Kaudulla National Park is a famous national park on the island situated in the Polonnaruwa district of Sri Lanka which is 197 kilometers away from Colombo. It is a dry evergreen forest that spread over an area of 6656 hectares. History of Kaudulla National Park mentioned that it was designated a national park on April 1, 2002, becoming the 15th such area on the island. Kaudulla national park in Sri Lanka is a bucket-list aspiration for many tourists, which mean the place is an absolutely incredible wildlife spectacle. Historically Kaudulla was one of the 16 irrigation tanks built by King Mahasen. Following a period of abandonment, it was reconstructed in 1959. It now attracts and supports a variety of plant and animal life, including large mammals, fish, and reptiles.
The region receives an annual rainfall of 1,500–2,000 millimeters including rain from the north-east monsoon. The climate of Kaudulla persists a dry period from April to October. Temperature ranges from 20.6 °C to 34.5 °C. Many plant and grass species grow well during the rainy season whilst an abundance of food and water, even in the dry period, attracts a large number of herbivorous mammals to the park.
Animals in Kaudulla National Park
The beauty of Kaudulla National Park mainly consists of a mix of dry scrub forest and grasslands. The tank which dominates the background of the Park is an important a meeting place for hundreds of species of wildlife which popularly includes hundreds of Elephants who come to water at the reservoir, especially during the dry seasons.
The Park was opened in 2002 providing the elephants more expenses in the wilderness, in the process connecting to the elephant corridor between Minneriya and Wasgomuwa national parks to the south. The value of Kaudulla National Park is that the centerpiece of the park, Kaudulla reservoir draws herds of elephants during the dry season. September and October are the best times to visit and enjoy the large herds of elephants of Kaudulla.
Other than the elephants there include 24 species of mammals such as Sambar deer, Axis deer, Monkeys, Wild boar, Chevrotain, Sloth bear and the more elusive Leopard and Grey Slender Loris. Birdlife of Kaudulla was recognized as an important bird area by the Birdlife International, where 160 of species of birds have been identified; some of them are a Spot-billed pelican, Asian spoonbill, Grey-headed fish eagle, Peacock, and the Giant Eagle. However, the photographer’s favorite is the thousands of pelicans flocked together enjoying the water at sunset. Also identified here are 26 species of fish, 25 species of reptiles, Freshwater turtles and endemic species of amphibians.
There are three national parks in the close proximity within that region. They are the Minneriya National Park, the Kaudulla National Park, and the Hurulu Eco Park. All of the three parks have gained immersive tourist attraction through the world over for their large herds of elephants. Generally, each year during the months of July to September large groups of elephants are found in the Minneriya National Park and then they migrate to Kaudulla National Park during the months October to November due to high rains and lakes getting filled up. Then the elephants move on to Hurulu Eco Park for the final leg of their migration during the month of December to January. So, the best time to visit Kaudulla National Park is between July/June and September/December, particularly during September and October when the largest gathering of Elephants can be witnessed. Visitors who tour Kaudulla also have the opportunity to take a memorable paddle boat ride across the reservoir, an excellent means of observing birds at close range.
Safaris in Kaudulla can be done in the morning or afternoon. The afternoon safaris are less busy but it is better to spot elephants. The tour takes about 4 to 5 hours includes a private jeep, park entrance fee, pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in Dambulla or Sigiriya. Going on an adventurous ride through an evergreen forest of Kaudulla national park along the small trails is a great adventure, wildlife enthusiasts can’t reject. June to September being the best time to go on a Kaudulla Safari, the national park offers you the opportunity to go on a paddle boat ride and capture birds at a close range in their natural habitats which increases the tourist attraction of Kaudulla. Visitors can capture this blissful sight with no worries as you are able to take a smooth safari experience.