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Being an island nation, Sri Lanka boasts a unique biodiversity, which is well preserved along the varying national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the country. If you are considering visiting one, the Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka, established in 2002, is one of the most popular ones. The primary objective behind recognising this national park came from being a part of the larger elephant corridor that connects Minneriya and Wasgamuwa National Parks. It is predominantly known for its population of Asian elephants, alongside other wildlife experiences. If you wish to indulge in an unforgettable experience witnessing the native Sri Lankan wildlife up close and the flora around, visiting this national park is an absolute must.

Important Facts About Kaudulla National Park

Elephants fighting at Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka

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Here are some of the important facts to know before you visit the Kaudulla National Park


When you look up the exact address of the Kaudulla National Park, it shows “4V6P+78Q, Galoya Rd, Galoya 50150, Sri Lanka.” However, to give you a more precise understanding of the location, the national park resides between two major cities: Polonnaruwa to the southeast and Habarana to the southwest. Additionally, it forms an essential corridor with two other national parks, Minneriya National Park to the west and Wasgamuwa National Park to the south, to create the elephant corridor.

Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka Timings

Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka is open from 06:00 AM to 06:00 PM every day. There are designated slots for morning and evening wildlife safaris.

Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka Entry Fees

The Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka entry fees start from INR 5200 per person for the entrance. If you wish to avail of a jeep safari, that comes at an additional cost. Usually, people prefer to opt for the all-inclusive package that includes the entry fee and the jeep safari, which costs around INR 8900 per person. There are discounts if you are travelling in a group.

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Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka Best Time To Visit

A thrilling view of Monitor lizard

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Although the national park is open to tourists and visitors throughout the year, the best time to visit Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka’s best, is between July and December. This marks the post-monsoon to winter months when the risks of rainfall are minimal, enabling you to explore the national park’s surroundings, go on safaris, etc., without any hassle.

During this period, the water levels in the park’s reservoir, Kaudulla Tank, recede, attracting large herds of elephants and other wildlife to the water sources. The peak elephant gathering occurs between August and October, offering visitors an unparalleled opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in large numbers.

How To Reach Kaudulla National Park In Sri Lanka?

Herd of elephants at Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka

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Reaching Kaudulla National Park is quite simple. Depending on your choice, there are different routes and modes of transportation available. Travelling via road, you must drive to Kaudulla from nearby cities like Colombo via the Kurunegala and Dambulla route. Habarana is the nearest railway station, and Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo is the nearest airport to the national park. Both of these spots are well connected by local transportation, such as taxis, which will take you to the national park.

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Things To Do

Some of the popular Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka activities to indulge in are:

1. Wildlife Safari

Wildlife Safari To enjoy a adventurous day

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What’s the point of visiting a national park if not to embark on a wildlife safari? There are jeep safaris available inside Kaudulla National Park, which caters to all nature enthusiasts. Besides spotting Asian elephants, the safari is also a great way to immerse yourself in the rich biodiversity of Sri Lanka and the ecosystem. Besides elephants, you can also witness a series of other animals, including sambar deer, sloths, wild boar, leopards, etc.

2. Bird Watching

Peacock at Kaudulla National Park

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Beyond the wildlife in the national park, it is also renowned for its bird population. From native birds to migratory birds, there are quite a few different species that you can look out for. Some of the most common ones include kingfishers, herons, egrets, etc. Given the dense flora around and the tall trees and dense forests, you’d need a pair of binoculars to spot these fleeting birds.

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3. Boat Ride

Water ponds at Kaudulla National Park

Image Credit: KR Chrutti for Wikimedia Commons
Paddle boat rides across the reservoir are another unique activity that you can explore in the national park. However, limited tour operators offer this as part of the package. So, if you wish to indulge in a boat ride across the Kaudulla Tank, you’d have to enquire about the same from your tour operator beforehand.

4. Camping

Enjoy camping at Kaudulla National Park

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You can explore night safaris and camping opportunities in Kaudulla National Park as well. These activities add to the fun and experience of being in the dense forests and wilderness, too. So, if that truly excites you, there are available opportunities you can check out with the varying tour operators.

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5. Nature Walks

Spots birds while on your nature walk session at Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka

Image Credit: Chandra Dissanayake for Wikimedia Commons

For the tourists who want a laid-back and serene exploration of the national park without too much of a hassle, consider indulging in some nature walks. It is a fun and chill way to explore the wildlife, ecosystem and unexplored trails that take you through the insides of the national park. Nature walks are often conducted in specific areas where the terrain is safe and where there is a higher likelihood of encountering wildlife.

Places To Visit Near

Exploring the Kaudulla National Park takes time. However, once you are done exploring the national park and setting out on a jeep safari, you can spend the rest of your day visiting the nearby sightseeing spots.

1. Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park near Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka

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No trip to Kaudulla National Park is complete without visiting the Minneriya National Park. It is renowned for its Asian elephant herds that gather around the Minneriya Tank. If you visit during the dry season, you will get to witness the phenomenon called “The Gathering,” which is a unique thing that the elephants do when they are in a herd. During that time, they gather together to drink water, bathe, and socialise. While elephants are the main attraction, the national park is also home to leopards, sloth bears, spotted deer, and various species of monkeys.
Distance from Kaudulla National Park: 6.3 Km
Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM

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2. Polonnaruwa

A stunning view of Polonnaruwa

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Polonnaruwa is an ancient town in Sri Lanka that has received the UNESCO World Heritage Site label, too. Following the fall of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa was the country’s second capital between the 10th and 12th centuries. Not much remains in the town besides the ruins of the temples, stupas and statues. Even those are a treat to witness, though. While you are there, explore the Royal Palace, the Quadrangle, the Gal Vihara and the Parakrama Samudra. Also, there is the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum, which has well-preserved artefacts.
Distance from Kaudulla National Park: 33.2 Km
Timings: 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM

3. Habarana

Harbana near Kaudulla National Park

Image Credit: Chulani Iddawela for Wikimedia Commons

A nearby city from the Kaudulla National Park, Habarana, serves as a base spot for exploring many of the area’s nearby national parks. There are accommodation options available there for tourists who plan on staying for a prolonged period. From Habarana, visitors can embark on jeep safaris to Kaudulla, Minneriya, and Hurulu Eco Park. Besides that, you can also set out on village tours and even visit the nearby Habarana Lake, which is a popular tourist attraction.
Distance from Kaudulla National Park: 26 Km
Timings: 24 Hours

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Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka is one of the most significant markers in the rich biodiversity across Sri Lanka. If you are a wildlife enthusiast and have been planning to witness the famous Asian elephant herd up close, this is the place that you need to visit. Kaudulla promises an unforgettable adventure that showcases the best of Sri Lanka’s natural heritage. So, on your next trip to Sri Lanka, include the Kaudulla National Park as one of the pit stops.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Kaudulla National Park Sri Lanka

What animals can be spotted at Kaudulla National Park?

Kaudulla is home to elephants, leopards, sloth bears, sambar deer, and a wide variety of birds, both native and migratory birds.

How far is Kaudulla National Park from Colombo?

The park is around 210 km from the main city of Colombo.

Can I visit Kaudulla National Park year-round?

Yes, the park is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from July to December.

Is it possible to camp inside Kaudulla National Park?

Yes, camping sites are available inside the national park but you’d need to get a permit from the local forest department.

What is the best time of day to visit Kaudulla National Park?

Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for wildlife spotting.

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