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Reserves and Wildlife

Sri Lanka’s vibrant culture and bountiful national parks and reserves are a real draw for travellers from around the world. Each month brings a new festival, a celebration, and each city is an attraction in itself. Many of these festivals coincide with peak visiting times and can be combined with experiencing one of the fantastic national parks.

During the dry season, this safari paradise offers tourists an opportunity to see some of the most magnificent animals in their natural habitat. While planning your visit to Sri Lanka you will have to consider the rains, which can be quite unpredictable. Sri Lanka is considered a year-round destination because you can plan around the regional monsoon seasons and visit the region which has the most favourable weather.

Sri Lanka Monsoon Seasons

Sri Lanka has two monsoons, as well as two inter-monsoon seasons. The southwest monsoon season, from May to September, brings heavy rains to the southwestern part of Sri Lanka. Similarly, the northeast monsoon, from December to February, sees heavy rainfall in the northeastern regions of Sri Lanka.

During the first inter-monsoon season, which begins in March and lasts through April, there is a general decline in the rainfall all over the country while the southwestern regions receive varied rainfall. The exception is the southwestern slope, which experiences 700 mm rainfall. Other regions in Sri Lanka, experience a rainfall between 100-250 mm.

The southwest monsoon is followed by the second inter-monsoon, beginning in October and ending in November. There is heavy and widespread rain that can sometimes result in landslides and floods.

The unusual Sri Lankan climate makes it difficult to pinpoint the best time to visit the country, but December to mid-April is generally considered peak season for the best overall weather. The best time to visit Sri Lanka really depends on the region, city, and places in Sri Lanka that tourists are interested in visiting. We have prepared a table that gives the best time to visit the capital cities of each of the nine Sri Lankan provinces.

Best Time to Visit Sri Lankan National Parks

The following table presents the best time to visit some of the top-rated Sri Lankan national parks, game reserves and sanctuaries.

Popular Sri Lankan National ParksBest Month to Visit Sri Lankan National Parks
Bundala Bird SanctuaryOctober To March
Horton Plains National ParkJanuary to March
Minneriya National ParkJanuary to September
Sinharaja National Park/ Forest ReserveJanuary to March. Also, in April, or August to October, under favourable conditions.
Udawalawe National Park SafariThroughout the year, due to favourable climatic conditions. To watch Asian elephant herds and mating, the ideal time is from October to January.
Wilpattu National ParkMay to September during the dry season.
Yala West National ParkJune to September

Best Time To Travel To Sri Lankan Provincial Cities

Capital CitiesBest Time to Visit The Capital CitiesSri Lanka Province
JaffnaJanuary to SeptemberNorthern Province
AnuradhapuraApril to NovemberNorth Central Province
KurunegalaEarly January to February endingNorth Western Province
KandyDecember to AprilCentral Province
TrincomaleeFebruary to AprilEastern Province
ColomboJanuary to March, and November to DecemberWestern Province
RatnapuraJanuary to March, and SeptemberSabaragamuwa Province
BadullaFebruary to March, and June to SeptemberUva Province
GalleDecember to March. January, specifically, for the Galle Literary Festival.Southern Province