UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK is located approximately 200 km south-east of Colombo city and is a major eco tourism destination in Sri Lanka . The 30,821 hectares dry zone game park has an annual rainfall of 1524 mm and an average temperature of 29.4°C.
It is most famous for the many elephants that live there (about 400 in total). During a visit, it is not unusual to see whole herds of adults and young elephants– feeding or bathing and playing in the water! In addition to this main attraction, the park is home to many water buffalo, water monitor lizards, sambar deer, monkeys and the occasional leopard, as well as being an exciting location for bird enthusiasts.
A 4WD open-top safari is the only way to see all the wonders that this protected reserve has to offer and our experienced and knowledgeable nature guides will make this an unforgettable experience
This park is very famous for the Elephants. There are herds of elephant feeding in the grasslands. The Sambar deer , Spotted deer , Muntjac , wild boar and water buffalo are re-establishing themselves. Other mammals include: toque macaque endemic, common langur , jackal , toddy cat, leopard and black- napped hare and small Indian civet cat , endemic golden palm civet cat , three species of mongoose, an endemic shrew , gerbil , rat , Indian bush rat and the endemic
The avifauna includes large numbers of warblers , together with the usual lowcountry birds in forested areas, and a veriety of reptors. Water birds foun on the reservoir include rare visitors such as Indian cormorant and osprey. Notable endemic species are Sri Lanka spurfowl , Sri Lanka junglefowl, Malabar pied hornbill, endemic gray horonbill and brown- capped babbler
Recommended review time for sightseeing: 4 h
Getting up early and paying the price for a jeep and guide was well worth it. The scenery is spectacular and there were plenty of elephants, buffalo, eagles, monkeys, jackals, snakes and peacocks when I went. There clearly are leopards there as my guide pointed out 3 separate tracks in the sand but I didn't see any that day. It's not that busy in low season so I felt I had the whole park to myself. Really a great place if you want to see elephants.
This was the perfect place to go as people looking for a safari experience in Sri Lanka. The camping overnight allowed us to take full advantage of the trip early in the morning in the jeep through the reserve, which offered as much as you could ever hope for. There were Elephants and other large animals in abundance, and the bird watching was also superb, with helpful and attentive guides always spotting the best wildlife and picking the most ideal locations. The trips in the Udawalawe Park have provided us with some of the most memorable photos that we've taken on any trip, and so it rightly deserves a 5 star review.
My second safari and it was magical. From 15 elephants less than 6ft away from me, including a month old baby. Many other animals to see, but the herds of elephants bathing in the waterholes is truly a magical experience.
if you need to go any park sri lanka this is the best park we can see more animal's this park better then other park of sri lanka.
My daughter and I travelled from our beach hotel near Negombo and stayed overnight nearby,
As we had originally been due to visit Kenya and had our trip there cancelled due to unrest, we travelled to Sri Lanka not expecting to have such a fantastic time.
The driver and guide were both so great at spotting wildlife.We saw lone male elephants as well as a very curious female who came right up to our jeep and almost silently went on her way.
There were also small herds with some very young babies. The guides spotted eagles, owls and many pairs of peacocks. As the late afternoon sun was starting to set animals came to the lake and while crocodiles waited expectantly, a group of beautiful spotted deer were gently chased away by 3 elephants back into the bush, thus saved from being a meal.
We also saw monkeys, jackal,very large lizards. Many groups of elephants, colourful birds.
With just 2 of us plus our driver, the safari was relaxed, friendly and incredibly informative. Please do not be put off by the thought of it being too far to travel, the journey there and back took in some fantastic scenery, small villages and wonderful beaches. A great trip.
I've always been fascinated with elephants, so this was my first trip to actually see them outside of a zoo setting, And Udawalawe didn't disappoint.
I had a great tracker that my guide, Dhammika Perera, found for me. Lionel knew everything about every animal and bird we saw that day, which was a lot!
The safari lasted for about four hours. The reserve is huge. I saw many elephant families, solo males, and it was amazing to watch them go about their business, completely ignoring us in the jeep.
