The Greenery at the Lahugala Kitulana National Park
The Greenery at the Lahugala Kitulana National Park

Sri Lanka is home to several unique national parks. Indeed, they are famous among both foreign and local admirers of nature and wildlife. Among them, Lahugala Kitulana National Park is a hidden treasure. Besides, it is the safest home to the giant in Sri Lanka: the wild elephants.

Not only for elephants, but it is also the perfect home for birds. Because of the pleasing nature and natural habitat, the Lahugala National Park has become the topmost flourishing nature park in Sri Lanka. Thus, it has also become one of the must-visit tourist attractions on this splendid island.  Besides, it has become one of the significant places in Sri Lanka to search, witness, and learn the beauty of the hidden paradise. 

Hence, we thought of enlightening you about this wonderful place. Continue reading!

History of Lahugala Kitulana National Park

At first, the park was just an area of greenery where the animals arrived and went. However, the national park was designated as a prominent wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka on the 01st of July in 1966. Since 1966, this sanctuary has been identified as a protected area for wildlife for years. As a result, the area was upgraded to a national park on 31st October in 1980. Therefore, we can consider this national park to contain a unique history in its growth. At present, the Department of Wildlife Conservation maintains it.

However, owing to the 30 years of war in Sri Lanka, the Lahugala park was closed due to security concerns. Still, at present, everyone can visit this amazing piece of nature any day anytime. 

Besides, Lahugala is an ancient city that belongs to the Kingdom of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the national park contains great significance not only for its endemic nature but also for the cultural significance of the area. Since the national park is situated in the Eastern province of Sri Lanka, there are famous visiting places near this national park. One such is Magul Maha Viharaya which is an ancient Buddhist Temple in Ampara District. It is on the northern edge of the national park. Moreover, the visitors can witness the unique but ancient architectural methods used to build the piece of artwork in Sri Lanka. Therefore, if one visits the national park, one can witness the nearby cultural significance during the same visit as well.

Why should you Visit Lahugala Kitulana National Park?

The Lahugala Kitulana National park is truly a wonder to witness in Sri Lanka. There are various reasons to visit the national park owing to its significance in various aspects. The following sections will enlighten you with regard.

Spend Time with Nature

One of the famous reasons to visit this national park is to spend some quality time with nature. In fact, the presence of wild elephants and varieties of birds have been the prominent aspect that attracts visitors. Also, this is a great place for nature lovers to receive an authentic experience.

Since this place is not very famous, it is not a crowded place. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the solitude with a peaceful mind while witnessing the favorite scenarios of wild elephants playing and musical notes of the birds, this park is the best place to visit and spend some quality time with family and friends.

Home to Endemic Flora and Fauna

This is a tropical dry broadleaf forest that is unique to Sri Lanka. Besides, this national park is home to lots of flora and fauna. Hence, if a person wants to observe the wide array of flora and fauna, this park is the best place to visit and learn about them.

Among the variety of flora, there is Sacciolepis interrupta, a dominant grass species. It is the main source of food for the wild elephants living in the park.

Moreover, the most prominent floral species in the park are as follows.

  • Berrya cordifolia
  • Vitex pinnata
  • Manilkara hexandra
  • Chloroxylon swietenia
  • Golden shower tree

Besides, some of the wildlife species that the visitors can observe here are as follows.

  • Toque Macaque
  • Tufted grey langur
  • Sloth bear
  • Golden jackal
  • Rusty-spotted cat
  • Fishing cat
  • Sri Lanka leopard
  • Wild boar
  • Indian muntjac
  • Sri Lankan axis deer
  • Sri Lankan sambar deer
  • Indian pangolin
  • Indian hare

Moreover, the wetland birds who are present in this park are as follows.

  • Great white pelican
  • Purple heron
  • Painted stork
  • Lesser adjutant
  • White-bellied sea eagle
  • Grey-headed fish eagle
  • Common kingfisher
  • Stork-billed kingfisher
  • White-throated kingfisher
  • Spot-billed pelican
  • Asian openbill
  • Woolly-necked stork

Best Place for Photography 

Of course, this park holds beautiful sceneries that are ideal for photography. In fact, the photographers can always spot the best sceneries of nature and behaviors of the endemic pieces such as mammals, birds, and elephants into their cameras, in this park.

Also, the park encases the Lahugala, Kitulana, and Sengamuwa reservoirs inside its property region, whose waters stream into the Heda Oya. Indeed, having reservoirs around the park is a very significant aspect of photography.

However, the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society has started an initiative to set up an electrified barrier to ensure four towns close to the southern limit of the recreation center. Poaching, logging, fuelwood assortment, grazing are the unmistakable dangers to the existence of the animals. But the authorities have widely considered it and they have brought necessary actions to mitigate the risks to the national park.

So, all these factors together, make Lahugala Kitulana National Park, a must-visit.

The Location and the Climate of the National Park 

The National park is situated in the Ampara district, in the eastern province 300 km away from the western province in Sri Lanka. The climate of the national park is very balanced which makes the visitors attracted.

The yearly rainfall of the area is around 1,650 millimeters. Northern east rainstorms last during the months from November to December and the two dry time periods last from May to October and January to March. However, if you visit the park during the dry season, it is very refreshing to witness the cool and green environment in the national park.

Moreover, the national park has a mix of culture and wilderness. It is because the park contains a historical site inside the area of the park. Neelagiri Maha Seya is a gigantic old stupa that traces all the way back to the first century. It is accepted that the enormous stupa which is 72ft in stature and with a perimeter of 597ft, was worked by King Kavan Tissa (205-161 BC).

How to Visit the Lahugala Kitulana National Park? 

The way for anybody to visit the miracle of Sri Lanka is exceptionally simple. You can either use private transportation methods or public transportation methods.

Most local individuals utilize public transportation. Foreigners likewise can utilize public transportation frameworks that are less expensive. However, the timely availability of public transportation in Sri Lanka cannot be guaranteed. Aside from these transportation methods, anybody can utilize tuk-tuks or taxis from taxi administrations in Sri Lanka.

However, taking a taxi service or going through a private vehicle is the best way to avoid discomfort on your way. You can easily find the location via Google Maps and the landmarks are given on the road. It will be a 6 hours journey from Colombo to the national park. Therefore it is best to start your journey early in the morning.

Important Tips to Know Before Visiting the Park

There are some important tips for the visitors to know before visiting the national park. They are as follows.

  • The best season to visit the national park is from January to March and May to October. In this period, the visitors can witness the amazing sceneries and animals in the park.
  • The park is open from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM every day throughout the year.
  • There is an entrance fee to enter the park. For foreigners, it is around USD 15 for adults and USD 8 for children without the service charges and taxes.
  • Most importantly, the park does not allow vehicles inside the park to protect nature and does not let the habitat living in the park be disturbed. Therefore all the visitors can go on a foot safari while witnessing the splendid nature of the park. 
  • Staying for a few days in a nearby hotel in Ampara makes you witness the real magic of the national park including the behaviors of the animals. 

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Lahugala Kitulana National Park is a full package of tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Although it is a hidden gem, the nature mixed with the cultural value make this park very precious to Sri Lankan people who value their nature and cultural heritage as a part of their lives. Therefore, this is an open invitation to all the nature lovers and animal lovers of both local and foreign people to come and witness the astonishing magic of the Lahugala Kitulana National Park in Sri Lanka. Visit it yourself, and thank us later. Happy and Safe Travelling!