Wilpattu National Park is Sri Lanka’s largest national park, occupying a vast area of land to the west of Anuradhapura. It was closed for many years due to its close location to the frontline during the civil conflict, however in 2009 the glorious 1085 sq. km park was reopened. As you can appreciate conservation wasn’t high on the priority list and therefore the density of wildlife is still poor in comparison with the likes of Yala and Uda Walawe. However, due to its size and low visitor numbers it’s far more peaceful than other national parks in Sri Lanka and there’s still a good range of flora and fauna to be enjoyed. The entrance to Wilpattu National Park is approximately one and a half hours from Anuradhapura so it means leaving from your hotel around 1pm. The 4X4 afternoon jeep safari, with an experienced guide and tracker, starts at 2.30pm. This is a great time of day as wildlife is most active in the cooler hours. The dense pockets of jungle and water ponds are home to a variety of endemic and migratory birds, elephant, sloth bear, wild pigs and also crocodiles. There’s also a number of leopard living within the park, although these illusive creatures are more difficult to spot. Sightings have, however, become more regular in recent months, and on our last visit we did spot one. The afternoon jeep safari ends around 6pm.