One of the ideal places to observe wild elephants in their natural habitat Kaudulla National Park is located off the main Habarana - Trincomalee road in the heart of the Cultural Triangle. Sri Lanka’s newest national park - opened in 2002, it established a vital 6656 hectare elephant corridor between the Somawathie Chaitiya and Minneriya National Parks. Spread around the scenic Kaudulla reservoir, it is home to around 250 Elephants (including herds of young males), Leopard, Fishing cat; Sloth bear and Sambar deer. The endangered Rusty-spotted cat is also found here.
One of the key locations that elephants gather to take refuge during the dry season, the Kaudulla tank is one of the 16 reservoirs that make up the extensive irrigation system built by King Mahasen. There are two main access roads to the park, and driving along either of them you will often encounter traffic jams of the wilder kind – large herds of elephants crossing the road, also on their way to the tank.
Although elephants are a fairly common sight throughout the year, the best time to visit the park is between August and December during the ‘elephant gathering’. You can take an organised wild life safari to explore the park and see the elephants, and a catamaran ride on the lake is another attraction to enjoy a closer glimpse.