Some 22km north of Habarana, Kaudulla National Park was established in 2002 to provide another link in the migratory corridor for elephants, connecting with Minneriya and Wasgomuwa national parks to the south, and Somawathiya National Park to the north and east. As at Minneriya, the centrepiece is a lake, the Kaudulla Tank, where elephants collect when water dries up elsewhere. The best time to visit is between August and December, with elephant numbers peaking in September/October (slightly later than Minneriya’s “Gathering”) when up to two hundred congregate at the tank. Outside the dry season much of the park is under water, and elephants can be more difficult to spot. Other wildlife inhabiting the park’s mix of grasslands and scrubby forest includes sambar deer, monkeys and the inevitable (but very rarely seen) leopards and sloth bears, plus a characteristically wide array of bird life.

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