A Herd of Elephants on the lawn by the lake at the Kaudulla National Park
A Herd of Elephants at the Kaudulla National Park

Many people crave tropical weather, beaches, and forests for a much-needed vacation. That’s why Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination all around the world. There are so many things for a tourist to do in Sri Lanka. While many chose to go straight to the beaches, another popular activity to do in Sri Lanka is exploring the natural environment. Sri Lanka is blessed with a thick forest coverage and there are 22 national parks scattered throughout the island for you to explore. Are you wondering which park you should visit during your Sri Lanka tour? Well, this article is on why you should consider visiting the Kaudulla national park. Put Kaudulla national park on your must-visit list and keep reading to gather all the facts that you need to know about the park!

About the Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla Park is an evergreen forest located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife and birdlife. However, the most popular fact about Kaudulla national park is its large herds of elephants. Moreover, the vegetation of this national park portrays the uniqueness of the plant and grass species in the dry zone of Sri Lanka.

However, among the 22 national parks in Sri Lanka, Kaudulla park is the most recent addition. It became a national park on the 1st of April, 2002. As you might know, Kaudulla wewa is a reservoir by King Mahasen (276-303 A.D). It is one of the main sixteen irrigation tanks in Sri Lanka and the national park is the surrounding area of this reservoir.

There’s a cultural triangle in Sri Lanka that covers a land area consisting of many world heritage sites and mainstream tourist attractions. Kaudulla national park is situated at the heart of this cultural triangle. The park is governed by the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan evergreen forests are a sight to the sore eyes. Hence, you will be delighted to experience nature at its best at the Kaudulla national park.

Physical Features of the Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla national park is spread over a land area of 6900 hectares. It receives an average rainfall of 1500 to 2000 millimeters. It can get quite hot there and the highest temperature of the park is approximately 34.5 °C and the lowest temperature is approximately 20.6 °C.

Kaudulla reservoir is always the highlight of the park as there are always various kinds of animals including large herds of elephants in the grasslands surrounding the reservoir. It is actually the focal point for the jeep safaris in the park. However, there are many other water bodies in the park such as Ralapanawa reservoir, Olumadu wewa reservoir, Puliyan Kala wewa reservoir, Minneriya-Kanthale Yoda Ela canal, Aluth Oya stream, and Hatharas Kotuwa Oya. In fact, like 66% of the land area of the Kaudulla national park is covered by water bodies.

Why Should You Visit Kaudulla National Park?

While Kaudulla national park is not the most famous park among the other national parks in Sri Lanka, here are some reasons why Kaudulla park should be a top choice on your bucket list.

  • Its plant life and wildlife
  • Natural beauty
  • Opportunities for jeep safaris
  • Peaceful exploring experience

Need to know more about the above-mentioned delights? Continue reading!

The Abundance of Plant Life and Wildlife

The evergreen forest of the Kaudulla national park has a rich ecosystem. Simply, its forest reserve is a wonderful gift of nature filled with many valuable trees. Large grasslands are a dominant feature in any evergreen forest in the dry zone. Such grasslands are there in this park as well, especially surrounding the water bodies of the park. Besides, chena cultivation can be seen in certain areas of those lands.

When talking about wildlife, the most popular ones are obviously the elephants. But there are also 23 other species of mammals apart from the elephants that can be seen in the Kaudulla national park. Some of them are as follows.

  • Sambar Deer
  • Sri Lankan Axis deer
  • Chevrotain
  • Wild boar
  • Leopard
  • Sloth bear

In addition, the park is also a natural home to a wide array of birdlife. One can spot birds such as the following.

  • Asian spoonbill
  • Grey-headed fish eagle
  • Black-headed Ibis
  • Painted stork
  • Peacock
  • Giant Eagle

It is stated that there are 160 species of birds in the park. As such, there is a wide variety of animal species in the park. These species of flora and fauna add so much value to the Kaudulla national park as a sanctuary.

Natural Beauty of the Park

We, humans, have our original roots within nature. That’s why we try to connect with nature at every possible chance. Sri Lanka attracts thousands of tourists every year for its remarkable natural beauty. Kaudulla national park is also a perfect destination in Sri Lanka to have a much-needed sojourn in the wild. Traveling through the greenery looking at many undomesticated animals in your surroundings will make you feel like you are starring in a documentary film. The gorgeous sceneries of the Kaudulla national park are picture-perfect backdrops for your photographs as well. So, Kaudulla park literally has so much to offer for a tourist and the natural beauty of the park always tops the list.

Jeep Safaris in the Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla National Park provides ample space for an amazing jeep safari experience. The tourists can arrange a safari tour through the bumpy roads amidst the lush greenery to witness the wildlife of the park. Elephants are probably the most popular animal in Sri Lanka. They are the majestic giants of the land. Almost all the tourists who are visiting Sri Lanka make sure to see at least one elephant on their trip. If you like to see hundreds of elephants in a natural setting, Kaudulla national park is just the place for you. There are more than a thousand elephants in this park, from newborn baby elephants to decades-old elephants roaming freely around in groups. They usually gather around the Kaudulla reservoir which is the central point of the jeep safaris. 

