Wasgamuwa National Park

Just one of the many parks that serve as an Important Bird Area (IBA) of the country and is also one of the few national parks in Sri Lanka where the public can witness the Asian elephant gathered in large herds. Although overshadowed by the more popular parks, such as the Minneriya National Park and Udawalawe National Park in terms of the population of elephants, the park redeems itself with its sheer size and the abundance of other unique flora and fauna that dwell within it.

Best Known For

  • The Wasgamuwa National Park is famed for being one of the few parks that enable the vast elephant population of Sri Lanka to take refuge in, due to the many watering holes formed by the Mahaweli River. Thus making it quite the treat for the nature lover to witness the sentient beings socialize and mingle with their kith and kin.
  • Although known for the elephant gathering, other endemic wildlife is also known to gather in the hundreds and thousands. Such notable species are the birds that can even rival other parks, such as the Kumana National Park in diversity. Thus making it the perfect setting for the serious bird watcher.

Interesting Facts

  • Wasgamuwa was declared a National Park in 1984, in order to protect and make a refuge for the displaced wild animals during the Mahaweli Development Project.
  • The name of the national park is really the name of an endemic and rare species of mammal that dwells within the park, known as the ‘Walasa’ (Sloth Bear).
  • The combination of Walasa (Sloth Bear) and Gamuwa (a type of wood) was the genesis of the park’s name which eventually was shortened to, ‘Wasgamuwa’ as popularly referred to now.
  • According to the Wildlife Department, the park is known to have around 150 elephants residing within its boundaries, along with a great diversity of other flora and fauna.
  • More than 150 floral species have been recorded in the sanctuary that are of both economic value and aesthetic value.
  • Moreover, the park is home to 23 species of mammals, 143 species of birds, 8 species of amphibians, 17 reptile species and 17 species of fish.
  • Out of the many species of animals that dwell within the sanctuary, many of them are endemic and vulnerable to extinction, as well such as the Sri Lankan leopard and the Sri Lankan sloth bear, making the park an important haven for the sustainability of Sri Lanka’s aesthetic value, along with its diversity of wildlife.
  • Wasgamuwa has quite a historical value to it too, boasting of irrigation tanks and canals built by ancient kings that proved to be the lifeline of their ancient kingdoms.
  • Moreover, it is also believed that an area of the park was a battlefield between two warring kings which possesses ruins of a ‘Chaithya’ (Stupa) that dwarfed the Ruwanwelisaya in size.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The best season to go on a safari adventure here is during the months from November to May when the park is relatively dry, thus enabling the wildlife, especially the wild elephants to gather around the watering holes.
  • The park is open daily from 6.00am to 6.00pm, however, if you are looking to witness the elephants at the watering holes, the evening is considered to be the best time to visit.
  • If you are looking to witness the many bird species chirping their musical notes, then the morning is the best time to visit the national park.
  • Since it is a safari park, there are a myriad of costs that any entrant would have to incur.
  • The first being the service charges and taxes and the second being the hiring of a tour guide and 4 wheel drive jeep to traverse the dirt roads of the park.
  • The best way to avoid such hassle is to arrange a safari through your accommodation provider, which would cover almost all the costs and will pick and drop you back to your lodgings.
  • Make sure you are clad appropriately for a safari and bring some water to quench your thirst, since a safari generally lasts around 3 hours.
  • It is important that you adhere to the tour guide’s instructions, along with the rules and regulations set forth by the relevant authorities.
  • Please refrain from bringing polythene and do not pollute the surroundings.
  • Do not forget to bring your camera too.

The Wasgamuwa National Park may be overshadowed by other sanctuaries in the country, however, its features are certainly not to be underestimated, as it still boasts of natural wonders that are up there with other parks.

The information displayed is provided by Wasgamuwa National Park

Contact info



November - May


Entrance Fee
LKR 1,500

Tickets At


Nature and Outdoors

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