu is not only famous for its wildlife but also for its archaeological and historical importance. About 500 years before the birth of Christ it is believed that Prince Vijaya from India and his followers landed in a place called Thambapanni in the North West corner of Wilpattu and formed the Sinhalese kingdom. There are still many archaeological ruins and stories to be told about this and many other fascinating historical events that took place within the borders of what we now call Wilpattu.