Udawalawe National Park was created to provide a sanctuary for wildlife displaced by the Udawalawe Reservoir. Before its designation as a national park, the area was used for farming. Now it provides an important habitat for a range of species. These include Sri Lankan leopards and one of the world’s largest populations of Asian elephants. The park is around 4-5 hours drive from Colombo. Alternatively, there are a number of hotels and guesthouses nearby which can arrange visits. Access into the park is only allowed on guided 4×4 safaris. These can be easily arranged at the entrance.
Average rating: 3.0 (good)
Average spend per person: $25
Number of reports: 1
Best time to visit: October – March
Typical activities: 4×4 safari, animal watching
Wildlife in Udawalawe
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen around Udawalawe are as follows:
Asian elephant – 100% of VISITORS (1/1) reported sightings
Sri Lanka has the highest population density of Asian elephants in the world. A census of the population in 2011 estimated it to be over 5,800. This is around 10% of the global population. Udawalawe itself is home to around 250 elephants. Given the relatively small size of the park, this makes it a great place to see elephants. Sightings are pretty much guaranteed year round. Although the dry season is recommended (October – March) as they gather in large herds around water holes during this time. If you want to see elephants then don’t miss it! One thing to be aware of is that all safaris are in 4x4s. At peak times the park can get congested with vehicles jostling for the best views.
Leopard – 0% of VISITORS (0/1) reported sightings
Udawalawe National Park is home to a small population of Sri Lankan leopards. Sightings of these beautiful cats are possible although rare. One of the main reasons is the thick grassland habitat makes for excellent hiding. Nevertheless, sightings are possible and there are reports year round on TripAdvisor. If you really want to see leopards, your best bet in Sri Lanka is the Yala National Park. With a population of around 40 leopards, it has one of the highest densities in the world. Although even there sightings are rare.