This was one of the most exciting adventures of my life.
we went there as a big group of 20 people( some of them are Europeans and Sri lankans) reach there lunch time, and had lunch at" Bath Kade", very resonable and tasty rice and curry. Looking for a place to stay in the night, there is good place we found through a man call " Priyantha" , he has a Three Saffari Jeeps, call "Crocodile saffari", he mad our life is very easy and helping us every way he can, the place we stay was clean and relaxing place, care taker call" Ananda", he cooks very good food and keep the place neet and tidy, next morning crocodile saffari bring us to see Elephants and crocodiles, it was unreal experiance so many elephants so close to our jeeps, every one had a very good time, guids are very helpful and explain every thing
Udawalawe National Park was fabulous. It's lush and green and not overcrowded and you get so close to the animals. Being metres from elephants and watching them is amazing, but then there are crocs, a mongoose, birdlife, deer etc all AMAZING. The safari was my favourite part of Sri Lanka. Don't miss it, especially in the off season
It's a very interesting place to visit.we saw lots of elephant and other animals,love the place so much,must visit place if you're in Sri Lanka
We spent a rewarding half day at this convenient but not overly busy national park. Spotted numerous elephants, water buffalo, several varieties of stork, monkeys, various birds including beefeaters , rollers, peafowl as well as a mongoose and crocodiles amongst other things. Very enthusiastic guide and driver.
A beautiful setting with mountain backdrop and tress everywhere and we were lucky enough to see several elephants including groups playing in the water and groups with babies. A really special experience.
This was my first Safari outside Africa and I was not expecting much - I was pleasantly surprised. The animal life is mainly elephants - but in a good volume and they were very active. We also saw some foxes which was a decent spot. The deer are skittish but we managed 2 viewing including one mother with a very young child. Bird life was good and we also saw a couple of alligator and iguana.
Had a wonderful vacation in Sri Lanka after long time. Spent two days inside the national park and had a memorable and relaxed holiday.
Had a great visit to the park and saw about 12 elephants, many birds , a star shell tortoise which is very rare to see, crocs deer and more. Our driver was very polite and well mannered and his truck was extremely comfortable with big leather chairs ( name is Max and charges the same as everyone else email@example.com.
Enjoyed our time with him in the park
Also can highly recommend staying at the Nature House
The highlight of this park is the elephants. There are plenty to see and at the right time of year there are lots of young ones too. Leopards are a rarity at this park but there are no shortage of beautiful birds, buffalo, and crocs to accompany the elephants...we were also fortunate enough to see some jackals and deer along the way.
We loved our safari in Uda Walawe National Park, we saw loads of elephants and managed to get really close in the jeep and just sit and watch them for ages. We are so glad we decided to come here and we later went to Yala national park and only saw one elephant.
The park was full of animals that we had hoped to see, in particular the leopards. We were lucky enough to see two leopard cubs, three adult leopards, jackals, elephants, deer, elephants, crocodiles, buffalo and many many species of birds. Our safari driver was excellent in his knowledge and ability to spot birds and wildlife.
Excellent national park. With a good guide as we had you will see lots of animals and birds. Our guide was supplied by Mahoora tented safari camp and he was really excellent. We really didn't need the tracker as supplied by the park although this was probably mandatory. All in all an excellent experience.
We had both a morning and afternoon Jeep Safari in Udawalawe NP. The main attraction here is being able to see Wild Elephants. I'd say the afternoon safari was better than the morning as you get to watch the Elephants come down for a bathe in the lake. They are such a beautiful animal and I could sit and watch them for hours. Please don't expect to see lots and lots of different species, this park is about Ellies.
What a great morning. We went on a morning safari and had a great time. The (mandatory) guide from the park was great. He and our driver worked in tandem to point out animals, birds, and the plants to us. The guide was very knowledgeable and wanted to make sure we saw as much as possible. We ended up observing 3 different herds of elephants. What a great experience. Up close and personal but safe.
Go to see elephants and birds in an uncrowded environment.
