Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The reason for creating Udawalawe National Park was to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for shifting cultivation (chena farming). Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan Elephants. Udawalawe is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.
Udawalawe is the closest National Park to the capital city of Colombo and reachable within 4 hours drive. This is a very scenic Widlife reserve with so many Elephants in abundance. The bordering resevour dolubles up its beauty and all Safari camping sites are located by the river. One night or two nights safari camping in those camping siteswill be a memorable trip for those wildlife enthusiasts.
Udawalawe is an important habitat for Sri Lankan Elephants, which are relatively easy to see in its open habitats. Many Elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir, with a herd of about 250 believed to be permanently resident. The Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 for the purpose of looking after abandoned elephant calves within the park. A total of nine calves, on two occasions in 1998 and 2000, with another eight calves in 2002, were released in to the park when old enough to fend for themselves.
The Rusty-spotted Cat, Fishing Cat and Sri Lankan Leopard are members of the Felidae family present in Udawalawe. The Sri Lankan Sloth Bear is seldom seen because of its rarity. Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Indian Muntjac, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Wild Boar and Water Buffalo are among other mammal species. Golden Jackal, Asian Palm Civet, Toque Macaque, Tufted Grey Langur and Indian Hare also inhabit the park. A study conducted in 1989 found that considerable numbers of Golden Palm Civets inhabit the forests of Udawalawe.
Udawalawe is also a good birdwatching site. Endemics such as Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Brown-capped Babbler, and Sri Lanka Junglefowl are among of the breeding resident birds. White Wagtail and Black-capped Kingfisher are rare migrants. A variety of water birds visit the reservoir, including cormorants, the Spot-billed Pelican, Asian Openbill, Painted Stork and Black-headed Ibis.
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. Landbirds are in abundance, and include Indian Roller, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Pied Cuckoo.
Udawalawe National Park in is located in the middle of one of the routes to Yala National Park. If you start from Colombo, proceed on Colombo Ratnapura road, Pelmadulla, Kahawatte, Madampe, Kolmbage Ara then Udawalawe. Since it takes only 4 hours drive one can make a day trip and return in the evening but to enjoy the beauty and wilderness one must Camp inside the National Park for which we have made arrangements with 1 night, 2 nights and 3 nights Udawalawe Tented Safari Camping. You do not need to worry about bringing meals/beverages, Safari Jeeps, taxes etc. We arrange you everything from Lodging, meals, guides, jeeps, tickets. You only have to come and enjoy the wilderness as we set up the camp prior to your arrival and the whole campsite is fully staffed.