Lahugala National Park, Arugum Bay Sri Lanka, East Coast
Sri Lanka’s smallest national park, Lahugala is not far from Arugam Bay on Sri Lanka’s east coast. It may be small, but it is perfectly formed and the wide cover of beru grass in the parks wewas means that it is a favourite feeding ground for the regions 500 strong population of Asian elephant.
Another highlight of the park is that it is one of the rare ones that actually allow you to exit the vehicle and get out on foot, giving you a chance to stretch your legs and explore the nature in closer detail. The water filled wewas house not only the beru grass but also many species of lily, and in turn many insects and birds. The park is also home to a large population of grey langur, wild hogs, spotted deer and a wide diversity of wading birds and raptors.
The park is right off the beaten track, with rarely more than one truckload of visitors in a week. This really adds to the feeling you get whilst here. Sitting on the granite outcrops beside the lily-strewn wewa, watching elephants feed in the distance and the endemic crested serpent-eagle soaring in the skies above… well… not a lot beats it for a nature lover.
The park’s isolated location can mean it takes some effort to get to, but if you are after a bit of peace, nature, elephants and tranquillity, then it is definitely the park for you. Come early morning to see the park’s resident crocodiles basking in the sun, or late afternoon to observe the elephants feeding in the wewas.
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Staying in small places it was possible to really get the smells of the trees and flowers, assail the eye with colour and our ears with the morning bird calls.