Sri Lanka: Wasgamuwa National Park

Sri Lanka's Wasgamuwa National Park is located in the districts of Matale and Polonnaruwa and is charaterised by an enormous biodiversity. Learn more about this impressive protected area in the following blog

Travel Guide

Wasgamuwa National Park is located in Sri Lanka's northern central province. The park of about 39,000 hectares is characterized by an enormous biodiversity. Not only large herds of Asian elephants can be observed, but also more than 150 different plant species, 23 different mammal species, 143 bird species and 50 butterfly species are native to the green depths.


Wasgamuwa National Park

Founded in

In the districts Matale and Polonnaruwa in the northern central province of Sri Lanka

approx. 390 km²

Asian elephants, purple-faced langur, sloth bear, water buffalo, chital, Sri Lankan leopard, more than 140 bird and almost 20 reptile species

Best travel time
Especially from February to April and from June to September

The extremely high biodiversity of the park, including the large population of Asian elephants - the beautiful scenery which makes the park also very attractive for trekking enthusiasts


Visiting Wasgamuwa National Park

Location, geography and climate

Wasgamuwa National Park is located in the northern central province, more precisely in the districts of Matale and Polonnaruwa. 100 km southwest of the park is the city of Kandy. An adjacent park is Flood Plains National Park. In the park itself the rivers Mahaweli and Amban flow, which supply the animals with the necessary water reserves. With 470 meters the Sudu Kanda is the highest elevation. The park consists of primary, secondary and riverine forests and grassland.
Wasgamuwa National Park belongs to the climatic "dry zone" of Sri Lanka. That means the average temperature is 28°C and rain falls mostly during the northeast monsoon from October to January. The dry season lasts from July to September.

Flora and fauna

Wasgamuwa National Park is characterised by a high level of biodiversity. More than 150 different plant species can be found in the area, including centuries-old tamarind trees. But not only several plant species are settled in the park, also many different animal species can be observed. The national park is especially known for its herds of elephants: about 150 elephants find shelter in the natural forests of the park. Further mammal types are among other things the purple-faced langur, the sloth bear, the water buffalo or the chital.

In addition, Wasgamuwa National Park is one of the most important bird sanctuaries in Sri Lanka. At least 143 different bird species can be found here, eight of them are endemic, so they only occur in limited areas. 50 species of butterflies adorn the landscape with their bright colours, while 17 species of fish cavort in the two rivers.



The park's biodiversity is fascinating – not only the elephant population of about 150 individuals is worth mentioning, but also the flora of the park with more than 150 species. The area is also an excellent destination for trekking enthusiasts due to its lakes and mountain ranges.

Good to know

  • The name "Wasgamuwa" is composed of the words "Walasa" and "Gamuwa", which translated from Sinhala mean "sloth" and "wood" – however, sloths are relatively rare in the park.
  • Founded in 1984, the national park has made it its mission to provide shelter and protection for displaced wildlife. This took place in the course of the so-called "Mahaweli Development Project", to which three further national parks belong.
  • The entrance fee to Wasgamuwa National Park is 27 US dollars.
  • From the capital Colombo it is about 210 km, a six-hour drive, to Wasgamuwa National Park.

Our blog