Things to do in North Central Province

Our most recommended things to do in North Central Province

Kaudulla National Park: Private Safari

1. Kaudulla National Park: Private Safari

Witness Sri Lankan wildlife up close on this three-hour safari through Kaudulla National Park. Located near the city of Galoya, this park provides ample opportunities to spot majestic elephants and other animals in their natural habitat.   Pass by the reservoir, the lifeblood of the park, which attracts herds of elephants from nearby parks. In addition to elephants, you’ll get the chance to see Sambar deer, Axis deer, chevrotains, wild boar, Asian spoonbills, painted storks, and more. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of leopards or sloth bears in the forest.   As you drive along, admire the green line of trees in the distance, the blue sky, and emerald green grasslands. Breathe in the fresh air and cross an amazing safari off your bucket list.

Day Tour to Wilpattu National Park from Negombo

2. Day Tour to Wilpattu National Park from Negombo

Spend a day at the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka - Wilpattu, which is also among the top national parks and world-renowned for its leopard population. The park is unique to others in the country with its dense country woodland and masses of birds, lying inland from the coast in the Northern Province. Meet your guide at your accommodation in Negombo and begin your journey around 6:00 AM. Reach Wilpattu National Park after approximately 4 hours. Wilpattu is 508 square miles (131.694 hectares) and was declared as a National Park in 1938. The special feature of this park is the large number of Villus (lakes), where you can watch wildlife and many species of birds. Leopards and elephant herds are the most famous animals in the park. Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, Sloth Bear, Mongoose, Crocodile, and Peacocks are also found here. After your safari, enjoy a local lunch at the Puttalam Hotel then return to your accommodation. 

From Negombo: Full-Day Unesco City of Anuradhapura Trip

3. From Negombo: Full-Day Unesco City of Anuradhapura Trip

Declared by UNESCO as a world heritage city, Anuradhapura is regarded as Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the capital of the island for many centuries. Being well known for its cultural and religious value, the city attracts many local and foreign visitors who want to explore the ancient history of Sri Lanka.  See the remains of the Brazen Palace, which was once 9 stories high, and the Sri Maha Bodhi a Bo Tree, which is over 2000 years old and grew from the branch of the very tree beneath which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Visit the ruins of the Ruwanweliseya Dagaba and see the 2nd-century BC shrine, containing the Buddha’s collarbone relic. Explore the Abhayagiriya temple and the Jetawanaramaya dagobas.

Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

4. Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

With the grace of majestic giants and pristine tropical dry forest settings, Minneriya National Park is a perfect spot to spend a few hours witnessing one of the most astonishing wildlife spectacles on earth.  Renowned as a prominent stopover for wandering elephants searching for food during the August and September the dry season, Minneriya National Park attracts up to 300 giants from the neighboring national parks. Enjoy the flicker of monkeys swinging through the branches and search the forest for the sight of majestic elephants, leopards, sloth bears, mongooses, spotted deer, sambar deer, wild buffalo, porcupine and Indian pangolins. Do not miss out on this quintessential safari destination in a strikingly beautiful forest.

From Negombo: Minneriya National Park Safari Tour

5. From Negombo: Minneriya National Park Safari Tour

Your friendly driver will meet you at your hotel in Negombo at 8:00 AM. The park is a 30-minute drive away. Sit back and enjoy the ride and take in some of the stunning landscapes as you head there. At Minneriya National Park you'll enjoy a safari experience by Jeep as you explore the vast expanses of land. The park is famous for its Elephant population and hopefully you'll see many of them roaming by the lakes or exploring the jungles. You'll also likely catch glimpses of Wild Buffaloes, Boars, Spotted Deer, Sloth Bears, and even Leopards and Crocodiles. The park is also home to many amphibians, different kinds of reptiles and birds also. Your guide will point out the extraordinary wildlife to you. After the safari, you'll be taken back to your hotel.

From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

6. From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

After pickup from your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, drive to Dambulla. Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site then spend overnight in Sigiriya. On day two get an early start and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Polonnaruwa. Take a cycling tour through the well-preserved ancient city to see the beautiful stupas or dagobas, moonstones, parks, buildings and stunning statues. In the afternoon, you will be taken to the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya, regarded as one of the Wonders of World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend overnight in Sigiriya.   On day three after leisurely breakfast, visit an archetypal Sri Lankan village. Experience a bullock cart ride, see traditional cultivation methods, enjoy a boat ride and an authentic Sri Lankan lunch at a village house. After lunch, continue to Kandy, stopping at a wood carving center and a spice garden in Matale. Upon arrival, take a city tour of Kandy including a visit to the temple of the sacred tooth relic, upper lake drive, the market square, and more. Spend overnight in Kandy.     After breakfast on the fourth day, you will depart from Kandy and be driven back to your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, or dropped off at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

