At Sri Lanka Travel Advices, we’ve spent the last decade discovering the loveliest destinations on the island. Whatever that means to you, be it sun kissed beaches, mist dappled mountains or quiet forest havens, we’ve got you covered! Our expertise is unchallenged, just like the immersing experiences we offer. And on that note, there really is no other island like Sri Lanka for some action-packed wildlife adventure. A few favorite spots include Yala, Horton Plains and even the Sinharaja. But if it’s safari rides and elephants you’re after, then Udawalawe National Park is where the magic happens.
A cherished stop among animal lovers all over the world, this wildlife reserve is a quiet, open paradise promising the most unusual surprises. Say hello to large bush forests that melt into golden grasslands, slow rippling silver pools and fabulous sights that will make you drool.
The Udawalawe National Park is 180 Km away from Colombo. Take the A-18 road that bridges Pelmadulla and Timbolketiya and you’ll find the entrance just off the 11Km post that’s between Timbolketiya and Tanamalwila.
Well, for starters, this is the sixth largest wildlife reserve on the island. Your chances of peeking at large predators and elephants here are prime. Also, you’ll find huge plains and open grassy fields where the views are heavenly and undisturbed. Reptiles swarm the water pools and crawl across the forest floors, while more exotic animal species wait around every corner.
If you’re a globe trotter, you’ll most likely associate Udawalawe with the open dry terrains and bush lands of Africa. The sunsets are just irresistible and magical, so do remember to pack your camera! The place is hot and pretty dry for the most part of the year, but the parks’ grass beds also serve as a key catchment area used for sustaining both animal and human life.
Another fun fact that might interest you; the reserve runs an elephant orphanage inside the park’s borders. This program, known as the Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home cares for about 40 elephants found orphaned in the wild. This development has enabled abandoned and injured elephants to receive the love and support they deserve before being released back into the reserve.
We did mention the elephants; well, you’ll find whole herds of them traipsing around the park. There are about 500 of these beauties in the park, roaming in packs of about 100 each. You’ll also find water buffaloes lazily blinking in water pools and wary foxes checking you out from the shadows. There’re also lots of wild boar roaming around, so do stay on your guard. Also, keep an eye out for the large crocs and monitor lizards that like to chill around the pools and reservoirs.
You’re also sure to see lots and lots of spotted and sambar deer here. As for the big cats, leopards mostly like to stay hidden in the deepest corners of the park. But hey you never know, you might just get lucky! Anyways, there are lots of jungle cats, fishing cats and even gray langers for you to see here.
Udawalawe National Park is also the ideal spot for some excellent bird watching and photography. Jungle fowls prowl the reserve’s lower reaches, while various species of pelicans, hornbills and cormorants rule the canopies above. You’ll also see different types of storks, egrets and even wild pigeons. Keep your camera ready for the magnificent large hawks, kingfishers and eagles that rule the skies here during migrant season (November to March).
The reserve is also home to large butterfly species that come in every color and shape. Some species you can expect to see here include the Euploea core, Papilio crino and Delias eucharis.