Located on the banks of the Dombakola Ella, Godakawela is a tiny village in Sri Lanka’s south. It’s an ideal base for visiting Udawalawe National Park and its elephant orphanage, as well as the photogenic cascade of Kirindi Ella Falls.
Encompassing more than 30,000 hectares along the boundary between Sri Lanka’s wet and dry zones is Udawalawe National Park, which is best explored on a guided game drive. Its forests, grasslands and marshes provide important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants, leopards and sambar deers, as well as endemic bird species such as brown-capped babblers and red-faced malkoha.
To the north of Godakawela is Kirindi Ella Falls, a 116-metre-high cascade that tumbles along a picturesque mountain stream. In local folklore, a flight of stone steps leads to the bottom of the waterfall’s deep pool where a trove of treasure is hidden. Dense woodland surrounds the falls where playful monkeys and native birds can be spotted.
Godakawela is just over an hour’s drive from Ratnapura and 3.5 hours from Colombo International Airport Ratmalana. Buses connect from towns and villages across southern Sri Lanka to Godakawela while the village is small enough to explore on foot.