Wilpattu National Park: 3-Hour Morning or Evening Safari

7. Wilpattu National Park: 3-Hour Morning or Evening Safari

Go on a thrilling 3-hour morning or evening safari adventure in Wilpattu National Park, the largest national park in Sri Lanka. Capture unforgettable sights of a diverse range of flora and fauna, and an outstanding array of wildlife that charms travelers from all around the world.  Explore the stunning scenery and incredibly abundant wildlife overlooking the dazzling dry tropical rainforest and the silver-blue small water pools. Take in the sights of mighty elephants as well as views of spotted deer, barking deer, jackals, sambhar, wild pig, and water buffalo. Apart from the mammals, your safari can guarantee you ample opportunity for spotting incredibly beautiful swamps of butterflies saturated with vivid colors including great egg fly, great orange tip, glad-eye bushbrown, blue Mormon, common Mormon, crimson rose, and more. Thanks to the stunning coastal belt, shallow lakes, dense scrublands, treeless grasslands, and thick forests, catch a variety of wildlife during your safari experience. The small water bodies scattered around the park are a prominent feature that enhances the photographic character of the park, while also attracting a variety of aquatic birds and reptiles.

Wilpattu National Park: Leopard Safari Experience

8. Wilpattu National Park: Leopard Safari Experience

This tour starts with a pickup from the park entrance, where you'll then drive into Wilpattu National Park on a modified game viewing safari Jeep, then start your game drive at the National Park. Wilpattu is situated in North part of Sri Lanka, comprising a range of habitats including scrub jungles, water reservoirs, brackish lagoons, and riverine habitats. Wilpattu has one of the highest leopard sightings in the world. Its elephant heard is about 300. After a bit of exploring, your guide will deliver the picnic lunch to a location where you will enjoy a bite to eat. Unwind for a while after lunch and get ready to enjoy your second round of the game drive. Hop in to the Jeep and start the afternoon game drive by searching for leopards. If you are really lucky, you may be able to witness a few of them during this game drive. In addition to leopards, elephants, as well as mammals such as sloth, bears, black-naped hare, wild buffaloes, spotted deer, sambar deer, anuman, langur or toque monkeys, stripe-necked and ruddy mongooses, wild oar, and golden jackal can be found in Wilpattu National Park. You can also see reptiles like the water and land monitors and marsh crocodile.

All-Inclusive Minneriya National Park Afternoon Safari

9. All-Inclusive Minneriya National Park Afternoon Safari

Begin with an afternoon pickup from your hotel or residence and make your way to Minneriya National Park to begin the safari.  Minneriya National Park comprises about 21,000 acres (8,889 hectares), and contains a vast abundance of wildlife species. Take the opportunity to observe the large herds of magnificent Sri Lankan elephants in their natural habitat at close range. Also, be on the lookout for two rare species of monkey endemic to Sri Lanka, namely the Purple-faced Langur Monkey and the Toque Macaque. Other rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan sloth bear inhabit the park, as well as saltwater crocodiles and Indian pythons, which you may be lucky enough to spot! After a 3-hour safari spotting these various rare animals, your transport will return you to your accomodation.

Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Negombo City Transfer

10. Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Negombo City Transfer

Enjoy a relaxing and comfortable private transfer from Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) to your hotel in Negombo. After landing at the airport, head to the arrivals lobby to meet your driver who will be holding a board with your name on it. If you are unable to locate your driver, a support team is on hand 24/7. Your driver will escort you and your luggage in a comfortable and safe vehicle so all you have to do is sit back and relax during the 1-2 hour journey. Rely on your driver's expertise to travel the safest, most traffic-free route possible. Feel free to let your driver know in case you need to stop for refreshments or emergencies.

Top sights in North Central Province

Other Sightseeing Options in North Central Province

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What people are saying about North Central Province

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 20 reviews

The day was well organised. Transport to and from the park worked well. Our driver, in the park, was knowledgeable about a wide range of the wildlife and sensitive to our interests, meaning we saw and identified over forty species (mostly birds), but including elephant, leopard and sloth bear. A very good breakfast and lunch were provided. We ate breakfast in a peaceful spot with a panoramic view of one of the lakes. Would highly recommend this trip.

Booked this, thoroughly enjoyed - managed to see all the animals listed (except a bear). Lots of driving, but car was clean, comfortable and air conditioned. The company was accommodating and we asked to start at 8am, (instead of 9:30) and this wasn’t a problem.

Lalli (German speaking guide) and Jayasuriya (driver) did a super job. We got to see many places and were able to experience Sri Lankan culture. It was fun, thanks for that.

Incredible Safari, saw lots of animals including leopards, elephants, bear, crocodiles, monkeys and more! Comfortable ride to and from Colombo.

Very friendly driver. Was in plenty of time and communicated via whatsapp which was very convenient. Recommended!