Bundala National Park

sights / Parks & gardens

Bundala National Park information

Bundala National Park , Sri Lanka
Address
Street entrance west of 251km marker
Prices
adult/child US$10/5, plus per vehicle Rs 250, service charge per group US$8, VAT 12%
Opening hours
6am-6pm, last entrance 4.30pm
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Lonely Planet review

Bundala National Park is a fantastic maze of waterways, lagoons and dunes that glitter like gold in the dying evening sun. This wonderland provides a home to thousands of colourful birds ranging from diminutive little bee-eaters to grotesque open-billed stalks. It is a wetland sanctuary of such importance that it has been recognised under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

It shelters some 150 species of birds within its 62-sq-km area, with many journeying from Siberia and the Rann of Kutch in India to winter here, arriving between August and April. It’s also a winter home to the greater flamingo, and up to 2000 have been recorded here at one time. If you’re a birder, you’ll want to devote a lot of time to this park.

If you’re a glamour puss after elephants, leopards and all the other big mammals, then you will be pleased to hear that Bundala National Park also has a small but very visible population of elephants (between 25 and 60 depending on the season), as well as civets, giant squirrels and lots of crocodiles. Between October and January, four of Sri Lanka’s five species of marine turtles (olive ridley, green, leatherback and loggerhead) lay their eggs on the coast.

Bundala stretches nearly 20km along a coastal strip between Kirinda and Ham­bantota. Access is easiest from Tissamaharama and Kirinda. Bundala is open year-round, so allowing wildlife junkies to get a wet season fix. There’s an excellent new visitors centre at the main gate.