Anuradhapura
Desert Safaris

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Anuradhapura Desert Safaris

Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

1. 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.

All-Inclusive Minneriya National Park Afternoon Safari

2. 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.

From Negombo: Minneriya National Park Safari Tour

3. 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: Private Minneriya National Park Day Safari

4. From Colombo: Private Minneriya National Park Day Safari

Your tour begins with 8:00 AM pickup. Your friendly driver will meet you at your Colombo hotel and you'll start the 4 to 5-hour journey to the Minneriya National Park by car. Enjoy the ride there and admire the stunning landscapes along the way.  At Minneriya National Park you will enjoy a safari experience as you explore the vast area in a 4x4 vehicle. The park is famous for its wild elephant population and you will hopefully see many of them roaming by the lakes or exploring through the jungles. You might see wild buffaloes, wild boars, spotted deer, sloth bears, and even leopards and crocodiles. The park is also home to many amphibians and different kinds of reptiles and birds. Your guide will point out the extraordinary wildlife. After the safari, you will be transported back to your hotel in Colombo.

Kaudulla National Park: Private Safari

5. 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.

Colombo: 3-Day Cultural Triangle 5 UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

6. Colombo: 3-Day Cultural Triangle 5 UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

Embark on an exciting 3-day tour of Sri Lanka's holiest area, the Cultural Triangle. See 5 UNESCO-listed sites including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, and Kandy. Stay overnight at a hotel in Sigiriya between private-guided sightseeing ventures. Get picked up in Colombo and head to your hotel in Sigiriya via Anuradhapura, the oldest city in Sri Lanka. Imposing Buddhist temples, dagobas, palaces, gardens, and other remarkable structures in the city testify to the grandeur of ancient civilization. Settle in for a good night's sleep at your hotel in Sigiriya. After breakfast at the hotel, leave for Sigiriya rock fortress, home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, and then to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Witness massive stone-cut Buddha statues, dagobas, an audience hall, and much more at the cultural museum of Polonnaruwa. Opt to enhance your experience with a wildlife safari at Minneriya National Park. Spot wild elephants, bears, wild boar, deer, buffalo, monkeys, and maybe even a leopard. Stay overnight in Sigiriya. Depart early for Colombo via Kandy, visiting a spice garden en-route. In Matale, spices and herbs are used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medicine. Hear about this history as you explore the site. The Dambulla Golden Temple and Tooth Relic Temple are sure to add another level of sacrosanctity to your experience. Dambulla hosts more than 150 Buddha statues and a large number of ancient murals. The next stop will be Kandy city. Today Kandy is one of Sri Lanka's most important cities because of the presence of the temple of the sacred tooth of the Buddha. This is the most visited Buddhist temple on the island, frequented by thousands of devotees every day. Return to your hotel in Colombo.

Wilpattu National Park: Leopard Safari Experience

7. 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 300-350. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Anuradhapura Desert Safaris

What are other things to do than Desert Safaris that are worth visiting in Anuradhapura?

Other Sightseeing Options in Anuradhapura

Want to discover all there is to do in Anuradhapura? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Anuradhapura

Earlier this month myself and my wife took a day trip to see elephants at the Minneriya National Park whilst away on our honeymoon. We were delighted with the day we had after being picked up early by Visagen & Lathushan for the long drive to the national park from Colombo. We could not recommend this trip enough and it was made even better with our hosts. They were fantastic throughout the whole day and we will be sure to use them again when we return to Sri Lanka in the future. The trip was good value for money, it is a long day but it was well worth it with the experience that we had. Visagen and Lathushan even took us to see Sigiriya Rock as well which really added to our experience. Thank you ever so much to Visagen and Lathushan for making our honeymoon extra special!!

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.

Enjoyed the safari and managed to see elephants close up - there were over 50! A couple of the elephants charged at the numerous jeeps when they got too close, but the jeep guides seemed able to anticipate this and made a quick getaway! We also saw a hornets nest, monkeys, a giant squirrel, crocodile, eagle, so the trip very worthwhile to see the animals in their natural environment.

We attended the afternoon safari and had the most amazing time. We were fortunate enough to see over 120 elephants, including lots of babies at the watering hole. Jeeps were fantastic for viewing.

saw sooooo many elephants!!! worth every penny! memories for a lifetime