We did two safaris in the park and managed to see an awful lot of animals and birds, it was brilliant, a park ranger accompanied us in our jeep and he was just brilliant at spotting things and naming the birds that we saw, which was really helpful. When we visit Sri Lanka again we will definitely visit the park again, highly recommended
We booked an afternoon safari and was absolutely happy with it. You can observe lots of elephants in their natural habitat, bathing or playing with small ones, which is amazing experience. It's very different from Yala, so better visit both.
I have been lot of park to sri lanka this is a best one.(I have been Minneriya,Kaudulla,Yala).so We very luck, saw nearly 100 elephants,Crocodiles,Wild cats,Peacocks,Horn-bills,Water buffaloes, deers.Our safari jeep driver well aware about the park and the animals.He make us wonderful 3 hours.Safari arranged to us Owin Rich Resort-Udawalawe for reasonable rate.Thanks Own Rich.
We went at 6 am for a 2 hour jeep safari and saw lots of elephants.. many groups of females with young ones and at 2 different times we saw lone male ones that got very close to the jeep.
The park is not crowded and we were able to stay and watch the groups of elephants up close for a very long time.
While Yala National Park is undoubtedly a great place to see wildlife, its smaller "cousin" Udawalawe has loads to recommend it too. The park was not too crowded, and we felt we had plenty of time to stop and just look at or look for animal and bird life. Our guide was charming and knowledgeable, and we were also able to get out and walk about a bit by the side of a large (artificial, apparently) lake, where we could view more wildlife. It was a really good experience, particularly notable for its elephants.
We took a morning half-day safari in December 2013, started at 7am. There were usually no other jeeps around, very occasionally one other vehicle and at one point where the park rangers were medicating an elephant there was a film crew and a couple of other jeeps watching. We saw so many of elephants, very active and close by. Well worth it and not crowded like in Yala.
We saw loads of elephants, birds, mammals and beautiful scenery from the comfort of a safari jeep. If you like wildlife you'll love this place.
Wild elephants! That's why we came and that's what we saw! So cool to see them in the wild, truly in the wild, not rescued, not chained, not performing, but healthy, happy & real. No feeding or getting off the vehicle! Hired a land rover & driver near the gate. We were late, mid morning, but had a great experience and saw lots of other wildlife as well. Expensive 'tour' for us on our budget, but worth it! Great photos.
We had an amazing time on our game drives in Uda Walawe. Within minutes of being in the park we saw our first elephant and it pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day as we saw a large number of elephants including spending some time with a herd which included two young calves. This experience was made even more fantastic as we were the only jeep with the herd so we didn't feel like the elephants were being crowded as can happen in other national parks around the world. We were able to turn off the engine and just sit and watch the elephants and they went about their day. Other animals we saw included Buffaloes, Jackals, a Jungle Cat, Crocodiles, Lizards, Monkeys, Peacocks and numerous other birds. It is definitely true that wildlife watching in Africa includes more mammals but if you are wanting a great experience watching Asian Elephants this place is fantastic.
If you had a great experience in Kruguer Park in South Africa you will not like this park. I just saw some elephants, peecocks and other birds and buffalos. The tickets to the park are very expensive and the some guides don't know how to speak english, so they don't give you any information. In my case, I saw first more animals than the guide. But I really had a great experience at Kruguer.
Wow this place is just amazing. we were lucky to see many elephants around us. it was stunning.
we also saw Buffaloes, peacocks, lizards and even a crocodile! it was a great experience and exciting to be in a real jungle and see all the animals in the wide wild nature. don't miss that experience!
We did Udawalawe with Master Campers and had a magical time.
A safari through the park was an experience not only rich with elephants - more than we could count from very young to a very large Male who wanted to get friendly with our jeep - but also many other animals and birds.
A favourite thing for our four year old, who hasn't and won't forget Sri Lanka and the elephants.
