Lunugamvehera National Park | Cultural Triangle | Red Dot Tours

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Lunugamvehera National Park

Lunugamvehera National Park, which lies between Yala and Uda Walawe national parks, is home to 43 mammals – elephants being the main attraction – including spotted and sambar deer, wild buffalo, giant squirrel, palm cat, three species of mongoose, sloth bear and (although rarely spotted) leopards. 184 species of bird have been recorded in the park, mostly forest birds and water birds by the reservoir – the only endemics you might spot here are the Sri Lanka brown-capped babble, Sri Lanka junglefowl, Sri Lanka woodstrike and grey hornbill. Recently the Marshall’s Iora, which has never been spotted in Sri Lanka before, was seen nesting in the park. There are also a number of amphibians and reptiles in the park, including mugger crocodiles, green garden lizards, water and land monitors, Indian Python, Indian Cobra and Russell’s Viper, as well as many species of frog.

Flora and Fauna of Lunugamvehera

The flora of the park includes different stages of forest succession along the scrub and grasslands. The Chena cultivation has caused degradation of the forest communities to open thorny shrub and grasslands. The dense evergreen in the region forest is dominated by Weera, Palu, Kon, Hik, Kunumella, Kirikon and Kappetiya species. The main species in the grasslands include Illuke and Mayaruthana. The Lanana and Nidikumba are seen in the open scrub vegetation that is abandoned chena cultivations.

Mammals

43 species of Mammals have been recorded; mostly small mammals. Elephants are the main attraction to this park along with the Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, Wild Buffalos, Giant Squirrel, Palm cat, Grey, Brown and Striped-necked Mongoose, Sloth Bear and Leopards are also recorded but very rarely seen.

Birds

184 species of birds have been recorded in the park, this mostly includes forest birds and in the reservoir the water birds. Very recently the Marshall’s Iora, which was never recorded in Sri Lanka before, has been seen nesting in this park. Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Woodshrike, Sri Lanka Brown-capped Babble and the Grey Hornbill are the only endemics you might see here. All other usual dry zone forest birds can be seen during the morning and evenings with midday being extremely hot and humid.

Amphibians & Reptiles

Mugger Crocodiles, Green Garden Lizards, Water and Land Monitors, Indian Python, Indian Cobra and Russell’s viper have been recorded in the park. This is in addition to the many species of Frog.

Accommodation Options

Tissamaharama Resort, Tissa: This Ceylon Hotels Corporation guesthouse occupies a scenic position on the banks of the ancient Tissa Wewa that dates back almost 2,300 years. Located minutes from Tissamaharama town, this guesthouse is a sound base from which to explore the jungle shrine of Kataragama, Bundala, Yala, and Lunugamvehera. Different categories of accommodation are on offer here. Red Dot recommends the New Wing Superior rooms or the Family Suites that are clean, comfortable and have better lake views. Nature lovers will enjoy spotting the numerous species of birds that inhabit the small island in the reservoir, just in front of the guesthouse. (More)

Priyankara Hotel, Tissa: This three-star hotel is situated in Tissamarahama and is in close proximity to the jungle shrine of Kataragama, Yala National Park, Bundala and Lunugamvehera. Wildlife enthusiasts will be particularly taken by Priyankara, which has a restful location close to the Tissmaharama tank. From your private balcony, relax on colonial-style cane chairs and watch an array of birds in the nearby rice fields, as well as the timeless rituals of paddy farming. Priyankara’s facilities will ensure that nature lovers will find no longer have to forego home comforts. (More)

Kalu’s Hideaway, Uda Walawe: A five bedroom eco-friendly hotel, Kalu’s Hideaway is conveniently located just 15-min drive from Uda Walawe National Park and the reservoir. Owned by Romesh Kaluwitharana, the former Sri Lanka wicket-keeper, Kalu’s blends well into the surrounding natural environment with its with saffron colored walls, cool cement floors and open-sided dining and seating area. The hotel offers clean and comfortable accommodation and is currently the best option outside of the Uda Walawe National Park. The Lunugamvehera National Park can also be accessed from here. (More)

Centuria Inn, Embilipitiya: The Centuria Inn is situated close to the small town of Embilipitiya about 30-40 minutes drive from Uda Walawe National Park. The Centuria is a simple two-plus star hotel, with 51 rooms, and is valuable for its basic comforts and close proximity to the national park. It has an appealing natural setting, with the Suriya Kanda range rising beyond Chandrika tank, best appreciated from the swimming pool and outside cafe-bar. (More)

Kulu Safaris: Kulu Safaris are a high-end wildlife company that specialises in mobile luxury camping safaris inside the three major national parks in Sri Lanka; Uda Walawe, Wilpattu and Yala. Kulu offers a wonderful experience that allows you to really savour and enjoy the remarkable beauty of the wilderness. Lunugamvehera can be accessed from Kulus camp in Uda Walawe. (More)

Leopards Safaris: Leopard Safaris is the vision of its owner Noel Rodrigo, a wild life specialist whose knowledge about the Sri Lankan leopard, or kotiya as it is locally known, is second to none. This luxury camping package includes accommodation, all meals, BBQ and snacks, alcoholic beverages, unlimited game drives accompanied by a wildlife specialist and entrance fees to the National Parks. Lunugamvehera can be accessed from the camp in Uda Walawe. (More)

Standard camping with Mahoora: Mahoora Safari Camps, managed by Eco Team, one of the premier wildlife companies in the island, offers camping inside a range of national parks including Uda Walalwe. Mahoora offer two grades of camping: luxury and standard and unlike the other competitors, Mahoora offers one-night stays in the parks which are useful when trying to keep down costs. But a two-day stay inside the parks is still recommended. (More)

Access

There are two routes that can be used, the first being the longer A2 road along the coast up to Hambantota, Tissa, Thanamalvila and then to Lunugamvehera which is about 265km. The other route, which is the short one, is via Ratnapura on the A4 and through Udawalawe, Thanmalvila and reach Lunugamvehera which is about 230Km.

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