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Udawalawe National Park

3.8 /5

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Best Time: December - March Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Mawella Lagoon Airport Check Flights

"One of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka!"

Udawalawe National Park Tourism

Udawalawe National Park gets its name from Udawalawe reservoir that was built on Walawe river. Animals that were displaced due to the development were shifted to the national park. It is one of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka that was established in the year 1972. 

The area where this national park is built over was earlier used by farmers for shifting cultivation but then they were removed from this area. This national park in Sri Lanka is especially known for being home to water birds and Sri Lankan elephants. You'll find herds of more than 50 Sri Lankan elephants here and there are close to 600 of them in the park.

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Things to do in Udawalawe National Park

1. Elephant Trail The best time one can see the herds of elephants is between 6:00 AM to 10:30 AM and then again from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM. If you are lucky, you might be able to enjoy a long walk or stroll with elephant herds walking with their little ones. The excitement of seeing these majestic beasts is beyond words! 2. Camping You will find a lot of places to stay near the park although the national park being a tourist attraction, one would find rates to be on a higher site. And if you're looking for cheaper accommodation then you'll find it in the nearby local town of Udawalawe. And if you want a quality stay then most of the hotels are located en route to the hotel. The camping site lets you stay amidst the wildlife at night, but with the comfort of your home. With comfortable beds and lights, you will have no trouble falling asleep to the sounds of the crickets and nocturnal birds and animals. 3. Safari You can also take a safari ride of the Udawalawe National Park. the jeep can hold up to 5 people at a time, apart from your guide and driver. The safari will take you through the deepest parts of the jungle, giving you a chance to witness some of the wildlife animals and birds in their natural habitats.

How to reach Udawalawe National Park

The various tour package of the park is offered by many south coast resorts. There's also a bus facility in every 45 minutes from Embilipitiya costing you Rs 46. From here you can get a jeep for safaris 1. By Air: Take a flight from the Colombo airport that takes an hour’s time to reach Udawalawe. From there catch a taxi or cab to the national park. 2. By Road a) Private Car There are many travel and tourism companies that provide rental cars for your tour of the national park. You may also ask your hotel to arrange a rental car for you. b) Public Transport You can also avail the bus, which is the public transport. It will take 6 hours to reach the national park.

Flora in Udawalawe National Park

At the Udawalawe National Park, not only are a number of species of animals and birds, but you can also spot various plants and trees here. The national park is home to a variety of Jasmines (those that grow in India and Sri Lanka), Arjun Tree, Blady Grass and Guinea grass (which are the food sources of elephants), Haldina Cordifolia, which is a deciduous tree, Haldina Cordifolia tree is endemic to Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and other Asian countries, Milla Vitex is another tree found in this national park, the wood of which is used in making furnitures and other wood items.

Fauna in Udawalawe National Park

The reports of surveys done in the national park suggest that there are nearly 500 elephants here. You will also find mongooses, foxes, leopards, buffaloes, bears, crocodiles and monitor lizards. One can also locate wild boars and jackals. Many jungle cats roam around freely here. Among birds you can witness heron, storks, Green Bee-eater, Kingfisher, Hornbill, Pigeon and many more. There are over a hundred species of birds in this park because of which it is considered a heaven for bird watching. The best way to witness these animals is seeing them in their natural habitat.

Tips and Safety

1. Bargaining Now when you're here shopping you need to brush up your bargaining skills which are very much essential here. Unless it's not mentioned if it is a fixed price shop then you must bargain. Because a majority of customers are tourists coming from different countries, shopkeepers tend to quote the rate high. 2. Safety One has to be cautious about the fact that if you have a tattoo of Buddha or any kind of image on your clothes then you're not allowed to enter Sri Lanka and not only that but you'll be arrested as well. Also when you are here to get in touch with your embassy the moment you land into trouble. But in general Sri Lankan laws are very strict so one should be careful about breaking them. The phone numbers in Sri Lanka start with 3 digit area code. The country code is 94. The international access code is 00 and for emergencies, one can dial 118/119. You'll find immigration at Bandaranaike International Airport which is pretty straightforward. Also while carrying items into the country, you need to be smart here and keep in mind these points like the only 0.25L of perfume, 1.5L of alcohol is allowed. Keep your passport with you all the time. Also, the visa for 48 hours is free. For thirty days it would cost you around Rs 2000 to Rs 7000 depending on your nationality. Your visa for 30 days can be renewed twice. Other basic facilities like wifi are the norm here. You'll find a decent network in all the regions. Avoid committing anything that would drag you to court here because the judiciary is very slow here and would take a lot of time. You can find ATMs in towns easily. Although the problem of change might occur here. Sri Lankan currency is rupee (Rs) Rupee coins come in denominations of one, two, five and 10 rupees. Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 rupees.

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