A group of travelers in a jeep observing the elephants in the wild during a jeep safari at the Hurulu Eco Park
Jeep Safaris at the Hurulu Eco Park

Time spent in the wild is always time well spent. If you are an eco freak searching for the best greenery in the world, Sri Lanka is a green paradise that you shouldn’t miss. This tropical island is home to a number of luscious forest reserves. These forest reserves provide a perfect arena for a wide array of flora and fauna. Many of these wild parks are open for tourists to enjoy the beautiful sceneries. Among them, the Hurulu eco-park is a unique ecosystem. The authorities declared Hurulu eco-park as a biosphere reserve in 1977. Since then, this park creates perfect opportunities to have a proper escapade into the wilderness. Here’s all the information you need to know before booking your trip to the Hurulu eco-park!

Physical Characteristics of the Park

Hurulu eco-park is one of the Sri Lankan dry evergreen forests. The park is situated in a landscape that ranges from 90-150 meters above sea level. Further, this park spans through a land area of 25.50 square kilometers. This area used to be a teak plantation earlier but was later transformed into a grassland. There aren’t many water holes such as lakes in the park, but there’s a stream that flows through the land. The authorities designated this park as a reserve to protect the prosperous ecosystem of this environment. At present, it is under the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Why Should You Visit Hurulu Eco Park?

Sri Lanka is an island with many tourist attractions. So, you must be wondering why to choose the Hurulu eco-park over all these locations. Well, it is an amazing intimate park with such great sceneries. Hurulu eco-park has so much to offer for a tourist and here are some such top reasons.

Wide Array of Flora and Fauna

The rich vegetation of the park creates a great habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna. It mainly consists of grasslands but there are huge trees like Burutha, Palu, Satinwood, and Kaluwara in some parts of the park. These trees are native to the dry zone. The grasslands are well-grown thick shrubs like tall Iluk and guinea grasses. Most of these shrubs are grown up to a few feet creating an awesome hideout for the wild animals. The vegetation has made the park abundant with food for its animals as well.

Besides, the Hurulu eco-park is widely popular for wild elephants. However, it provides shelter to many other exotic and endemic animals in Sri Lanka as well. Some such species are Indian star tortoise, Sri Lanka junglefowl, Sri Lanka leopard, and rusty-spotted cat. Furthermore, there are many species of birds and also a few species of raptors in the Hurulu eco-park. Hence, the park portrays Sri Lanka’s natural ecosystems at their best.

Massive Herds of Elephants

As you already know, Hurulu eco-park is most popular for its abundance of wild elephants. If you are lucky enough, you will be able to spot hundreds of elephants at the same time. This important habitat of wild elephants provides temporary shelter to them in some seasons such as in dry and flooding seasons. These elephants migrate from Minneriya or Kaudulla parks to the Hurulu eco-park in search of food. The vegetation in the Hurulu park is a good source of food for these giant beings. So, the park has very appropriate living conditions for wild elephants. Large herds of elephants roaming through the greenery are such a picturesque sight. Your trip to Sri Lanka won’t be complete without seeing the giants of the land. Thus, the Hurulu eco-park is worth a visit to see the majestic creatures in their natural setting. 

Opportunities for Jeep Safaris

The best way to observe the undomesticated animals in the wild is through jeep safaris. Jeep safaris to the Hurulu eco-park are mainly to observe the elephants. One can never get fed up with spotting these incredible creatures of the land. The jeeps usually get close to the elephants in a safe manner. It is such a thrilling experience to have a close encounter with the elephants at their wild home. 

The tour guides will take you around the park focusing mainly on elephant gathering spots. But you can see many other species of wildlife and birdlife as well during the safari. You can get the service providers to arrange these jeep safaris to this park and your hotel or your tour guide will help you with it. This tour to meet the giant elephants will be one of the most memorable experiences that you can get in Sri Lanka. However, if you are especially going to see elephants, then it’s important to check beforehand for the migratory season of the elephants.

Where is Hurulu Eco Park Located?

Hurulu eco-park is in the Anuradhapura district, North Central province in Sri Lanka. To be specific, it is in the Habarana area. The nearest major city to the park is Anuradhapura. You can find it near the Habarana junction in the Colombo-Trincomalee (A6) main road. The location of this park is significant because of its close proximity to many other tourist attractions in the area. Minneriya and Kaudulla National parks, Sigiriya world heritage site, and the Pidurangala rock are in the neighborhood of the park.

How to Reach the Park?

The park is 186 kilometers away from Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. It is easy to take the bus to Dambulla from the Colombo Bastian Mawatha bus terminal and take the remaining distance to the park by taxi. This will take about 4 hours. You can also take the train from Colombo Fort station to Habarana and go to the park from there by taxi. This will take about 5 hours. If not, you can easily arrange private transportation from the airport itself too. If you are not on a budget trip, you can get into a domestic flight from Colombo to Sigiriya and then travel to Habarana by taxi.

The distance between Kandy and Hurulu eco-park is about 98 kilometers. If you are traveling from Kandy, you can find a bus to Habarana from the Kandy Good Shed bus station. A much faster option would be taking a taxi from Kandy city and you will be able to reach the park in 1 hour and 30 minutes. There are tuk-tuks if you want to go to the park from Habarana city.

Best Time to Visit the Hurulu Eco Park

The rainy season is the best time to visit the Hurulu eco-park. During that time, the reservoirs of the nearby parks are filled up and the wild animals including elephants migrate to the Hurulu eco-park. So there will be a lot of wild animals this time. This is mainly during the months of December and January. However, it is best to discuss with your hotel or the tour guide before visiting the park to check whether it is the migratory season. Evening safaris are much loved by tourists as it is easy to spot a lot of wild animals at that hour and the sunset views are just amazing in the park.

The Bottom Line

When you are visiting Sri Lanka, you will probably visit the Anuradhapura district to observe the historical ruins, religious places, and national parks. Among such destinations, you will love Hurulu eco-park too, especially if you are a wildlife enthusiast. It is one of the best places in the country to have an elephant safari. During the rainy season, other major national parks in the area are not that suitable for traveling. Therefore, the Hurulu eco-park would be a great alternative to explore the wild in that season. Nonetheless, you won’t be disappointed by saving a day to visit the Hurulu eco-park during your Sri Lankan tour. Happy and safe traveling!