Natural Reserves and Parks
Minneriya National Park
This is one of the foremost natural reserves in Sri Lanka. Its 8889 hectares are some of the country’s most diverse intact natural systems in a small single protected area, covering hills, patinas and talawas (types of grassland) and a large 3rd century tank. This tank is the magnet for the august/September annual gathering of Asia’s largest concentration of elephants, close upon 300 throughout the year and a rare possibility of spotting the leopard– on the fertile shore area. The parks new visitors centre, 8km east of Habarana junction has an extensive diorama exhibit, covering flora, fauna, history and culture.
Kaudulla National Park
About 10 km north of Minneriya is the park office and museum of Kaudulla national park. The 6656 hectares of dry evergreen, monsoonal forest around Kaudulla tank are a new national park and part of an elephant corridor between Somawathie Chaitya national park and Minneriya. Catamarans can be hired locally for a sail on the tank.
Hurulla National Environmental Park
Just beyond the railway tracks 2 km north of the town on the A6 is a new official secondary entrance to Hurrulla Eco Park – the name a shortened form of Hurulla national environmental park declared open in may 2005, previously better known as Hurulla biosphere reserve is also one of Sri Lanka’s 3 international bio sphere reserves. Its 25500 hectares of tropical dry evergreen forest have been combined with the Anambalandawa forest reserve’s 28500 hectares to compose Sri Lanka’s largest national park.