Best Places to See Leopards in Sri Lanka
a Sri Lankan Leopard on a Tree in Yala National Park

Are you looking for the for the best places to see leopards in Sri Lanka? If yes, here is the guide you must read until the end.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean with rich and amazing wildlife. There, you can see many national parks on this tiny island with abundant wild animals. One of the coolest animals here is the Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), a solitary hunter with a spotted coat. Seeing a leopard in the wild is something you’ll never forget, and Sri Lanka has several national parks where these big cats roam free.

This guide will tell you the best places to see leopards in Sri Lanka, perfect for tourists who want to catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures.


1) Yala National Park: The Top Spot to See Leopards in Sri Lanka

Yala National Park is the king when it comes to finding best places to see leopards in Sri Lanka. It is also the second-largest national park in Sri Lanka, and it is located in the southern province of the island. Nicknamed “the land of the leopard,” Yala has the most leopards of any place on Earth! The park has different landscapes, from dry scrubland to green forests, giving leopards a great place to live. Experts say there are 60–70 leopards in Yala, so you have a good chance of seeing one. You can go on jeep safaris with experienced guides who know the park’s five sections. Block 1 is especially famous for leopard sightings. Yala is also full of other wildlife, like elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles, and many kinds of birds.

Best time for leopard safaris in Yala: May to September, during the dry season. The fewer plants there are, the easier it is to spot these shy cats.

Read more about: Safari to Yala National Park


2) Wilpattu National Park: Leopards of the Land of Lakes

Wilpattu National Park, on Sri Lanka’s northwest coast, is another amazing place to see leopards in Sri Lanka. It is the largest national park in Sri Lanka. Unlike Yala’s many landscapes, Wilpattu has big, open plains with lots of lakes (Wilpattu means “land of the lakes” in Sinhala). These lakes and seasonal wetlands make a perfect hunting ground for leopards. Leopards aren’t quite as common here as in Yala, but Wilpattu offers a different kind of safari experience. Wilpattu has the most leopards per square kilometer in Sri Lanka, so any sighting is special. You can also see elephants, sloth bears, and cool birds like pelicans and flamingos here.

Best time for leopard safaris in Wilpattu: May to September, during the dry season.

Read more: Safari to Wilpattu National Park


3) Secret Leopard Spots: Beyond the Usual Parks

Sri Lanka has more parks than just Yala and Wilpattu where you can see leopards, although they might be harder to find. Here are two hidden gems to try:

  • Horton Plains National Park: Up in the mountains in central Sri Lanka, Horton Plains National Park is famous for its breathtaking views, like World’s End, a cliff with an amazing view. Most people wouldn’t think of leopards here, but this park gives them a quiet place to live at higher altitudes. With a good guide on a jeep safari or hike, you might just spot a leopard in the lush green mountains.

  • Kaudulla National Park: This park in north-central Sri Lanka is a paradise for wildlife lovers. The grasslands and scattered lakes here create a perfect home for leopards. While sightings aren’t as frequent as in Yala or Wilpattu, Kaudulla offers a peaceful and less crowded safari experience. You might also see elephants, wild boars, and many kinds of birds here.


Tips for the Best Leopard Safari

  • Timing is everything: The dry season in Sri Lanka, from May to September, is the best time to see leopards. There are fewer plants then, making it easier to spot these shy cats.
  • Go with a guide: An experienced guide is your best friend on a safari. They know the park’s layout and how animals behave, which greatly increases your chances of seeing a leopard.
  • Respect the wild: Remember, you’re a visitor in the leopard’s home. Stay at a safe distance, don’t make loud noises, and only use flash photography with permission.


See a Sri Lankan Leopard: An Unforgettable Adventure

Seeing a Sri Lankan leopard in its natural habitat is a memory that will last a lifetime. Whether you see a majestic male leopard checking its territory or a mother leopard caring for her cubs, the sight is sure to amaze you. So pack your bags, pick your favorite national park, and get ready for a thrilling leopard safari in Sri Lanka!

If you need to plan a safari to see Sri Lankan leopards, then contact Mahaweli Tours and Holidays. As a leading tour agency on the island, we are here to fulfill your requirements.

call/whatsapp: +94777 111553 or email:



(Cover image Credit: Dinupa De Silva)

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