16 Photos from a Sri Lankan Elephant Safari at Kaudulla National Park

Last Updated on by Jeremy

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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.

If you are looking to go on a Sri Lankan elephant safari, Kaudulla National Park is the place to do it during the months of September to November. What you get here is truly exceptional.

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.

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.

Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
The elephants head to Kaudulla National Park in September, searching for food and water.
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
Take this scene, multiply it by about 4 or 5, and that is what you will be surrounded by.
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
In November there were dozens of babies trailing right behind the parents. How cute!
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
Om nom nom.
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
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.
Sri Lankan Elephant Safari
Gorgeous elephants indeed.
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
The fact that I can consider this a small congregation speaks volumes to just how many were there (hundreds).
Elephants Playing at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
This was a fun show watching these two elephants trying to exert dominance over each other.
Elephants Playing at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
..or maybe they were playing..?
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
Oh, you know, 20 elephants right next to us and that Jeep is totally paying attention to something else.
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
Close-up shot
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
The baby elephants are just so freakin' cute.
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
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.
Close Call at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
My one complaint at Kaudulla is sometimes the guides get too close and it upsets the elephants.
Close Call at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
This one was not happy.
Close Call at Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
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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