We went with Ajith safaris who were absolutely brilliant.we had a very early start at 5, stopped for lunch for a couple of hours and then went off again. We did see a lot of elephants and monkeys, and peacocks and other birds, but whether it was the time of year i dont know but it did feel as though we were looking for wildlife that wasnt there. No critisism of the company we went with, but we had a much better half day at Bundala
the jeep was good,the driver is also wonderful! Start early,if not you may not see anything and burned by the sunshine.
I visited Udawalawe in Aug 2013 with my wife and another couple and we were recommended to use a driver called Max (Max Safari). The park was way beyond our expectations and was the highlight of our 12 days in beautiful Sri Lanka. The number of different animals and the access to them was fantastic, but thankfully due to the skills of our driver and his obvious love of this environment we were able to see so much more.
Every time Max stopped the Jeep we would all start looking for what he had found... and then he would gently draw our attention to another species that we hadn't seen. We were continually amazed at how he could have spotted these very well camouflaged animals whilst driving and manipulating the tight tracks around the park - but we were so glad he could.
We highly recommend this experience to all.
Had a really good time here. I have been to Yala twice which is great but this is THE safari for elephants. We saw plenty of them and there were probably hundreds around the watering hole. The afternoon turned to fun when the rains started and jeeps were getting stuck in mud and swamps. It was really a fantastic day and our driver was great. Would recommend.
Udawalawe is a pretty expensive national park(8000 rupees to enter the park and the jeep itself costs about 3500 rupees). Best to go with as many people as possible. If you are traveling alone you can wait at the entrance of the park and go on a jeep that already has people. The park provides you with a local guide that comes on th keep with you. Unlike Yalla park, this park isn't packed with jeeps and so sometimes (during off season) we were the only ones. We went during the evening (between 3pm and 6 pm) and got to see over 100 elephants, water buffaloes, different kind of monkeys and much more.
We would advise not to stay near the park. Accommodations are expensive and not worth the value and the area isn't nice at night, instead go to Embilipitiya.
Excellent location to view wild elephants, endemic and migratory birds, occasional Leopard (very rare), breathtaking landscape, can be reached from within a few hours from the southern beaches and Colombo.
It's a must to do a safari, you get a driver with only your party on the jeep. They collect you from the hotel. Your get a tracker with you showing you all the animals and answering any questions.
We went to see elephants, and elephants we saw. Loads and loads of them. We were exceptionally lucky to get to see the leopard, he was only maybe 500 yards away in a clearing so we got a good look at the magnificence of him. My favourite memory is sitting in the jeep at sunset surrounded by about 80 elephants of all ages and sizes peacefully grazing and babies playing at the waters edge. There is a lot of wildlife to see and I would definitely go back.
PLEASE go and visit this very important place.
It houses the orphan elephants and ensures that they have very little human contact to ensure that they can return to the wild once big, and strong, enough.
The money they recieve from tourists is key to its survival, and yes you wont get to be close to them and YES you wont get to feed them but you will see them feeding and more importantly you WILL be supporting the only centre which encourages the elephants to return to the wild with as little human contact as possible.
This national park is home to an elephant orphanage that cares for young elephants and then releases them back to the wild. Elephants as young as a couple of months are cared for here and are allowed to roam free until they are ready to go back to the wild.
They are fed at 9am, when they are brought to the observation pen, and are given milk and then allowed to feed on leaves. There is a museum here that also tells how the elephants are looked after.
This is definitely something for the family to enjoy. Outside in the car park are local ladies selling souvenirs and gifts.
A visit to the elephant orphanage at feeding time before entering the park is a must! The park itself did not disappoint: crocodiles, water buffalo, eagles, monitor lizards, and LOADS of wild elephants! A really worthwhile visit!
While touring Southern Sri Lanka, visiting Udawalawe National Park cannot be missed. It is a big park, on the shores of a beautiful reservoir, with not so many visitors and a herd of over 500 wild elephants of all ages and sizes. We booked our tour through Flamingo's Jeep Safari. The driver and the guide were quite good and very eager to point us all different animals that would cross on our way: elephants, water buffalos, crocodiles, deers, lizards, peacocks, parrots and many, many other birds and animals. The only but was the jeep that Flamingo's has put at our service: a very old and precarious jeep, not offering the minimum comfort one would expect, principally on such a bumpy road. But it was, I guess, part of the emotion and the adrenaline coming out from the wilderness of Udawalawe National Park. Enjoy!
