Udawalawe National Park Being located on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva provinces of Sri Lanka. Udawalawe National Park is situated about 200 km south-east of Colombo. You can easily reach Udawalawa National Park from Colombo via Rathnapura – Pelmadulla – Colombage Ara – Thanamalwila Road and access to Udawalawe park entrance.
Initially, the objective of constructing this national park was to provide a sanctuary for the wild animals exiled due to the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir. Udawalawe reservoir is now considered as the main attraction for the elephants at the Udawalawe National Park. Established in the dry zone of the country, the sanctuary gets an annual rain fall of approximately 1,525 mm and the average temperature remains around 29.5C0.
Stretching over a land of 30,821 hectares, Udawalawe National Park is famous for its large population of elephants. Hence, this national park is ideal to observe the herds of marvelous Asian elephants in their unique natural habitats. It is known that about 400 elephants in total are sustaining here while about 250 of them are considered as permanently resident.
The climate in the park is characterized by a seasonal rainfall and uniformly high temperature conditions. The average annual rainfall is about 1500mm in the south end, and it gradually increases towards the north. The annual average temperature is about 32 C.
The rainfall experienced in the Park is characterized by a bimodal pattern of distribution in both monthly and weeklty rainfall. Two rainfall peaks occur in an year, one in April- May and the other in the October – November. A short dry spell is experienced in February- March and a prolonged dry period is observed from mid May to end of September.
The temperature in the National Park situated so close to 6 N, remains high and relatively uniform throughout the year, that is extreme fluctuations of temperature do not occur within the National Park or its surroundings. The annual average temperature is about 29 C.
Other than the elephants, the national park provides home for many other species of mammals such as the rusty-spotted cat, fishing cat, Sri Lankan leopard etc. The Sri Lankan sloth bear is rarely seen in Udawalawa national park. Sri Lankan sambar deer, Sri Lankan axis deer, Indian muntjac, Sri Lankan spotted chevrotain, wild boar and water buffalo are among other mammal species that could be seen. Golden jackal, Asian palm civet, Toque macaque, Tufted grey langur and Indian hare also reside in the park. The endemic Ceylon spiny mouse was also recorded in Udawalawe national park in 1989.
Udawalawe sanctuary is also known as a good bird watching site in Sri Lanka. Bird lovers would get a wonderful opportunity to observe many different varieties of birds including endemic species and migrants as well. Endemic birds such as Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill and Brown-capped babbler are among the birds found in Udawalawa national park. The reservoir attracts a huge variety of water birds such a cormorants, the Spot-billed pelican, Asian open-bill, Painted stork, Black-headed ibis and Eurasian spoonbill.
Moreover, the open parkland attracts birds of prey such as White-bellied sea eagle, Crested serpent-eagle, Grey-headed fish eagle, Booted eagle, and Changeable hawk-eagle. For the visitors, driving through the park in a 4WD safari jeep is the only permitted way of observing the Udawalawe national park. A half day or full day jeep safari in the Udawalawa national park would certainly become an unfading memory in your life. Explore the wonders of Sri Lanka wild life while gaining an unique experience with a touch of adventure.
Udawalawe National Park – tourist info for Udawalawe national park safari; is an excellent destination to see elephants, with herds of 50 to 60 individuals regularly seen and game drives are in open-top jeeps and accompanied by local wildlife guides.
The Sri Lankan elephant, a distinct sub-species of the mainland Asian elephant of India and Thailand, is the easiest to see. Its gentle demeanor and indomitable size has made this gentle giant a much-loved wildlife icon the world over.
Although as many as 10,000 elephant roamed Sri Lanka at the turn of the century, only some 5,000 live in the wild today. This is largely to the ‘Human Elephant Conflict’ (HEC) that leads to the death of 150-200 elephants each year, causing its classification as an endangered species.
Besides elephant, other mammal species in the park include, sambar, chital and wild boar. Dry zone birdlife includes greyheaded fish eagle, black-shouldered kite, changeable hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, white-bellied sea eagle, shikra, common kestrel, brown fish owl and western marsh harrier.