Sprawled across an impressive 36,900 hectares, the Wasgamuwa National Park in Sri Lanka is a popular safari hotspot and top of the to do list in the region for a variety of reasons. It was declared a national park with the aim of protecting and being a refuge for the wild animals displaced due to the Mahaweli Development Project. The name Wasgamuwa is derived from the words “Walasa” and “Gamuwa” meaning “Sloth Bear” and “Woods” respectively in the Sinhalese language. Wasgamuwa National Park is located in the Matale District, with the nearest large town being Polonnaruwa which is 10km away.
Wasgamuwa National Park is an animal-lover’s paradise. This verdant haven is home to hundreds of species, including spotted deer, leopards, sloth bears, endemic yellow fronted barbet, purple-faced langur, and occupied by winged wonders of a thousand hues. Bordered by the Amban Ganga and the mammoth Mahaweli Ganga, the Wasgamuwa National Park is also best known for its elephant population and bird watching tours. It is protected area for Sri Lankan elephants and an Important Bird Area (IBA) in Sri Lanka. It is said to attract herds of elephants numbering up to 150 especially between the months November to May which remain the best time of the year to visit Wasgamuwa National Park. The weather during this time period is very pleasant as well. During the other months, the elephants tend to prefer the Kaudulla and Minneriya National Parks.
There are many interesting ancient artifacts to be found in Wasgamuwa National Park. The ruins of various structures built by King Parakramabahu I lie scattered throughout Wasgamuwa National Park. It is said that Wasgamuwa National Park is also home to a battleground on which King Ellalan and King Dutthagamani once fought.
During your visit to Wasgamuwa National Park, make sure to walk away with the full experience of everything that this lesser-known national park in Sri Lanka has to offer.