• Sri Lanka Wildlife Safaris with Mahoora

Udawalawe National Park Sri Lanka

The varied habitats in Udawalawe make it home to a diverse spectrum of animals. The main attraction at Udawalawe however are the elephants, with a herd of 600 to 700 elephants believed to be residents of the Park. The Udawalawe National Park is home to many more species of Sri Lankan wildlife which include the endemic Toque Macaque and the Sri Lankan leopard (seen very rarely). The Sri Lankan Sloth Bear has been recorded as well, but it is seldom seen. There are numerous species of birds, some of which are endemic along with fish, reptiles and amphibians. Udawalawe is the third most visited Park in Sri Lanka.

Elephants at the Udawalawe National Park

Sumedha Tusker at Udawalawe National Park Famed for its resident population of Sri Lankan elephants (a recognized subspecies of its Asian counterpart), it is not unusual to see herds gather to feed and bathe at the waterholes while on even the shortest of safaris in the Udawalawe National Park. With approximately 600 to 700 Sri Lankan elephants residing within the confines of this wildlife park, it is an amazing and unforgettable experience to witness these elephants, both adults and young in their natural habitat. The August 2011 census of elephants in Sri Lanka stated that there are approximately 5,800 of these culturally important animals living on the island. The Sri Lankan Elephant is a threatened species.

Big game and mammals encountered at the Udawalawe National Park

Mammals in Udawalawe National Park Sri LankaUdawalawe is home to Sri Lankan wildlife such as the Rusty-spotted Cat, Fishing Cat and the Sri Lankan Leopard. Other species include the Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Indian Muntjac, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Wild Boar and Water Buffalo.  Presence of the Golden Jackal, Asian Palm Civet, Toque Macaque, Tufted Grey Langur and the Indian Hare has also been recorded. Large numbers of Golden Palm Civets are present here along with five species of mice, Indian Bush Rat and three species of Mongoose.

Birds at the Udawalawe National Park Sri Lanka
An incredible total of 183 bird species have been recorded as inhabiting the Park and many others pass through on their migratory routes, making Udawalawe a great place for a memorable bird safari.

The avifauna includes large numbers of Warblers, together with the usual low country birds in forested areas, and a variety of raptors. Water birds observed on the reservoir include rare visitors such as the Indian Cormorant and Osprey.  Notable endemic species are the Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Malabar pied hornbill and the Brown-capped Babbler.
Reptiles and Fish found at the Udawalawe National Park

Reptiles in Udawalawe National park Sri Lanka

This National Park is also home to Oriental Garden Lizards, Painted-lip Lizards, Mugger Crocodiles, Water Monitors, Bengal Monitors and 30 species of snake.  Oreochromis spp, Giant gourami, Catla and Rohu are important species of fish found in the reservoir.

Flora at the Udawalawe National Park
Endemic Flora in Udawalawe National Park Sri Lanka Originally densely forested, savanna grasslands and thorn-scrub now predominate the Park. Much of the forest was destroyed by chena - slash and burn - cultivation. Scattered trees, constituting 20-50 percent of existing cover, are mainly Satin, Ehala and Lunumidella. In the riverine forest, Kumbuk and the endemic Mandorang trees are dominant.

Udawalawe National Park - History and Geography

This National Park is in the southern dry-zone of Sri Lanka and spans approximately 31,000 hectares, providing for ample elephant safari opportunities as well as observing the Park’s other Sri Lankan wildlife. The Park straddles two Provinces in the South of Sri Lanka and includes the Udawalawe Reservoir. The Udawalawe National Park is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and is second in popularity only to the Yala National Park.

The dry land area of the Udawalawe National Park is about 119 square miles excluding the reservoir, which is approximately 29,000 hectares.  The Udawalawe Reservoir is situated within the boundaries of the Park, and draws its water from the Horton Plains Reserve, the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and the Haputale area. The Reservoir has become an important area for breeding aquatic birds.

The deep waters of the Walawe Reservoir are surroundedBirding Photography Tours in Sri Lanka by picturesque open plains and foothills. The most prominent features are the Kalthota Escarpment and the spectacular Diyawinne Falls to the north. Ulgala, in the west is the most prominent peak and rises up to a height of nearly 380 meters, from the lowest point of the area which is at 100 meters above sea level.

Climate at the Udawalawe National Park

The climate in the Park is characterized by seasonal rainfall and uniformly high temperature conditions. The average annual rainfall is about 1,500 mm in the south end, and it gradually increases towards the north. The annual average temperature is 32°C with no serious fluctuations being recorded.

Two rainfall peaks occur in a year, one between April and May and the other between October and November. A short dry spell is experienced between February and March, and a prolonged dry period is observed from mid-May until the end of September.

Best times to visit Udawalawe

Elephants at Udawalawe can be seen all year round but migrant birds can only be seen from November to March. The best time to visit is during the dry season when elephants come out in large numbers to the waterholes.

How to get to the Udawalawe National Park Sri Lanka

The Udawalawe National Park is situated approximately 160 km to the South East of Colombo and is about 31,000 hectares in extent. This Park lies within the Ratnapura and Moneragala Districts and can be reached from Colombo via Ratnapura, Pelmadulla and Colombage-ara junction along the Pelmadulla-Embilipitiya road. The total travel time is around three to four hours.

Alternatively, the Park can be reached by air as well.  By chartering a helicopter either from the Bandaranaike Airport or from Ratmalana, you can land at the Udawalawe Police Grounds. From there you can reach the Park by road. The Air Taxi service is not available. For more information on air travel please visit www.flysrilanka.lk.

Read more about Mahoora Tented Safari Camps - Udawalawe National Park