Kumana National Park

This 357-sq-km park often still referred to by its old name, Yala East, is much less frequently visited than its busy neighbour, Yala National Park. The result is a less ‘zoolike’ experience, although the range and density of animals are also less. Still, it’s not rare to spot a leopard, along with elephants, peacocks, white cobras, wild buff alo and tons of birds. About a dozen bears live in the park, but they’re rarely seen.
The park’s best-known feature is the 200-hectare Kumana bird reserve, an ornithologically rich mangrove swamp 22km beyond Okanda. May to June is nesting season.There have been sightings of Sri Lanka’s very rare black-necked stork, but more commonly spotted, even outside the bird reserve, are Malabar pied hornbills, green bee-eaters, blade-headed orioles and painted storks, among others.

One of the most significant features of the park is the ‘Kumana Villu’ – a 200 hectare natural swamp lake, fed by the ‘Kumbukkan Oya’ through a half mile long narrow channel. It is at this mangrove swamp that many water birds nest in May and June. Regular sightings include such species of bird as pelicans, painted storks, spoonbills, white ibis, herons, egrets and little cormorants. The very rare black-necked stork has also been spotted at the swamp. Besides the prolific birdlife, Kumana is also home to some of the mammals found in the larger YALA NATIONAL PARK (west) park, such as elephants and leopards. The vegetation in Kumana consists mainly of mangrove trees, kumbuk trees and the karan fern, as well as the open marsh area. For bird watching enthusiasts, the park is an ‘absolute must’.

You need to pay Entry fees and aditional fees for your jeep and servicecharge.A mandatory guide accompanies each vehicle. Guesthouses in Arugam Bay can help arrange for a jeep and driver; the going rate is Rs 10,000 for the day.

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