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Bundala National Park is in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka, close to Hambantota. Spread across 6,218 hectares, you will find an array of wildlife animals, birds, and flora thriving in the region. The highlight of the national park is the thousands of migratory birds from various areas, such as Siberia, during the winter season. There are ample things to do at the national park, which attracts tourists from all over the globe daily. It started as a wildlife sanctuary and was turned into a national park over two decades later so that the public could witness the rich flora and fauna of the Sri Lankan region.

Highlights About Bundala National Park

The sanctuary in Sri Lanks is home to exotic migratory bird species

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The Bundala National Park is one of the stunning National Parks in the Colombo district of Sri Lanka. Here are some essential things that you need to know before visiting the National Park:

  • The Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka, manages the national park.
  • The park is in Hambantota District’s Magampattu region, where the temperature is around 25 to 27 degrees Celsius.
  • On December 5th 1969, Bundala National Park was initially declared a wildlife sanctuary by the government and then on January 4th 1993, it was declared a national park.
  • The park has a wetland area (also known as the Bundala Wetlands) that was declared the first International Ramsara Wetlands in Sri Lanka on 15 October 1990.
  • UNESCO declared the National Park a man and biosphere reserve in 2005.
  • The Pathiraja area of Bundala National Park is an archaeologically important region due to fossil evidence that reveals human life during the Stone Age.
  • The national park has over 200 bird species, 380 plant species, and 30 mammals. It also houses reptiles.
  • It has about 52 species of butterflies and 32 species of fish.
  • Lagoons surround 33% of the park and have grasslands, dunes, salt marshes, and mangroves.
  • The park has a pavilion for birdwatching, allowing you to spot native and migratory birds easily.
  • The park has a tourist centre and a souvenir shop where you can buy souvenirs for your family and friends.
  • Timings: 6 am to 6 pm, Monday to Sunday

Must Read: National Parks In Sri Lanka

What To See At Bundala National Park

The Bundala National Park has abundant biodiversity even though it is smaller than many other national parks in Sri Lanka.


Spot-billed pelicans are native to the national park

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Bundala National Park has more than 200 bird species, 50 of which are migratory and 150 endemic. The native species include Spot-billed pelicans, painted storks, Sri Lankan jungle fowls, and blue-faced Malkova. If you want to watch migratory birds such as Greater Flamingos and Black-tailed godwits, the best time to do so is between September and March, as they come from faraway destinations.

2. Plants

Katupila is one of the endemic plant species in Bundala National Park

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There are more than 380 plant species at the national park, including 6 that are endangered and 6 that are endemic. The endemic plant species include the Hedge boxwood, Ceylon green wood, Malittan, and Ranawara. Some invasive plants, such as the Kalapu Andara and Cactus, are also present. The park also has several coastal plants, such as the Vishnu granthi, Maha Rawana Rewla, and Muhudu Bim Samburu.

Suggested Read: Hiriketiya Beach Sri Lanka

3. Mammals

 Golden jackal in a sanctuary in Sri Lanka.

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There are more than 30 species of mammals in Bundala National Park. Around 10 to 15 elephants live in the park as residents, while about 50 migratory groups of elephants come to the park at various times. Other mammals in the park include Indian buffaloes, porcupines, toque macaques, golden jackals, leopards, wild boars, sloth bears, Indian hares, giant squirrels, and deer.

4. Reptiles

Crocodiles basking in the sun

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The national park is also home to many reptiles, such as pythons, cobras, mugger crocodiles, water monitor lizards, and estuarine crocodiles at the park. At the park, you can find five turtle species: Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, Leatherback, and Green turtles. You can find these along the Bundala coast of the park. The government has a turtle conservation project in the region.

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Things To Do At Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park offers a range of activities to its visitors. Following is the list of things one can enjoy at the National Park:

1. Birdwatching

The Caspian Terns at the Bundala National Park

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The park is known for being a birdwatcher’s haven, as you can spot a wide range of birds here, from endemic Sri Lankan bird species to migratory bird species. It is recommended to bring a set of binoculars to watch them up close.

2. Safaris

Jeep safaris are popular for touring the Bundala National Park

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Experience the thrill of watching wildlife from a jeep safari at Bundala National Park. Each jeep safari allows up to 7 people and generally takes 3 hours to tour the entire park area. You can opt for a morning or evening safari, as these times are best for spotting birds and wildlife.

Suggested Read: Bentota Snorkeling

3. Lagoon Tours

 The View of Stunning Beach near the Bundala National Park

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Bundala National Park has lagoons, and you can opt for a tour to visit the serene blue lagoons, which will help you unwind. The tours will let you witness the abundant aquatic life at the park, and you can spot various birds, too!

4. Photography

The Golden Hours reflection in the water

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The Bundala National Park is a photographer’s dream; there is so much to capture. There is a lot to see and photograph, from the ravines to the Flamingos, from the vibrant shrubs to the gigantic elephants! The breathtaking landscapes at sunset are just mesmerising!

Suggested Read: National Parks in Sri Lanka

How To Reach

Flamingos in the Lake of Bundala National Park

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You can travel from Colombo by bus to the Hambantota bus stand, 260 km away. Then, you can hire a tuk-tuk to the national park, which is just 16.1 km away. Alternatively, you can hire a cab directly from Colombo and reach the park. This option is more expensive but more convenient, especially if you are travelling with family and kids.

Tips For Visiting Bundala National Park

While visiting the Bundala National Park, the visitors must follow some rules and regulations. Here are some tips you should keep in mind while visiting the National Park

  • Keep your mobiles on silent or turn them off when visiting the park.
  • Do not provoke animals and let them be otherwise; it can be quite dangerous for you.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and always be on alert, as you never know which animal may be lurking nearby.
  • Keep noise levels down. Avoid laughing and talking loudly as it can provoke animals.
  • Follow instructions provided by the guide during jeep safaris.
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke in the national park area.
  • Do not eat or bring anything to eat. This can attract animals, and they can charge you.
  • Bring water with you and stay hydrated, as it can get warm.
  • Book your hotel and tours in advance during peak season as tourists flock during the winter season.
  • Avoid feeding animals at all costs. This can be dangerous for everyone.

Further Read: Elephant Sanctuaries in Sri Lanka

The Bundala National Park offers a fantastic experience for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. It has a rich biodiversity and is home to many flora and fauna. Make sure you visit the park on your trip to Sri Lanka because it will be quite memorable. Don’t miss this birdwatcher’s paradise and the chance to spot the elusive leopards!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bundala National Park

When to visit the national park?

The best time to visit is September to March because you can witness migratory bird species.

Are Bungalow facilities available?

No, there are currently no bungalow facilities available. However, you can enjoy the several campgrounds at the park.

Does the national park have leopards?

The elusive leopards are part of the national park and have been spotted by wildlife enthusiasts.

Which are the hottest months?

The peak summer falls from April to June and it is the worst time to visit the national park. The driest months are February to September.

What is the entrance fee?

The entrance fee is around INR 850. Note that you need to pay extra if you are taking your vehicle. There are other additional charges such as service charges and tax.

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