Are you seeking a thrilling adventure in the heart of Sri Lanka? Then, Wasgamuwa National Park and Safari should be your only destination. This excellent location offers spectacular natural beauty and the chance to observe various animals in their native habitats. Here is all the information you need to plan an incredible journey.
Overview of Wasgamuwa National Park
Wasgamuwa National Park, located in the Sri Lankan districts of Matale and Polonnaruwa, was designated a national park in 1984. The region now Wasgamuwa National Park was originally a part of the Mahaweli Development Project, a significant irrigation project that began in the 1970s. As a result, a considerable portion of the park’s forest cover was lost, and the native fauna was relocated.
In the late 1970s, environmentalists began advocating for the region to be designated a wildlife sanctuary. Finally, in 1980, following several years of talks, the Sri Lankan government established the area as a protected wildlife sanctuary. The park covers an area of 36,948 hectares and has many flora and wildlife, including elephants, sloth bears, leopards, and over 143 birds.
Also, the park plays a vital role in preserving Sri Lanka’s cultural history. Many ancient temples and ruins are located in this region, notably the Sasseruwa Temple, which dates back to the third century BCE. The park also features several historical irrigation systems, like the Yoda Ela, constructed in the 12th century by King Parakramabahu the Great.
Wildlife in Wasgamuwa National Park
Wasgamuwa National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s diverse wildlife. The park is home to various species, including large mammals, primates, and birdlife.
Wasgamuwa National Park is renowned for its large population of elephants. Visitors to the park can witness herds of these majestic creatures roaming freely, often seen in groups of 20-30 individuals. Elephant sightings are most common during the dry season when they come to the park’s waterholes to quench their thirst.
In addition to elephants, visitors to Wasgamuwa National Park may also spot a variety of other mammals. The park is home to sloth bears, leopards, spotted deer, sambars, and wild boars. These animals can often be seen grazing on the grasslands or hiding in the park’s forested areas.
Wasgamuwa National Park is also home to several species of primates, including toque macaques, purple-faced langurs, and the endemic grey langur. These playful creatures can be seen swinging from tree to tree and feeding on fruits and leaves.
The park’s diverse habitats provide a home for over 143 species of birds, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Bird species in the park include:
- The Sri Lanka junglefowl.
- The painted stork.
- The great white pelican.
- The crested hawk-eagle.
The park’s waterways also provide aquatic life, including fish, turtles, and crocodiles. Visitors can take a boat ride along the Mahaweli River, which runs through the park, to get a closer look at these creatures.
Planning Your Safari Adventure
Planning a safari adventure to Wasgamuwa National Park requires some preparation to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential factors to consider before embarking on your safari adventure.
Best Time to Visit
The months of July and August, as well as the months of January through April, are ideal for going on Safari in Wasgamuwa National Park. During this period, more waterholes are in the park, making it easier to observe wildlife. But, if you prefer to avoid crowds, the off-season from October to April may be a great time.
Wasgamuwa National Park offers a range of accommodation options, including tented camps, bungalows, and guesthouses. Booking your accommodation in advance, especially during peak season, is essential to avoid disappointment. Book Now
Various safari packages are available in Wasgamuwa National Park, ranging from half-day to full-day tours. Private and customized times are also available for those seeking a more personalized experience. When selecting a safari package, consider factors such as the tour duration, the type of vehicle used, and the guide’s expertise.
Clothing and Gear
When packing for your safari adventure, it is essential to dress appropriately for the weather and activity. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, such as cotton shirts and pants, is recommended. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat are also essential. A pair of binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens will help you capture memorable moments.
Rules and Regulations
To ensure the safety of visitors and wildlife, there are strict rules and regulations in Wasgamuwa National Park. Visitors are required to follow the guide’s and park officials’ instructions at all times. In addition, feeding or approaching wildlife is strictly prohibited, and visitors should stay safe from animals.
Fees and Safari Charges at Wasgamuwa National Park
If you plan on visiting Wasgamuwa National Park, you should know the costs and Safari fees that must be paid. Here’s a breakdown of the costs:
1. Entrance fees:
- Foreign nationals: USD 12 per person & Kids USD 6
- SAARC nationals: USD 10 per person & Kids 5
- Residents: LKR 60 per person and Kids LKR 30
2. Jeep safari charges:
- Full-day Safari: USD 150 + (depending on the number of people in the jeep)
- Half-day Safari: USD 75 + (depending on the number of people in the jeep)
Because of the possibility of pricing adjustments, visitors are strongly encouraged to check the official website maintained by the Department of Wildlife Conservation or contact the park directly to obtain the most recent information on the cost of entry. Additional fees are associated with escorted safaris and other activities within the park.
How to Reach Wasgamuwa National Park
Located in the central province of Sri Lanka, Wasgamuwa National Park is accessible by road from several major cities. Here are some of the most common ways to reach the park.
By Car or Taxi
One of the most convenient ways to reach Wasgamuwa National Park is by car or taxi. The park is located approximately 200 km from Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, and the journey takes around 5 hours. You can hire a car or taxi from Colombo or other major cities such as Kandy, Anuradhapura, or Polonnaruwa. It is recommended to book in advance to ensure availability and to negotiate the fare with the driver beforehand.
Another option to reach Wasgamuwa National Park is by bus. Regular buses operate from cities such as Kandy, Matale, and Polonnaruwa. However, this option can be time-consuming and less comfortable than a private car or taxi. Buses may also be crowded and not run on a fixed schedule.
While there is no direct train service to Wasgamuwa National Park, you can take a train to the nearest railway station in Maho, approximately 40 km from the park. From Maho, you can hire a car or taxi to reach the park. In addition, train services are available from Colombo and other major cities in Sri Lanka.
Accommodations in Near Wasgamuwa national park
1. Is it safe to visit Wasgamuwa National Park?
- Yes, as long as you follow the instructions of the safari guides and take the necessary safety precautions, it is safe to visit Wasgamuwa National Park.
2. What is the best time to visit Wasgamuwa National Park?
- The months of July and August, as well as the months of January through April, are ideal for going on Safari in Wasgamuwa National Park.
3. What kind of wildlife can I expect in Wasgamuwa National Park?
- Wasgamuwa National Park is home to a diverse range of animal species, such as elephants, sloth bears, leopards, and over 143 species of birds.
4. What safari options are available in Wasgamuwa National Park?
- Visitors can choose between a jeep or a camping safari to explore the park.
5. How long does a safari last?
- A safari can last up to three hours, depending on your chosen option.
6. What is the temperature like in Wasgamuwa National Park?
- The temperature in the park ranges from 24-30°C (75-86°F) throughout the year.
7. Can I bring my vehicle into the park?
- Yes, visitors can bring their vehicles into the park, but they must be 4-wheel drive vehicles.
8. Is there a limit to the number of visitors allowed in the park?
- Yes, the park has a daily visitor limit of 500 people.
9. Are there any dangerous animals in the park?
- Visitors should be cautious of wild elephants, which can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
10. Can I bring food and drinks into the park?
- Visitors can bring food and drinks into the park, but littering is strictly prohibited.
11. What is the temperature like in Wasgamuwa National Park?
- The temperature in the park ranges from 24-30°C (75-86°F) throughout the year.
12. Is it safe to swim in the park’s water sources?
- Swimming is not recommended in the park’s water sources due to the potential presence of crocodiles.