The Kaudulla National Park is a major national park located in Sri Lanka which is famous as a safari destination to see wild elephants.
Kaudulla National Park is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka close by Habarana and Sigiriya cities. The park is 35 KM away from Polonnaruwa city (45 min drive), 75 KM away from Trincomalee city (1 hr 20 min drive), 80 KM away from Anuradhapura city (1 hr 40 min drive), 120 KM away from Kandy (3 hr drive) and 200 KM away from Colombo (4 hr 45 min drive).
Reaching Kaudulla National Park
The park has one main entrance which is primarily reached by taking the Ambepussa-Trincomalee A6 highway. Habarana city, located just 25 KM away from the park, can be reached easily via public transport by both buses as well as train. From the city, one can avail the services of private transport (tuk-tuk, safari jeep or vehicle) to reach the park without any hassle.
Best time to visit Kaudulla National Park
The best time to visit the park is during the dry period which persists from April to October. However, the park is a year-round destination to see Elephants. It is important to keep track of the ‘Elephant Migration’ to and from the park before you plan your safari trip. Make sure to enlist the services of your guide or travel agent in this regard.
The park, spanning 6,900 ha, has varying topography consisting of hills, lowlands, forest and scrubland. Inside the park is the Kaudulla tank, an ancient irrigation tank with a capacity of 104,000 feet acres. The park is in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, experiencing an annual rainfall of 1,500 – 2,000 millimetres. The park primarily receives rainfall from 2 monsoon seasons, namely the second inter-monsoon from October to November and the north-east monsoon, from December to February. The north-east monsoon is responsible for heavier rainfall, but the second inter-monsoon is characterized by its thunderstorm-type of rain which can be detrimental for any wildlife viewing in open fields.
Flora at Kaudulla National Park
The park is typified as a dry evergreen forest due to its vegetation. Palu (Manilkara hexandra), Satin (Chloroxylon) and Milla (Vitex altissima) trees dominate the population of trees in the forest surrounding the Kaudulla tank.
Fauna at Kaudulla National Park
The park is home to 24 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish and 160 species of birds. The park is famous for its population of wild Sri Lankan Elephants who are present throughout the year (albeit in fluctuating masses). Sri Lankan sambar deer, Sri Lankan axis deer, chevrotain, wild boar, Sri Lankan leopard, and sloth bear are among the other mammal species residing in the park. The park is also reportedly home to the Grey Slender Loris.
Large water birds such as spot-billed pelican and lesser adjutant frequent the Kaudulla tank, while the freshwater Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) reside in the tank (among other fish species). The Freshwater turtles, Indian flap-shelled turtle and Indian black turtle are among the notable reptiles residing inside the park. The park is also home to Fejervarya pulla, a frog species endemic to the country.
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