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Elephant Safari in Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka

One of the three most popular national parks of Sri Lanka is famous for its elephants

Elephant Safari in Udawalawe National Park
Elephant Safari in Udawalawe National Park
Elephant Safari in Udawalawe National Park

With vast grasslands and a large water reservoir, Udawalawe National Park is a perfect habitat for elephants. There are a few hundreds of them living in the park along with other representatives of rare fauna. The scenery of the park is indeed stunning, the dark hills of Horton Plains change into the open parkland. Flowering trees and lush vegetation is everywhere. Serpent eagles can be spotted in the sky flying over the tall grassland looking for a catch.

The park also has the Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home, established in 1995 by the Sri Lanka government. Its goal is to rehabilitate orphaned elephant calves and release them back into the wild. Visitors can see how orphan elephants are being cared for and learn a lot about Sri Lanka elephants and their habitat.

The dry season in this area lasts from May through September. During the dry season, chances to spot elephants increase as they gather near bodies of water. October and November are the wettest months.

Practical info

What is the diversity of wildlife in Udawalawe National Park?

Udawalawe National Park boasts a varied array of fauna, including sambar deer, water buffalos, leopards, crocodiles, sloth bears, and numerous bird species like the Changeable Hawk Eagle, Grey-Headed Fish Eagle, and Black Eagle. Apart from that, the habitat is brimming with endemic medicinal plants, kithul trees, and orchids. All these species make up the beautiful and diverse flora and fauna present in the park. Show more

What is the best time to view elephants in Udawalawe National Park?

The perfect time to witness elephants in their natural habitat in Udawalawe National Park is from May to September. This is when most water sources within the park dry up, making elephants tend to gather around limited pools of water. Thus, the chances of spotting herds of elephants at watering holes or near streaming rivers around the Park are more during the dry season between May-September, making it the best time for an elephant safari. Show more

How does the Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home contribute to the conservation of elephants in Sri Lanka?

The Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home contributes to elephant conservation through the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured, or orphaned calves. Their rehabilitation program ensures that these elephants regain their health and, if possible, reintegrate back into their natural habitat. The program not only helps protect the endangered elephant population of Sri Lanka but also boosts the local ecosystem's diversity in the Udawalawe area. Overall, the center plays a vital role in preserving wildlife and the ecosystem of the region. Show more

What are some of the best locations to spot elephant herds in Udawalawe National Park?

Elephants require plenty of water, and usually, one can spot the herds near watering holes after their morning grazing. Udawalawe National Park has some fantastic locations, such as the Itsamaria Lake, Elephant Transit Home, and Udawalawe reservoir, where one can view elephant herds. Tourists can take part in an elephant safari organized by licensed operators to get an up-close and personal encounter with elephants, one of the best things to do in the park. Show more

Apart from elephant safaris, what other activities can one indulge in while visiting Udawalawe National Park?

In addition to elephant safaris, there are several activities to try out in Udawalawe National Park. while visiting. Experience jungle trekking tours or birdwatching since there are many rare bird species in the park. For an unforgettable night in the wilderness, tourists should camp overnight. Kiriella Temple, located nearby, is a great historical site to explore – the ancient kingdom of Udawalawe is a fascinating story to learn more about. These activities can make your trip more exciting and memorable. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin