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Sri Lanka is renowned for its wildlife and national parks. With more popular names like Uda Walawe National Park, Kumana National Park and Wasgamuwa National Park, less explored options like Lunugamvehera National Park often take a back seat. Established in 1995, the park plays a pivotal role in preserving the catchment area of the Lunugamvehera reservoir, a vital source of water for the region. The national park is also a popular spot for preserving the water birds and elephants in the country. If you are looking to explore the unexplored and embark on a unique wildlife expedition, including Lunugamvehera National Park in your itinerary is non-negotiable.

Things To Do At Lunugamvehera National Park

Activities to experience at Lunugamvehera National Park

Image Credit: Thidas Herath for Wikimedia Commons
The list of Lunugamvehera National Park activities is extensive. From wildlife safaris to nature walks, you get to explore the entire national park at your own pace.
Here’s a detailed look at the diverse activities available at the park:
Wildlife Safari: Lunugamvehera National Park offers guided jeep safaris and evening safaris too, for some thrill and added adventure. The morning safaris are usually perfect for families because the slots are during the mornings and afternoons.
Bird Watching: At present, there are 180 recorded bird species in the national park. So, if you are a bird enthusiast and would love to watch endemic and migratory birds, that’s another one of the popular activities in the national park.
Nature Walks: Beyond the wildlife, Lunugamvehera National Park is one of the least explored national parks, especially on foot. So, if you are one of those travellers who prefer a slower pace and a more intimate experience exploring the national park, spotting wildlife and going on guided nature walks too.
Boat Rides and Safaris: For a unique experience exploring the park’s premises, there are boat rides available on the Lunugamvehera reservoir. These rides allow visitors to explore the reservoir’s serene waters and enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding landscapes.
Photography: When visiting any national park, photography is an integral activity there. The park offers endless opportunities to capture the stunning beauty of both nature and wildlife.

Must Read: Places To Visit In Kandy

Places To Visit Near Lunugamvehera National Park

Once you wrap up your Lunugamvehera National Park activities, it’s time to step out and explore the nearby sightseeing spots.

1. Yala National Park

Yana National Park

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Located near the Lunugamvehera National Park is the Yana National Park. It is one of Sri Lanka’s most frequented national parks and is renowned for its leopard population. There is a diverse ecosystem inside the national park as well, including forests, grasslands and marine wetlands. Beyond leopard sightings, you can stop to admire the different bird species and natural landscapes around.
Distance from Lunugamvehera National Park: 23.9 Km
Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

2. Kataragama

 Kataragama near Lunugamvehera National Park

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Beyond the national parks and wildlife expeditions, Kataragama is a popular sightseeing spot nearby. It is a renowned pilgrimage site popular among Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims. The key attraction is the Kataragama temple, which is believed to be a multi-religious complex. There is an outstanding ancient Buddhist stupa, reportedly built by King Mahasena centuries ago, which is a key attraction for the Buddhist community. Pilgrims also bathe in the Menik Ganga River that flows near the site.
Distance from Lunugamvehera National Park: 21 Km
Timings: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM

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3. Tissamaharama


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A lot closer to the Yala National Park, Tissamaharama, or Tissa, is a renowned historical town in Sri Lanka. It served as the base of operation for the ancient Ruhana kingdom. One of the highlights of this town is the Tissa Wewa, an artificial reservoir built by King Kavantissa. The site is perfect for bird-watching and relaxing. While there, also explore the Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara, a popular Buddhist temple. The nearby Debarawewa Lake is a must-visit site among tourists as well.
Distance from Lunugamvehera National Park: 54.6 Km
Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Best Time To Visit

 Ideal time to visit Lunugamvehera National Park

Image Credit: Mammalwatcher for Wikimedia Commons
Like most national parks in Sri Lanka, Lunugamvehera National Park is best explored between May and September. Due to the sunny and warm weather, most of the animals gather around water sources to quench their thirst.
The positioning of the wildlife inside the national park becomes highly predictable. Most of the jeep safaris will take you through those secluded spots where the chances of spotting wildlife are maximum. It adds to the thrill and fun of exploring wildlife around the national park.

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How To Reach

Image Credit: By Avinash Patel on Pexels
Lunugamvehera National Park is well accessible due to its central location. If you are driving from nearby cities like Colombo or Kandy, you’d need to reach Hambantota, which is the nearest city to the national park.
For tourists travelling from Colombo via road, take the Southern Expressway (E01) towards Matara and then follow the A2 highway towards Hambantota. From Hambantota, continue on the B35 road towards Tissamaharama and follow the signs to Lunugamvehera National Park. If you are travelling on a budget, direct public buses run from Colombo to Tissamaharama. Once you reach Tissamaharama, you can take a tuk-tuk or a taxi to the national park gate.

Further Read: Things To Do In Ella

Lunugamvehera National Park is one of the must-visit attractions in Sri Lanka. Known for its stunning landscape and unique highlights like nature walks and boating, this less-explored national park offers an escape into nature with an enriching travel experience. By visiting Lunugamvehera, you immerse yourself in nature and contribute to the ongoing conservation efforts that protect these invaluable ecosystems. So, on your next trip to Sri Lanka, including this national park in your travel plans is a must.

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Cover Image Credit: Mammalwatcher for Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions About Lunugamvehera National Park

What is the main attraction of Lunugamvehera National Park?

The main attraction is the diverse wildlife, including elephants, leopards, deer, and numerous bird species.

Is Lunugamvehera National Park suitable for families?

Yes, the national park is perfect for a family outing. You can explore the landscapes and spot wildlife on jeep safaris inside the park.

Are there accommodation options near the park?

If you are planning to spend a day or two near the national park to explore the nearby sightseeing spots, you can book your accommodation at Tissamaharama and Kataragama.

Is it possible to see leopards in Lunugamvehera National Park?

While leopards are present in the park, sightings are relatively rare compared to Yala National Park.

How long should I plan to spend at the park?

A full day is recommended to fully explore the park and enjoy a safari and other activities.

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