Wildlife treasures at Kaudulla National Park

by | Nov 19, 2021


One out of Sri Lanka’s 26 National Parks is in Kaudulla, and a safari at this park is the best option for spotting elephants in Sri Lanka. There is a record of over 200 elephants residing at Kaudulla National Park, in addition to monkeys, crocodiles and even a few leopards. Opened in 2002, this is a year-round visitor friendly destination and is surrounded by grasslands.

Because the park is relatively smaller than others in Sri Lanka, the chances of wild elephant spotting and seeing a gathering of elephant herds is higher. Opt for a morning (6.00 am) or early evening (2.00pm) safari at Kaudulla National Park for the best chances of experiencing elephant herd gatherings.

Where is Kaudulla National Park?

Kaudulla National Park is located in the historic city of Polonnaruwa in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. In terms of distance, it marks a 197km reading and can be reached in about 5 hours from Colombo. Because Polonnaruwa is in the Sri Lanka holiday itinerary for many guests, Kaudulla National Park is easily accessible from there and is a must-visit during your stay in Sri Lanka.

Significance of the Kaudulla National Park

In addition to its popularity of spotting wild elephants in their natural habitat, Kaudulla has also been identified as a good destination for bird watching. A safari at Kaudulla National Park entails a fun and bumpy ride through an evergreen forest, offering an adventure of small forest trails.

Main attractions at the park

The Kaudulla reservoir is the highlight of the park, attracting herds of elephants to drink water during the dry season. Elephants from nearby national parks also visit the Kaudulla reservoir during this season to quench their thirst.

Flora and Fauna

Elephants, deer, crocodiles, peacocks and many more bird varieties are what you can expect to see on a safari at Kaudulla.

As per the records, Kaudulla is home to:

  • 24 mammal species including elephants, leopard, deer, small black bears, and monkeys.
  • 25 reptile varieties including crocodiles and monitor lizards.
  • 26 different fish varieties
  • 160 types of bird species, making it a good choice for bird lovers.

When is the ideal time to visit the park?

During the months of July through December, Kaudulla experiences a dry season, which is the best time to visit the park as you can see elephants gathering at the Kaudulla reservoir. The Minneriya National Park is connected to Kaudulla, and elephants move freely between the parks in search of food and water. Whatever time of the day or year you choose to visit Kaudulla, the safari drivers are experienced and will take you to where the elephants are.

What is the safari experience like at Kaudulla National Park?

Usually, a safari at Kaudulla takes about 4 to 5 hours and can be done at sunrise, or at about 2.00p.m. When you book a safari, a very comfortable private jeep will pick you up from your hotel in Dambulla or Sigiriya, take you in and around Kaudulla National Park, and drop you back at the hotel. In addition to the actual park safari, many guests also enjoy the open jeep ride on Sri Lankan roads which is experienced from pickup at hotel to the entrance of the park. Once you are inside the park, be prepared for a bumpy ride and keep your eyes on alert because the driver will point out animal and bird spotting for you.

How to prepare for the safari?

When going for a wildlife safari, it is advisable to wear comfortable clothing; the weather will most often be hot, yet windy. Casual clothing with a pair of shoes and hat is best. Don’t forget to put on some sunscreen to keep your skin safe from the sun’s rays. Binoculars is a must have to get a good view of the animals and of course, a camera to capture those views is a necessity. You also need to carry a big water bottle and some light snacks to keep you refreshed throughout the journey.


If you are a nature and wildlife lover, you will be completely amazed by the experience of a safari at the Kaudulla National Park. From evergreen forests to reservoirs, elephants, crocodiles and birds, Kaudulla gives an all-in-one experience to its guests.