Wasgamuwa National Park which is another major wildlife destination of Sri Lanka is situated covering the Matale and Polonnaruwa districts. Situated 225 km away from Colombo, Wasgamuwa is also called ‘Walas Gama’ which translates to ‘bear country’ among the locals. With the Mahaweli River bordering the east side of the park and the Amban River bordering the west side, the total area of the park spans up to 37,062 hectares.
In terms of the wildlife, the major attractions within the park are large herds of Elephants, Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking Deer, Langur and Wild Boar. These herds of elephants normally roam the park in herds as big as 150 most of the time.
Among the reptiles that can be seen around the park, several highly seen reptiles are the water monitor, mugger crocodile, estuarine crocodile and python.
The birdlife at the national park is also a great attraction as around 143 species of different birds are reported at the park. Among these birds, the Sri Lankan Trogon, Racquet Tailed Drongo, endemic Yellow Fronted Barbet, endemic Sri Lanka Spurfowl, White Necked Stork and Lesser Adjutant Stork holds great importance. In addition to that, some other endemic bird species such as the Red-faced Malkoha and Ceylon Jungle Fowl are abundant.
In regard to the topography of the park, it is mostly a tropical dry evergreen forest which is mostly compromised of tall trees. The altitude of the park also ranges from just 76 meters at the river basins to 500 meters at the Sudu Kanda hill.
In addition to the wildlife and bird life, another mind-blowing attraction of the park are the ruins which are estimated to be 1800 years old. These ruins are made up of stone pillars which seems to be of what used to be a palace and also a reclining Buddha statue.
The Wasgamuwa National Park was first declared as a refuge camp to protect the animals displaced by the Mahaweli Project in the year of 1984. Originally named as a nature reserve in the year of 1938, the park was later named a strict nature reserve in the year of 1970.
There is also evidence that this region was used for human habitation during the ancient Sinhala Kingdoms in BC. Remainings of the great canal, Kalinga Yodha Ela which was constructed during the reign of King Parakramabahu also lies within the park.
In addition to that, the region of Yudaganapitiya, where the armies camped during the great battle between King Dutugemunu and Elara is also located within the park.
How to Get There
There are several options to choose from when travelling to the Yala National Park from Colombo and they are by road, bus, train and air.
By Road – The easiest way to get to the park would be by either renting a vehicle to drive or by taxi. The quickest way to get there is via the Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Trincomalee Hwy/Colombo Rd – A6. The duration of the journey would approximately take 5 hours and 35 minutes while the total distance is 241 km. Tour consultants at Epic Sri Lanka Holidays can make arrangements to provide the necessary vehicle facilities for this purpose.
By Train – Polgahawela is the closest railway station to Wasgamuwa. To get to Polgahawela from the Colombo Railway Station it would take approximately 2 hours and 6 minutes. Thereafter, you need to again taxi or drive to Wasgamuwa for 154 km which would approximately take 3 hours and 20 minutes.
By Air – This is the costliest mode of travel to Wasgamuwa. There are several options to select from and both ‘Cinnamon Air’ and ‘Sri Lankan’ offer domestic flights. However, it should be noted that there are no direct flights to Wasgamuwa. For two out of the three options stated below it is necessary to taxi to Diyawanna Oya from Colombo. First two options are to fly from Diyawanna Oya to Kandy or Batticaloa and then drive to Wasgamuwa while the other option is to fly to Sigiriya from Katunayaka and then taxi to Wasgamuwa. The least time-consuming option out of the three is to fly to Katugasthota and then to taxi to Wasgamuwa. Booking arrangements can be made through our travel consultants at Epic Sri Lanka Holidays.
From Kandy – The only available mode of transport to Wasgamuwa from Kandy is by taking a taxi or by driving a rented vehicle. This journey has 112 km between the two cities and will approximately take 3 hours to reach the destination. The route is via Kandy – Mahiyangane – Padiyatalawe Hwy/A26.
From Dambulla/Sigiriya – The only mode of transport available for this route is also by car. From Dambulla and Sigiriya there are 77.2 km and 91.2 km respectively. The total journey will take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour 52 minutes.
The annual rainfall recorded at the park ranges from 1,750 mm in the north of the park to 2,250 mm in the south of the park. This rainfall is mainly from the northeast monsoon during October – February and the inter-monsoonal rains during March – May while the annual temperature of the park ranges around 27 degrees Celsius.
Food and Drink
Most restaurants available for dining in close proximity to Wasgamuwa are situated at Dambulla and Sigiriya. Among the two cities, several known eat outs that offer various local and international dishes are Jaga Food, Perera and Sons Dambulla, Nature Club Guest House and Restaurant, Mango Mango Restaurant and My Burger Family Restaurant.
At the same time, Girithale which is situated further away from Sigiriya also offers several restaurants such as the Bana Leaf Restaurant and the Maha Kithula Tourist Restaurant.
Wasgamuwa National Park Safari – Safari through the Wasgamuwa National Park is one the most exiting and beautiful safari tours you can have. The safari will allow you to see a variety of wildlife and bird life at the same time in addition to the beautiful topography which would definitely leave you some great memories to take back home.
Camping in Wasgamuwa National Park – If you are a wildlife enthusiast looking for a close-up experience of the great wildlife opportunities available in Sri Lanka, Wasgamuwa National Park is among the best parks for you to camp. Your interactions with the flora and fauna of the park will definitely keep you wanting more.
Buduruwayaya Archeological Site – A visit to this Archelogocial site within the park is a must do in your tour of Wasgamuwa. These ancient ruins are of great importance to the Sri Lankan history and will guarantee to leave you mesmerized from the start to the end of the tour at the site.