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“Story of Wildlife around King Mahasen's Tank”

Kaudulla National Park
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Private Tour: Kaudulla National Park Safari
Ranked #2 of 15 things to do in Habarana
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Story of Wildlife around King Mahasen's Tank”
Reviewed January 6, 2014

The Kaudulla National Park is vast expanse of evergreen forests inhabited by wildlife and a whopping 160 species of birds! It is accessible from the A6 trunk road that links Ambepussa with Trincomalee. The drive is longer than that to the Minneriya National Park from your typical Habarana lodging and is enjoyable when you go in a team. This park if renowned for its nature as well as its history. Let your imagination take over and your mind listen in to the story of this tank (reservoir) and the story behind it. Virtue of patience and passion for nature would come in handy on this trip.

I would clearly state that you want to be driven safely while not intimidating wildlife at the time of hiring and embarking onto the vehicle. Budget about 2500/= Rupees per head, apart from your vehicle hire if you are an alien to the country. It is advised that you get down at the park entrance and walk to the ticket counter armed with the vehicle number to purchase ticket yourself. Otherwise you run the risk of fraudulent overcharging by your "guide" or driver. This explains why you never receive the ticket when they purchase it. If your party comprises of more than a vehicle, it is recommended you purchase all tickets together as it would bring down the total cost of entrance tickets due to the shared service charge.

The park is incredibly quiet and serene. I would go armed with binoculars and telephoto lens recommended if you are a photography enthusiast. Remember you are not allowed to disembark except in a designated rest area but these are primitive with local men running into the bush to spend a penny. Hydration is recommended and a snack would be nice but ensure it is not in the form of a pineapple or you run the risk of a pachyderm borrowing it!

The long drive after the turn off from the main road (A6) lends you a glimpse of life in the remote hamlets. In the spirit of true ecotourism, please ensure your driver does not speed along this stretch as locals have but the narrow strip of road to share with your jeep!

We saw one tightly knit herd of very short elephants running away from the waterhole back into the bush. They were probably spooked by jeep activity. Most nursing female elephants will be naturally protective of their calves while displaying a defensive attitude towards their space so do not encroach too close to their comfort. This is why they manufacture binoculars and telephoto lenses!

Consider yourself extremely lucky if you spot the leopard or bear. They are shy animals and usually have you on their scope even if you have not spotted them.

This is an ornithologist's paradise. There are devoted wildlife enthusiasts that visit this park on a regular basis while others drive in and out, missing the point!

I would avoid this trip during heavy rains. Enjoy Kaudulla and be sure to share your experience on Tripadvisor!

Visited December 2013
4 Thank Vonfidel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
315 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Great experience!! ”
Reviewed January 6, 2014 via mobile

Easily booked tour outside Cinnamon Hotel $70/p in private Landcruiser - great value! About 30 min drive to the Nat Pk. Some back roads for another 20 min and bang we were in the middle of a gorgeous herd of about 70 wild elephants of all sizes!! Perfect backdrop of jungle one side and plateau lake on the other! We slowly moved out of their way in the vehicle as they grazed and went to the water. There were several other vehicles (30) doing the same as us and they all gave the animals their space with the right amount of respect. At one point a large male did make a good charge at the vehicles at shock point the guides gave them great respect as well. So far rate this #1 experience in Sri Lanka!

Thank Muskoka21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
135 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Love the elephants”
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Great national park. We saw elephants, jackal, some deer , water buffaloes and plenty of beautiful birds.

The evening drive was fun, but the highlight was seeing two bull elephants in musth pushhing each other on the side of the road on the way back.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank mikeinsingapore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Fabulous Park with 100s of Elephants”
Reviewed December 30, 2013

This is not one of Sri Lanka's biggest or best-known parks, but must be one of the best places to see elephants in the whole country. Set up in 2002 it doesn't even appear as a park on older maps -- it is only marked as the Kaudulla Tank (the reservoir) and is located just east of the main Dambulla-Trincomalee road. It is only accessible via registered tour guides in jeeps, but our visit was amazing -- on the lake's extensive grassy flood plain, we saw about 130 elephants in four or five groups and they did not seem disturbed by the many viewing vehicles on the roads. Some were happy to come really close. As well as elephants, we saw monkeys, a fish eagle and a serpent eagle, deer, peacocks and a mongoose running through the grass. Wonderful place to visit to see wildlife, particularly elephants.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Carl G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Beautiful scenery--and elephants!”
Reviewed December 30, 2013

I was originally going to visit Yala, but my schedule changed and my driver suggested here. It is less well known than other parks, which made me a bit nervous. I had a good driver and we arrived about 3:30. It was a Sunday and packed! Fortunately, we had a head start for viewing. I saw an eagle, parrot, some peacocks and a few other birds I didn't recognize. There was a small herd of about 20 elephants, including several babies. My driver said this was an off day as the previous day he saw 70. Nonetheless, we got quite close. We were in a beautiful open savannah setting, with green grass and a big lake in the distance. Lots of storms along the shoreline. It reminded me of an African safari setting. Even though there weren't many elephants, it was a very fun afternoon. We stayed until sunset, which provided beautiful soft light for photography.

Visited December 2013
2 Thank Danmantravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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