Elephant Wildlife

Udawalawe National Park- No 1 of Amazing Wildlife experience

Written by Bhathiya Gamage

Sri Lanka is an Island with an extent of 65610km2 laying off the southeastern corner of the Indian sub-continent. Sri Lanka had more than 70% forest cover at the turn of this century but rapidly lost that due to the expansion of plantation agriculture, agriculture scheme, and expansion of population. However, take all together at present Sri Lanka has an extensive system of protected areas under the Department of Wildlife Conservation covering over 13% of total land area. There are 14 National Parks in Sri Lanka Covering 8% of the total land area. Out of those gardens, Udawalawe National Park is renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty and wealth of faunal species, particularly mammals and birds.

Day by day it has become a tourist attraction throughout the year as it is blessed with unique flora and fauna while the possibility to view the elephants at close range has become another main attraction. Udawalawe National Park the, the sixth largest animal sanctuary of Sri Lanka.

Reaching to Udawalawe National Park from Colombo

There are different transportation methods to reach Udawalawa National Park. This National Park is in both of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces and includes the Udawalawe Reservoir, together with much of its catchment area. The park was surrounded by but cultivated land. The Park’s altitudes range from about 100m on the plaints to 373m at top of Ulgala, the highest point within the park. If you like to visit wildlife and get an amazing experience this will become the best place.

The Udawalawe National Park is located 180km away from Colombo in the south-central sector of the island. The main entrance to the park is located at the 7th milepost on Udawalawe- Thanamalwila road. It can be reached from Colombo via Ratnapura, Pelmadulla, and Colombage Ara junction along Pelmadulla-Embilipitiya road. The total travel time from Colombo is approximately three to 4 hours.

Udawalawe National Park’s Animals and Physical Features

Climate at the Udawalawe Park

The Udawalawe National Park is situated in the dry zone and conditions of the physical features are characterized by an annual drought coinciding with the southwest monsoon, commencing in May. The annual rainfall is about 1524mm. The other thing is Part of the western sector in the intermediates zone and receives a little more rainfall. The day and night temperatures 29 0C and 24 0C, respectively.

Date and History of Establishment

Udawalawe National Park has 30,821 ha of area. And also Udawalawe National Park had been declared as the fifth National Park of the country on 30th June 1972.

Species of Fauna

udawalawe national park
udawalawe national park

As a 3rd most popular destination among the tourists in entire Sri Lanka Udawalawa National Park is not only famous for only Elephants but also for other species of animals like leopards as well as various birds. Happy to say, it is estimated that there are only 10-12 leopards in Udawalawe National Park and due to this reason there are very rear chances to see them. There are many Asian Elephants because of Udawalawe Reservoir.

udawalawe national park
udawalawe national park

That reservoir is a very important source of water for those elephants. The special thing, there are approximately 500-700 elephants and so the chances of watching elephants are nearly 100%. And also there are 184 birds, 33 reptiles, 43 mammals, and 132 different species of butterflies. Other than that to your knowledge some animals from their scientific names Elephants Elephas maximus, Sambar Cerous unicolor, spotted deer Axis Ceylonese, barking deer Muntiacus muntjak, wild boar Sus scrofa and water buffalo Bubalus bubalis such animals.

The more mammals you can see include toque macaque, common langur, jackal, sloth bear, and the black napped hare, three species of mongoose. The special thing is, bird lovers would get a wonderful opportunity to observe the many birds including endemic species and migrants as well. Endemic birds such as Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Red-faced Malkoha, Brown-capped babbler, and Sri Lankan Grey Hornbill are the birds found in Udawalawa National Park. The Udawalawe Reservoir attracts some kind of water birds such a Painted Stock, Spot Bellied Pelican, and open bill.

udawalawe national park bird
udawalawe national park bird


Udawalawa National Park is an amazing place to watching animals as well as flora and every vegetation. The ecosystem of the parking area otherwise forest area with scattered grasslands and thorny-shrubs. Tree species include Satin, Halmilla, Ebony, Ehala, Kolon, Milla, Koon such trees. If you are interested to visit this national park you will be able to refer many species of trees not yet seen.

Udawalawe National Park Safari

If it ultimately Sri Lanka safari was made you wondering of Sri Lanka after the end of your journey. The reason is, when you are selecting to visit any National Park in Sri Lanka you will have to use a vehicle for that purpose. If you have your own vehicle or another private vehicle you have to take on rent. There are many private jeeps associations that have been established near the Udawalawe National Park.

Therefore you can select any vehicle as you wish. Normally every National Park opening time is from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm. Another special thing is, there are many rules and regulations that were implemented by the present government and the Department of Wildlife Conservation. There are more than 10 general park ethics have been published on notice and signage boards everywhere in the Udawalawe National Park.

It is very helpful to make your behavior within the park. After reach to the park’s main gate, you will have to reserve your ticket from the counter. There will be given a volunteer tour guide from the Department of Wildlife. According to the above mentioned general park ethics and guidance from your guide, you can start the tour.

Best Time to Visit Udawalawe National Park

There is no fixed time in the year to visit the Udawalawe National Park. Because all the animals can be seen at any time of the year start, middle or endings. The Udawalawe National Park is open the entire year for your pleasure. Actually it is even open time of September or October. This is the time period when the water level immediately decreases in Udawalawe Reservoir. Therefore start the Asian Elephant’s breeding time.

In dry season all herd of Elephants comes to Reservoir grassland to find foods. When decreasing the water of the Reservoir immediately growing up the newly grassland. Some scholars and researchers believe that grassland has more protein vitamins for Elephants and it is testing to them. Therefore all herd of Elephants comes to that purpose in the evening. It is means after 2.00 pm is the best time to start your tour.

Udawalawe National Park Cost

As a visitor before the start of your journey, you have to take the entrance ticket. It includes some charges for the development of Wildlife. Park fees for entry into Udawalawe National Park.

For local

Category of PersonsAmount (Rs)
1. Local Adult – 160.00
2. Local Children – 130.00
3. Vehicle Fee- Jeep/Car/Van/Bus250/125/250/650
4. Service Charges – 1300.00
5. VAT – 115%

For Foreigners

Category of PersonsAmount (Rs)
1. Local Adult – 1 (US$ 15)2700
2. Local Children – 1 (US$ 08)1440
3. Vehicle Fee- Jeep/Car/Van/Bus250/125/250/650
4. Service Charges – 1 (US$ 08)1440
5. VAT – 115%

  Udawalawe Safari Hotels

After watching Udawalwe National Park some visitors have a problem where to stay that night. The reason is when finished their tour approximately come to 5.30 pm or 6.00 pm. Sometimes you will never plan a place earlier. However, you no need to make even a little afraid. Because there are many options for you. There are a number of hotels, lodges and many accommodation sectors are here.

Ultimately we highly recommend this wildlife heaven for you and your pleasure, therefore come to Sri Lanka the Pearl of Indian Ocean and bring memories that will never be forgotten.


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