Udawalawe Sanctuary, also known as Udawalawe National Park, is a place that gives a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be at the top of your Sri Lankan itinerary. It is the perfect spot to be visited by anyone who loves an extraordinary wildlife adventure.
Located about 107 miles away from the main city of Colombo, Udawalawe Sanctuary is in Udawalawe, on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces in Sri Lanka. This is undoubtedly the best place to spot gigantic Sri Lankan elephants who live in their natural habitats. Udawalawe Sanctuary offers a memorable safari experience while you can spot many other wild animals, such as crocodiles, birds, buffaloes, and many more!
So, let’s dive in and learn more about the actual experience you can get during your visit to Udawalawe National Park!
What Is Udawalawe Sanctuary And Where Is It?
Being one of the ultimate tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, Udawalawe Sanctuary is the third most visited national park in the country. This was declared and established as the fifth national park of Sri Lanka on the 30th of June, 1972, while the reserve covers 30,821 hectares of land area.
Udawalawe Sanctuary is world-renowned as the best place to spot magnificent Sri Lankan elephants. The park was designed to provide a sanctuary for wild animals dislocated by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to guard the reservoir’s catchment area.
This sanctuary is located about 107 miles away from the main city of Colombo on the boundary of Uva Province and Sabaragamuwa in Sri Lanka. The most ordinary type of environment seen in Udawalawe is the scrubland and dry grassland.
Vast regions of scrubs, tall grass, as well as giant trees, are familiar landmarks at Udawalawe. These are the favored environmental conditions of the elephants at this park for a considerable portion of the year. Even though scrublands, grasslands, and similar types of plains are primarily glimpsed in the park, rocky and mountainous areas are also not unexpected.
What Kind Of Experience Can You Get In Udawalawe Sanctuary?
Udawalawe is undoubtedly one of the best places in Sri Lanka that any nature lover or wildlife photography lover should not miss.
No matter whether you travel to Sri Lanka all by yourself, with your partner, or family, this place has the right thing to offer you with a lifetime’s worth of experience. In fact, this place gives an all-inclusive wildlife adventure where you’ll be rewarded with many more things other than seeing wild elephants!
Safari At Udawalawe Sanctuary
Suppose you are searching for an ultimate safari experience. In that case, Udawalawe is the ideal place where you can catch the untouched beauty and exceptional magnificence of a national park in Sri Lanka.
You’ll be able to explore Sri Lanka’s natural wilderness, wildlife, and diverse habitats of animals during your safari. Udawalawe is the best place in Sri Lanka to see playful young elephants and calm adult giants interact with each other in peace. These sights will mesmerize you, leaving eternal memories in your wander journal.
After the safari, you can visit Elephant Transit Home, Asia’s first elephant rehabilitation hub. You’ll get the opportunity to witness herds of Sri Lankan elephants in the afternoon at Udawalawe National Park. And if you’re lucky enough, even multiple herds of giant elephants could be observed in this place, particularly near rivers and the Udawalawe reservoir.
How Do I Plan A Safari At Udawalawe National Park?
If you are traveling alone or with family, reserving a safari jeep well in advance will avoid last-minute hassle at the entrance gate looking for jeeps.
You can purchase your entrance ticket at the gate. And, if you travel through a travel agency in Sri Lanka, they will arrange all these well ahead of time since all travel agents have their own carefully picked collection of jeeps at each National Park in Sri Lanka.
The jeep drivers who will take you across the national park are usually well-knowledgeable about the area, so they will stop by for photos and videos explaining the surroundings. This way, you can make the most out of your visit to Udawalawe, experiencing the best moments out in the wilderness.
Did You Know That The Wild Elephants In Udawalawe Sanctuary Are So Tamed?
Within the untamed beauty of this precious National Park, you’ll meet the most tamed elephants. They will come to your jeep, watch you and walk away silently. These innocent creatures are also watching you and find their visitors exciting as long as we remain calm and behave mindfully.
Udawalawe Is Not Only About Elephants!
Udawalawe is not only renowned for elephants but also other animals like leopards as well as miscellaneous species of birds. It is estimated that there are only 10-12 leopards in this National Park. Thus, consider yourself very lucky if you get a chance to spot them!
There is a rich wildlife diversity in Udawalawe. According to the statistics, there’s a record of an estimated 184 birds, 43 mammals, 33 reptiles, and 135 different species of butterflies. Other than elephants and leopards, you’ll even get the chance to catch a glimpse of lazy water buffaloes, energetic wild boars, hovering crocodiles, charming peacocks, and spotted deer.
