Untamed Kaudulla

Kaudulla National Park is the second largest park of a trio in the North-Central Province. It’s one of the island’s leading destinations for elephant sightings, following Minneriya National Park and Hurulu Eco Park. It can also be accessed through Somawathiya National Park in the east.

This tropical dry mixed evergreen forest with a mixture of abandoned cultivated lands, grasslands and wetlands makes it the perfect place to see herds that call it home. Over 200 Sri Lanka elephants roam the park; they move between the three main parks in the area in search of fresh grass to feed on.

The ideal time to visit Kaudulla would be between August and December as the elephant population reaches its peak, following the famous Minneriya elephant gathering. Surrounded by a collection of reservoirs, streams and canals, at least two-thirds of the park is submerged when the northeast monsoon hits the region. So the best time to visit would be when the water has receded and grass has grown once again.


CAUTION Tread with caution when approaching elephants with calves as anything can trigger aggressive maternal feelings among cows in the herd.

No matter when you plan to visit, elephant sightings are an annual affair as the grasslands are kept lush and rich – thanks to the mighty Kaudulla Wewa, which lies nestled in the centre of the park.

Built in the 3rd century by King Mahasen of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Kaudulla Wewa is one of the 16 great reservoirs he constructed. While history has it that King Mahasen was the brains behind the Kaudulla Wewa, village tales account for a more romantic version where his banished sister built the reservoir with the help of villagers during her exile.

While elephants may be the main attraction at the Kaudulla National Park, 23 species of mammals including deer, chevrotain, wild boar, leopard and sloth bears – also inhabit this vast park. Though leopard and bears are on the list of animals to see, sightings are very rare.

Visitors will be able to sight over 60 avian species including large waterbirds such as the spot-billed
pelican and lesser adjutant, which visit the Kaudulla Wewa. Eurasian spoonbills, grey-headed fish eagles, black-headed ibis, painted storks and openbill storks are common sights around this massive water hole. And peacocks strut across the grasslands while eagles hover over the park in search of carrion.

Compiled by Nicola Jayasundera

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll Up