Kumana National Park
Spread over an area of 356 square kilometres, Kumana National Park is a hidden gem for wildlife enthusiasts. This less visited park boarders the Kumubukkan Oya River, the Indian Ocean and hosts a 200 hectare mangrove swamp in the middle of the park called Kumana Villu. It is the swamp which attracts many of the birds you will see in the park with peak months for sightings being May and June. There are 430 bird species comprising of endemic, resident and migrant birds and sightings are possible of rare breeds such as the Black-necked Stork, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Lesser Adjutant, Malabar Trogon, Eurasian Spoonbill and the Great Thick-knee. Sightings of reptiles are also incredibly good here with the chance of seeing a number of threatened wetland species including the Mugger Crocodile and three turtle species; the Green Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle and the Olive Ridley Turtle. Other than an array of mammals from jackals to deer, elephant sightings are very good here along with an almost guaranteed view of at least one leopard. For those who are lucky, a glimpse of the elusive sloth bear is also possible.
Kumana also has an important part to play in ancient civilization dating back to 1st and 2nd Centuries BC. In certain areas of the parks ancient caves and statues can be found. Every year, a pilgrimage of tens of thousands of devotees take the traditional Pada Yatra from Jaffna to the Hindu Temple of Kataragama. This starts in May and the walk takes 2 months. It is a sight to see!