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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 25, 2020
Headline for Top 5 Natural Attractions In and Around Habarana – Adventures Amidst Nature
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 Natural Attractions In and Around Habarana – Adventures Amidst Nature

Providing an ideal base from which to experience the rich natural heritage of Sri Lanka, Habarana has much to offer intrepid travellers. Be it enjoying birdwatching, elephant safaris or guided night walks in an arboretum, there are plenty of nature-based excursions in store.

1

Habarana Lake

Amongst the key natural attractions in Habarana itself is its lake which is a perfect spot for a getaway amidst nature's tranquillity. There is a footpath here for those looking to take a walk around the lake and its environs, while there are some operators that offer elephant rides too; look to choose one which ethically treats these gentle giants. Habarana Lake is also an excellent place for birdwatching; best done early morning or late afternoon, this activity gives you a chance to see some of the 120 bird species that have been recorded here.

2

Minneriya National Park

A short drive from Habarana will bring you to the Minneriya National Park, one of the best places for elephant safaris in Sri Lanka. Resort and hotel options within easy reach of this site will organise thrilling wildlife drives where you can witness these majestic animals; not to be missed is a chance to visit between June and September to catch "The Gathering" which sometimes features as many as 300 elephants congregating together! On your safari, you have a chance to see animals like the spotted deer, macaque, sloth bear, porcupine, wild buffalo and if you're lucky, leopard too.

3

Sam Popham's Arboretum

One of the most unique natural attractions near Habarana is Sam Popham's Arboretum, the only one of its kind in the dry zone. Established by a British naval officer in 1963, this sanctuary is home to diverse flora including various trees as well as flowering and medicinal plants. You can also see wildlife like spotted deer, rock squirrels, porcupines, dragonflies, butterflies and various birds too. Amongst the highlights is a chance to go on a night walk to catch glimpses of the slender Loris; hotels the likes of Habarana Village by Cinnamon organise such guided night excursions which are truly unforgettable.

4

Kaudulla National Park

Another natural sanctuary worth visiting is the Kaudulla National Park which is also known for being a hotspot to witness elephants in the wild; August to December is generally the main period to see these gentle giants here, with the peak months of September and October being when you may spot around 200 elephants. Home to a dry evergreen forest and the Kaudulla Reservoir, the park is also where one may observe wild boars, Sri Lankan axis deer, sloth bears, chevrotains and a diverse range of birdlife too.

5

Hurulu Forest Reserve

Named as a biosphere reserve in the 1970s, the Hurulu Forest Reserve can easily be accessed from Habarana and offers more adventures in the wild. Elephant safaris at the reserve are best enjoyed early morning or mid-afternoon and allow you to encounter these regal mammals. Keep your eyes peeled on the drive for you have a chance to see other creatures too; these include the tufted gray langur, jackal, rusty-spotted cat, toque macaque, Sri Lankan jungle fowl, crested serpent eagle and more.