Seeing hundreds of majestic elephants in spectacular nature is a sight that you won’t forget in your travel journey. Besides, if you are lucky, you will be able to spot many other animal species during your safari trip.

There are many service providers in the Kaudulla area to arrange a perfect and safe safari trip. They have experienced drivers and professional tour guides to take you around the park and explain all the things that you need to know on your way. While being close to hundreds of elephants can get quite intimidating, there’s actually nothing to worry about as the wild elephants are used to being around safari jeeps and humans. The wild elephants won’t do any harm to you as long as you are not harming them. The safari trip inside the park takes about 3-4 hours, but it is once in a lifetime experience for an affordable price. 

A Peaceful Exploring Experience

Kaudulla, being one of the best national parks in Sri Lanka, is basically a dreamland for a nature lover. But still, it is not a place which is crowded with tourists. There is plenty of space to wander in this huge park away from your usual busyness. Seeing the wildlife is always an added advantage. But the peace and quiet wilderness is such a delightful treat. If you are a photography enthusiast, you can take lots of photographs of the beautiful wild environment. Traveling into nature and exploring the wild is always a good idea. Everybody deserves a peaceful and calming tour into the wild. The Kaudulla national park has its arms wide open to give you just what you need. So, that gives a perfect reason for you to visit this wonderful national park.

Where is Kaudulla National Park Located?

Kaudulla national park is a popular park in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. It is situated approximately 190 kilometers away from Colombo. To be specific, it is located in the north-central province of Sri Lanka. The address of this park goes as Galoya road, Galoya. The nearest main city to the park is the world heritage city of Polonnaruwa. Besides, this land of greenery is a neighbor to the Minneriya national park and many other historic sites such as the Somawathie Chaitiya and Sigiriya. This interesting location of the park provides travelers the opportunity to arrange the perfect tour in order to explore many tourist attractions situated in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.

How to Reach the Kaudulla National Park?

It approximately takes about 5 hours to reach the Kaudulla national park from Colombo. You have to take the Colombo-Trincomalee main road in order to visit the park. There are mainly two access places to the park. One is through Habarana, Hathras Kotuwa, and Galoya junction. There’s another access from Habarana, 45th km post along Habarana-Polonnaruwa road, Rotawewa. You can always use public transportation methods such as taking a local bus or else using the railway to the Galoya junction railway station. If not, it is easy to arrange private transportation from the airport itself too.

What is the Entrance Fee to the Park?

You have to purchase a ticket to enter the park, and the entry fees differ for locals and foreigners. The approximate prices for the tickets are as follows.

  • Entry fees for Sri Lankans – LKR 40 + LKR 300 group fee + 15% VAT
  • Entry fees for foreign nationals – USD 10 + USD 8 group fee + 15% VAT

When you arrange the tour to the Kaudulla national park through a hotel or a safari ride service, usually the entrance fee to the park is inclusive of their fee. These prices can vary along with the other facilities they may provide. However, the prices mostly stay in the range of LKR 3000 to LKR 6000.

Best Time to Visit the Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla national park is indeed a year-round destination. There’s so much to see and enjoy in the park at any time of the year. There are many animals including elephants in the park throughout the year. But the time period between July and December is the best to visit the Kaudulla national park.

In the months of September and October, the famous elephant ‘gatherings’ of the Kaudulla park happen more often. The Minneriya national park is situated in close proximity to the Kaudulla national park. During this time period, elephants from Minneriya park travel to the Kaudulla park looking for food and water as it is the dry season. As a result, you’ll be able to see hundreds of elephants and other wild animals on your safari trip.

The best time of the day for Safari trips is the morning and evening hours. Here’s an extra tip for you. If you travel in the evening after 2 p.m., you’ll be able to see the most number of wild animals and then you can avoid the scorching sun too.

Things to Remember When Visiting the Park

To have a convenient trip to the Kaudulla national park, there are some things that you should keep in mind. You are traveling to an area which gets quite hot and sunny. Therefore, make sure that your attire is suitable to travel in the hot weather. Don’t forget to take your hat, sunglasses and wear sunscreen.

Take a water bottle with you in case you get thirsty. Then, if you can, take a binocular to have proper view of the wild animals. You may get a pair from your safari jeep too. Then, the most important thing is to make sure that your smartphone and camera have enough space to capture all the precious memories that you collect in the park. Don’t forget to keep a count on how many elephants you see on the trip too. All these tips will help make your Kaudulla National Park visit, the most memorable trip on this island.

The Bottom Line

Even though Kaudulla national park is the latest addition to the Sri Lankan national parks, it doesn’t make it any less interesting. Hope this article gives you enough reasons to give it a shot because obviously, this park is so worth giving a shot. So, remember to have an awesome time in the park but don’t distress the wild animals or make loud noises when you are in the park. Also, let’s do our best to keep the park clean at all times. So, give yourself a treat of a lifetime by visiting the Kaudulla national park on your next trip to Sri Lanka. Happy and Safe Travelling!