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There were certainly several experiences during my Sri Lanka tourism that had me uttering “wow,” but there was one place where I kept saying it over and over again: Kaudulla National Park.
Kaudulla National Park in Sri Lanka is famous for being home to many animals, but for those visiting in the months of September to November will find the park almost overwhelmed with elephants.
I pick my word choice on purpose there because I do not think there is any better way to describe the scene as you pull up to a group of several hundred elephants congregating in one small area.
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In fact, as words do not do this scene justice, I’m going to let my photos do the talking in this photo essay from my experience.
The elephants head to Kaudulla National Park in September, obviously searching for delicious Sri Lankan food and water.
Take this scene, multiply it by about 4 or 5, and that is what you will be surrounded by.
In November there were dozens of babies trailing right behind the parents. How cute!
Om nom nom.
The scenery at Kaudulla National Park is amazing. It kind of reminds me what the Deadvlei in Namibia would look like if it was green and flooded.
Gorgeous elephants indeed.
The fact that I can consider this a small congregation speaks volumes to just how many were there (hundreds).
This was a fun show watching these two elephants trying to exert dominance over each other.
..or maybe they were playing..?
Oh, you know, 20 elephants right next to us and that Jeep is totally paying attention to something else.
Pick Up a New Camera Today!
The baby elephants are just so freakin’ cute.
This scene would have been just as gorgeous with the two elephants in the front, but I won’t complain that there are at least 12 more in the background.
My one complaint at Kaudulla is sometimes the guides get too close and it upsets the elephants.
This one was not happy.
But, at the end of the day sometimes it is hard to avoid – there are just so many of them!
After visiting numerous elephant sanctuaries around the world, from Africa to East Asia, I had high expectations for Kaudulla National Park. These were blown away and I’m not sure anything will ever come close in the future. Sri Lanka has officially spoiled me for elephant watching.
I’m hoping to return to Sri Lanka one day to find more experiences that make me utter “wow” once more. Luckily for me, I know exactly what it’ll be: leopard spotting in Yala.
I’d like to thank my friends at Cinnamon Hotels for taking me out elephant watching during my visit for the TBC Asia conference hosted in association with the PTBA. As always, all opinions are my own.
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Jeremy founded Living the Dream in 2008 to chronicle his long-term trip around Asia. Since then he has been on two long-term trips, visited 69 countries, and is just getting started. He is now on a Lifestyle Design quest to build businesses to pursue a life of travel.