Hambegamuwa Lake.

The Hambegamuwa district, while nowhere as famous as the neighbouring Udawalawe, is still a great location for naturalists. With hundreds of acres of unspoilt forest and lakes, barring a few small self-sufficient villages, the area is a haven for the endemic species and for avid birdwatchers.

Try and time your visit either shortly after dawn or before dusk – it’s not too hot, and the birds will be in full play.

the lake, the mangroves, the boats

The lake, while man-made during King Mahasena’s time (presumably), boasts natural flora pushing 400 years and a variety of aviary species residing in the mangroves. If you’re going to Udawalawe for some quality elephant time, it might be worth it to drive down about 30 minutes to Hambegamuwa to unwind on the lake. There are also a couple of small hotels in the area, notably the Banyan Retreat which we recently stayed at.

If you’re staying in the local area, you’ll easily find an abundance of fishermen willing to take you for a scenic ride around the lake. They have charming and surprisingly stable canoes that seat 3 in total (one boatman and two pillions). They don’t have a fixed rate as this isn’t a legitimate tour, but I’d say Rs. 500 plus a head minimum for a half hour plus is the lower limit. The fisherman we were lucky enough to get leisurely rowed us about for around an hour and had lots of lovely anecdotes about crocodiles and birds nearby, especially since he knew it like the back of his hand.

If the vernacular is a bit of a challenge for you, ask one of the hotel staff to have a chat on your behalf. Or you can submit to the murky waters of amateur sign language.


We experienced a whole variety of birdlife on our one hour glide around the lake. A point and shoot camera doesn’t really do justice to the vibrancy we saw, but I assume most hardcore enthusiasts do their exploring with hardcore DSLRs. As far as I can recall, we saw the Indian darter, cormoran, yellow bittern, cattle egret, great egret, open bill stork, white ibis, white bellied sea eagle, grey headed fish eagle, Alexandrine parakeets, brown headed barbet, rare crimson fronted barbet, common kingfisher, white breasted kingfisher, malabar pied hornbill, asian paradise flycatcher, red vented bulbul, and Indian robin.


If you’re a fan of birds (the type with feathers), make your way to Hambegamuwa Lake during a Udawalawe or even Yala weekend. If you’re not really a huge birdwatcher, the lake is still totally worth it if you’re in the area or passing through. It’s pure, unspoilt nature, fresh air, and beauty. You’ll also probably meet some supremely unconcerned buffaloes, langurs and crocodiles.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Cinnamon Lakeside’s delicious High Tea spread- 2022

Cinnamon Lakeside has made an exotic appearance at the main lounge, serving a range of


Cooking with the Silvermill Coconut Culinary Range

As a Sri Lankan, can you imagine cooking without coconut? It is a universally accepted

Highlights Kamu

Cheers to The Great Indian Roast at Bombay Borough

By Hashini Pathirana We are all here for a short time and definitely for a

Highlights Kamu

Get Fuel’d with Street Burger’s All New Lunch Menu!

By Shamrina Carim Street Burger has launched an exciting, affordable, and a simple lunch menu

Highlights Kamu

Fine Dining with a Sri Lankan twist

Black Coral at Jetwing Beach, Negombo By Shanali Fdo Bringing the luxury of fine dining


An epic Saturday brunch at Uga Residence

By Shamrina Carim Rare bar + Kitchen is a quintessential significant historical home that is

Highlights Kamu


A Silver Lining at Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts Colombo

Seasonal celebrations centered around Resilience of the Nation   Colombo, Wednesday 30th November 2022: Resilience, a


Kingsbury Colombo launches a “Christmas Carriage of Hope”

The Kingsbury Colombo launched their “Christmas Carriage of Hope”, a festive icon that represents the


PickMe celebrates the launch of PickMe Pass!

PickMe had an exciting event where they celebrated the launch of their new initiative PickMe


Shangri-La Colombo Toasts to Five Years of Celebrating the Colorful Joys of Life

Shangri-La Colombo toasts to five years of celebrating the colourful joys of life here in


Don’t miss these 11 Daraz Deals on Electronic Appliances

Daraz 11.11 Biggest Sale! Daraz, the leading e-commerce platform in Sri Lanka, is all prepped


A Cabin Immersed in Nature

The Latest Addition to Hanthana Eco Lodge Delivers a Transcending Experience Inspired by the wonders


Yamu Guide.

5 Places to watch the FIFA World Cup

By RR It's been a week of toasting wins and drowning sorrows around the globe. 

Highlights Yamu Guide

High Tea Buffet Round Up 2022

By Ruchika Seneviratne The exquisite British tradition of High tea has well and truly cemented

Highlights Yamu Guide

Vegan and Vegetarian Spots around Colombo (October 2022)

By RR This article is dedicated to all the vegans and vegetarians out there looking

Highlights Trending Yamu Guide

5 Things to expect at Nelum Kuluna

By Ruchika Seneviratne It is the ‘Full happening’ place in Colombo right now. It seems

Yamu Guide

7 Cozy Cafés around Colombo (October 2022)

By Rahma Rifkhan Every now and then, we all just need to press pause on

Highlights Yamu Guide

6 Stores to get the iPhone14

By Shanali Fdo Bigger and better than ever Apple has done it again! The talk

Highlights Yamu Guide