There were plenty of elephants at this park. Plenty of infants as well. We also had the experience of a few elephants trying to charge us. But because the tracker had good experience with these elephants, he knew what to do.
A bit disappointed. Maybe we were there too early in day ( about 3 pm). Didn't see many animals. Only a very thin elephant. Some eagles in the distant and some deer crossing the road. Driver and guide not interested and it was a very short tour.
I visited this national park yesterday with my girlfriend. It was amazing! So, so many wild elephants. We got so close to them. Including a baby elephant no older than a week. Absolutely incredible. The reviews I have read of other safari parks meant that I was a little sceptical about going. However this place was incredible. The safari tour lasts a few hours but if you love elephants. This is the place to go!!!
Great for budget safaris - we drove through this on our way home from Kataragama. Saw some wonderful rock, mountain and water views in addition to some wild elephants and water buffalo. Highly recommended.
This was a marvellous safari into the national park. The jeep contained just us two, the driver and our guide and was an experience in itself, The best part was the elephants. We saw over 25 including young bulls and family groups.
Yala National Park is increasingly crowded and overrun with tourists and a visit to Udawalawe is always a breath of fresh air since it is generally empty. This beautiful jungle area looks north to the mountains of Sri Lanka's escarpment including Horton Plains and World's End. It is home to huge herds of elephants who have plenty of space in which to roam. Well worth a visit.
We did an early am safari which is the best time to see animals. There were lots of elephants from Mum and Baby to herds of eight or so. We picked up a guide at the entrance who was very informative and did not cost extra. Only a tip at the end for his time which was appreciated. The vegetation is not thick like Yala so spotting the elephants and other animals is easier. There were heaps of peacocks, water buffalo, one crocodile asleep on the riverbank and lots of bird life also. We even saw a jackal.
We saw really a great number of elephants so that was really satisfying. But we saw NO other animals except a few birds and buffalos.
had a day with a driver and tracker in the park - a brilliant day, with elephant at close quarters, water buffalo, crocs, buck and birds of all descriptions. Thank you
We have never been on a safari and were pleasantly surprised. We saw many grown elephants as well as babies. They seemed very relaxed and not to bothered about tourist in noisy cars. They just did their "elephant thing" and it was a joy to watch. In general there weren't many tourists there which was nice. We came around 3 pm but were recommended to go earlier next time. Also we only had a driver and not a guide. The driver did not speak much English so a guide would have been good.
All in all it was a great experience.
Loved that the park was uncrowded (unlike all the reports of Yala), saw many Elephants close up and plenty of other wildlife, the highlight being the rare Jungle Cat. Great guide that showed us round and had a keen eye for spotting wildlife.
We came to see elephant and elephants we saw. It was AMAZING! our guide was excellent and we felt safe with his driving as the dirt tracks were quite tricky at times. He did not reac around and fight for the best spot as they unfortuanately did in Yala.
we also went to see the orphaned baby elephant at the transit centre at feeding time which was amazing too......... if you go to Sri Lanka and love elephants then go to both of these places.
We came here expecting to see what we saw and that was, predominantly, Elephants and birds. We were NOT expecting the Serengeti like many people we met did. The drive we did was excellent and the driver and guide top quality. We saw a huge variety of birds including several species of Eagle. The whole experience was friendly, informal and informative and anyone going to Yala should certainly take in Udawalawe too. Highly recommended.
We went early morning (left hotel in Embilipitiya at 5.30am) and this worked really well as on the way out of the park it was warming up and there was noticably less elephants near the road. Got to see wild elephants very close up which was a great experience. The guide was definately worth paying for (one of the few times in Sri Lanka when we actually were happy to pay for a guide rather than feel we were paying for something you didn't need).