While Udawalawe Sanctuary is a paradise to spot elephants, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an excellent place to interact with the elephants more closely. Click here and read our article for more information.
Udawalawe in Sri Lanka is even famous for its landscapes like scrublands, forests, marshes, open grasslands, and hilly areas. There is an extensive water body, Udawalawe Reservoir, in the middle of the national park, which is an excellent location for photography. Hence, this site is also known for its panoramic beauty.
Camping At Udawalawe
Do your research on the internet, and you can find organizations that can arrange your camping nights at Udawalawe. Most of the time, they will be making safari tours for you during the day and setting enchanting tented camping nights in the evening.
These camping nights usually come as packages that will offer you many more things beyond camping, such as meals and adventure programs. So, if there’s anyone out there interested in having a camping night at this beautiful location, you can search online and book ahead!
Like Udawalawe National Park, Udawatta Kele is a beautiful forest reserve where you can enjoy the rare beauty of nature in Sri Lanka. Click on this link and read our article to learn more about this place and why you need to visit there!
How Can You Get To Udawalawe Sanctuary?
There are two main modes of transportation to Udawalawe Sanctuary, no matter where you are in Sri Lanka. You can either use public transport, which is mainly the bus and train or go by a private vehicle.
Using the bus or train can be affordable, but it can also be a hassle when you travel with the local crowd. However, on the other hand, private transportation can be a convenient way to reach Udawalawe as plenty of taxi services are available in the country.
Private transportation can be a little hefty on your budget, yet it is the easiest way to make your way through. In addition to these transportation modes, you can also use domestic flight services in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, this can be costly, and you probably need to book the flights ahead.
What Are The Other Nearby Attractions To Udawalawe Sanctuary?
Make the most out of your vacation by not missing out on the nearby places to travel when you visit Udawalawe. Invest your time in such “worth-seeing” places such as:
- Mahapelessa Hot Springs
- Ussangoda National Park
- Ramba Viharaya
In addition to these places, you’ll also find a range of accommodations starting from affordable ones to luxury hotels and resorts. Here you can indulge in some authentic Sri Lankan food and enjoy the extravagance of a refreshing Ayurvedic spa.
Safety Conducts For Those Who Wish To Visit Udawalawe National Park
If you plan on arranging your next trip to this park, it is crucial to be aware of some important code of conduct as you’re about to enter one of Sri Lanka’s precious wildlife reserves.
- Observe extreme silence during your jeep safari at Udawalawe National Park.
- Do not feed animals or take any material out from the park (including plants, rocks, branches from trees, bones, etc.)
- Do not attempt to lean out of the window or climb on the roof of your Jeep.
- Do not throw garbage or any rubbish out of your vehicle; you should take all the trash back with you.
- Smoking or alcohol inside the National Park is strictly prohibited.
- Only four-wheel vehicles are permitted inside the Udawalawe National Park, and they have to maintain a maximum speed limit of about 25 KM / h.
- Unhurried driving helps you to observe small animals such as other mammals, birds, and reptiles.
- You’re allowed to get down from the jeep to get close to the elephants. And you will not be able to ride or pet the elephants.
- Please ensure that your driver does not block other vehicles or intrude with animal movement during your jeep safari at Udawalawe National Park.
- If you are a professional photographer who carries multiple small to large pieces of equipment- If you have a special requirement such as a tripod / long lenses etc., please inform your travel agent in Sri Lanka in advance as they will customize your wildlife photography safari.
- Washrooms are available at the entrance.
- No mobile signals are available in Udawalawe National Park. Signals are jammed intentionally by the government to improve the experience of wildlife enthusiasts.
What Are The Essentials You Need To Bring With You During Safari?
- Wear light-color costumes
- Cap/ hat
- Lip balm
- Mosquito repellent
- Enough water
- Binoculars (to observe animals and birds further)
Get Lost In The Wilderness And Enjoy The Fauna At Udawalawe Sanctuary…
Udawalawe Sanctuary is certainly one of the best National Parks in Sri Lanka that should definitely be on your Ceylon itinerary. This is the best place to make memories if you’re a strict wildlife lover, where you can catch a glimpse of many Sri Lankan wild elephants in their natural habitat. So, bring your camera and capture unforgettable comments while giving yourself a chance to explore and observe the true beauty of nature.