a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
A nice national park that allows you to get away from the crowds at Yala....
I visited this area in December 2016 as part of a private expedition around Sri Lanka.
This park is located adjacent to Yala National Park. However, unlike the drier open grassland and open woodland habitats of that area, this park is dominated more by monsoon forest. There is a large dam created lake on one side, and a river runs through the park.
Because the park is made up more of monsoon forest, wildlife can be harder to spot than at Yala and more open habitat national parks. There are many artificial cement lined waterholes throughout the park, located near the small roads, and these attract wildlife in the drier months. Because of the difficulty of seeing wildlife here, the park is mercifully quieter than Yala.
There are several mammals that can be seen, including the ubiquitous 'Spotted Deer'.
I also spotted a Barking (Muntjac) Deer.
We also stumbled upon a couple of leopards (while we were looking at some birds).
There are several birds of prey to be seen.
As with Yala National Park and Bundala National Park, you are only allowed to explore Lunugamvehera National Park in a vehicle. Most hotels in Tissamaharama ('Tissa' for short) have access to tour companies or their own vehicles that can access the local national parks. These cars are jeeps where the passengers sit in high chairs in the open back tray. They offer great views. Thus, going on a jeep safari around this park is a little bit like an African Safari. There are many hotels in Tissa.
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? The first expedition I am booked to work on after the virus is Micronesia, New Guinea & Indonesia in 2021 with Silversea. Meanwhile I am giving a lecture on the Sunshine Coast (Australia) on the "Sounds of suburban south-east Queensland".