There are a few national parks in Sri Lanka and we were pleased that we picked Uda as we had a good experience and it was not crowded with other vehicles (we were the forth vehicle into the park).
As much as I makes me sound ungrateful to have been able to experience this I have to say how many elephants can one person see in a day.
In fact we were there 2 days in total, I thought I'd better book 2 days just to give it the best shot of seeing things.
2 hours was enough, as impressive as they are, 15 minutes watching them chewing grass for me is enough.
Same with the crocs, spotted dear, bee eaters etc etc.
Glad they are doing well but basically an animal overdose.
This was my first safari in Sri Lanka and what an amazing experience it turned out to be. i was told that there are 2 options for safari, morning or evening. After much consultation, i was opted for morning safari, this means you have to wakeup very early. But boy !!! its all worth it. I came from Embilipitiya and morning ride over the lake was breath taking. And just as we entered the park within the 5 minutes we (me, guide and the driver) saw an elephant. And it got better and better. We encountered many more elephants within the day together with many other variety of birds and animals.
From the beginning i was told that uda walawe is famous for elephants. And take it from me. IT IS. If you are a nature lower and an elephant lover. then this is a must visit park in sri lanka.
Did you know that peacocks sleep on trees? If you visit Udawalawe national park early in the morning you will see hundreds of peacocks still up on the trees. Of course, Sri Lankan elephants, buffaloes, millions of birds, crocs, plenty of wild lief in the park. Good safari guides will show you birds hidden in the trees and bushes and will tell you a lot of details about the park and wildlife.
This park is not like the game reserves in Africa. Mostly elephants and birds. There were people coming to camp for a few nights but a few hours was enough. The jeep safari was good although when wet which it was felt a bit dangerous at times
we went to udawala nationl park morning 7 am ... we see lot of elephant .. i love .. we want go again with my friend
We preferred Udawalawe National Park to Yala as when we entered it at 6am we were on our own as at Yala we were in a traffic jam with at least 50 other vehicles. In Yala as soon as something is spotted they text each other and loads of vehicles arrive at high speed to see it. None of those problems here; we only saw 4 other vehicles in the whole 5 hours.
We did however see hundreds of elephants, lots of different birds and a few foxes and deer. The views are simply spectacular with the mountains in the background.
One thing we did not know was that we could not go to the main lake/tank as it had rained and the roads were impassable. This was disappointing but I guess it shows it really is a wildlife park.
The other benefit of Udawalawe National Park over Yala is that you pay one set of park entry fees, which for us was 5200 Rupee (c£30) for the whole day and you can come and go as often as you like – a real bonus in this heat. At Yala it is this price each time you enter.
I went to udawalawa last summer and i can say it was one of the best places to see elephants. I stayied at Centuria hotel located in an old village with all modern facilties good food, air-con rooms ,exccelent pool and very friendly staff
have just returned from two week holiday, the safari around the park was vey enjoyable,only down side in our jeep we did not have a guide unlike the other jeep, the tour guide stayed with us and he was not much use in relation to giving any advice about animals or the land.plenty of elephants and crocs. stayed at the centuria hotel this hotel needs a lot of money spent on it our room was poor with a need of a refurbishment,sink leaked and the shower area was mouldy with a water spray that soaked everything but the user, other people on tour also said theirs was the same. food the usual not a great standard.,,
dont use this if you can go some where else
We went to UdaWalawe last February whilst staying in Dickwella. It was a bit of a drive and I don't think our driver went there that often, as he seemed to have trouble finding it but once we were there we were assigned our jeep and guide and off we went.
Like all the guides we've had in Sri Lanka, this guy had amazing eyesight and spotted all sorts of animals that we would have missed. OK no Lepoards but no-one had promised we would see one as they are very rare. What we did see was more elephants than you could shake a stick at! Best of all there were lots of babies and unlike in Pinnawella, they were real wild animals as I nearly discovered while we were waiting outside the park!
We did meet people who had been to Yala but it sounded more "regimented" and we enjoyed having the personal touch of our own guide at our own pace.
Well worth it.