Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary
The Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary is located between Chilaw and Puttalam, approximately a 1 hour drive from The Mudhouse. For some reason, Anawilundawa is generally unknown of outside of bird watching circles. Indeed, driving past the sanctuary along the main road you would have no idea it was there if you were not pre-informed, despite the fact that it is technically a National Park protected by the Wildlife Department.
What makes Anawilundawa so special is the fact that it sits at a point where three very distinct eco-systems collide. Bordering the coast, Anawilundawa is also flanked by mangroves and fresh water lakes. This results in a huge diversity of resident and migratory species of animals and birds. Indeed, there are over 150 species of birds known to inhabit the sanctuary.
Resident and endemic species can be see all year round, whilst October to April are the best months for catching the migratory species. The sanctuary is also used as a nesting site for many exotic species including the egret, stalk, cormorant, ibis, pheasant tailed-jacana and the purple swamp hen.
A total of 20 species of mammals have also been recorded here, including the Toque Monkey, five threatened species of Slender Loris, Rusty Spotted Cat, Fishing Cat and the Indian Otter. 74 species of butterflies are also known to breed here.
Anwilundawa is great as a day trip from The Mudhouse, especially early in the year when the lakes are full and the migratory birds can be spotted. We usually prepare a packed lunch and leisurely explore the lakes, beach and mangroves, including a trip by boat with local prawn fisherman. Please note, there is an additional charge for this excursion. (Images: courtesy of Paul Tan)