Herds of Asian Elephants, too little time

Kaudulla National Park is known to have close to 200 Elephants

There is a TON of opportunity to spot wildlife in this teeny tiny country. Sri Lanka is so diverse, its habitats make a good home to lots of wildlife. We visited Kaudulla National Park and spotted bald eagles, colorful birds, and a massive herd of elephants!

This tiny 66.6-sq-km national park is home to over 200 elephants. The herd we spotted appeared very young. A lot of the elephants seemed to be small, maybe under 2-3 years old. Some that were starting to grow small tusks.

It was truly amazing to see so many baby elephants in one place. Everyone seemed to graze close together. Some elephants went for a swim in the nearby lake and some meandered close to the jeeps. Mostly, they followed each other to eat more grass.

Our jeep didn’t need to do much movement. Because the elephant herd appeared to stay in one place, so did the jeeps. It was nice to just drive in a half-moon around them to get a different perspective.

Starting the Kaudulla Safari

Our trip left our hostel (Jungle Vista Backpackers and Resort) between 1pm-2pm and it took us about an hour to reach Kaudulla. We spent 4hrs in the park, which closes promptly at 6pm, and were back at the hostel by 7:30ish.

Entering the park you driver through a forested area for about  15 minutes. An elephant crossed the road 50ft ahead of us which was pretty cool! Eventually you reach a massive open plain and around the corner you’ll see close to thirty elephants chowing on grass near the lake.

Pros and Cons of Kaudulla

The only downfall was that we were far from the elephants, maybe 30-70 feet. This was our first safari so we had nothing to compare to, but we have been told that Asian elephants are smaller than their African counterparts (which we understand to be massive). 

Because of the distance between us and the elephants it was hard to see the soft details of the Asian elephants face. Another bummer was that we shared the viewing with a ton of other jeeps.

A friend from Johannesburg told us he thinks, “Sri Lankan elephants are more beautiful, more elegant, and with softer faces compared to their larger and stronger African elephant cousins.”

I thought that was a gorgeous description of the Sri Lankan elephants.

I hope some of these photos excite you if you are planning a safari to Kaudulla and I hope the information also helps in your trip planning.

Preparing for your Safari

Getting there
1hr by jeep from Sigiriya or 1:15hr from Dambulla

Best time to go
October to March

Costs
Hiring a Jeep: We sorted a jeep with our hostel – it cost 6,000slr for guide/jeep, so with 6 people it was a great way to lower the per person cost
Entrance Fee: 3,000slr per person to enter the park

What to pack
Sunscreen, camera, hat, water bottle

Photos from our Safari

Image of our guide
One of our guides during the safari

Kaudulla elephants

Kaudulla Elephants
Happy elephants with the lake in the background
Kaudulla elephants grazing
Lots of baby elephants in the herd grazing at dusk

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My adventures and ramblings through Europe, Australia, and now back the United States. I generally write from daily inspirations or from random thoughts.

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