Kaudulla National Park is a national park on the island of Sri Lanka located 197 kilometres (122 mi) away from the largest city, Colombo. It was designated a national park on April 1, 2002 becoming the 15th such area on the island. In the 2004–2005 season more than 10,000 people visited the National Park, generating an income of Rs.100,000 from entrance fees. Along with Minneriya and Girithale BirdLife International have identified Kaudulla as an Important Bird Area.
Historically Kaudulla was one of the 16 irrigation tanks built by King Mahasen. Following a period of abandonment it was reconstructed in 1959. It now attracts and supports a variety of plant and animal life, including large mammals, fish and reptiles.
Kaudulla was declared a National park in April 1, 2002 by the Sri Lankan government. This is a unique national park in the sense that the two thirds of the Kaudulla National Park is under water during several months of the year. In addition to the Kaudulla Tank, which dominates the landscape, Kaudulla National Park includes Relapanawa Tank, Olumadu Wewa, Puliyan Kalla wewa, Mineriya-Kanthale Yoda Ela, Aluth Oya and Hatharas Kotuwa Oya.
Kaudulla National Park
The park is also situated on an elephant migratory path (an Elephant corridor) , which makes this park even more interesting. The park sits in between the Somawathi National Park and the Minneriya National Park. The road network of the park is about 16 km, but lack basic visitor facilities. Trackers have to obtain from either Girithale or from Habarana.
Kaudulla National Park can be reached from either Habarana – Trinco road or Habarana – Minneriya Road. Best time to see Elephants in park is the early morning and late evening. Herds of elephants become a common site on the dried lakebed during this time of the day. You can hire a safari jeep from Habarana or from Polonnaruwa. They cost around Rs 2500/- per half day and Rs 4000/- for full day. Vans are also allowed in to the park. They can travel on almost all the tracks.