Udawalawe National Park Sri Lanka is located in the south of Sri Lanka and is one of the best places to spot elephants and other wild creature in their natural habitat.
The reservation is located close to Yala National Park so part of the tourists who are searching for memorable experiences without being surrounded by a huge number of tourists head directly to Udawalawe.
The only downside of Udawalawe Park in comparison with Yala National Park is that this natural reservation is much smaller than Yala. It is just about one third from Yala’s dimensions, but it has an impressive number of animals.
It is the perfect place to spot wild elephants herds since it is home for more a few hundred elephants, mostly females living in herds. I did not hear anybody saying they visit Udawalawe Park and not seeing wild elephants!
Listed below you can find the most important reasons why visiting Udawalawe National Park Sri Lanka is a very smart decision
1. It is less crowded than Yala National Park
I have been to a safari in Yala National park and it was just crazy. At 4 a.m. in the morning, hundreds of safari jeeps were waiting in the queue to open the gate’s park. When the gates were open the madness began. Every driver was running from one place to another without respecting any rule and when a leopard was spotted everybody gone crazy. It was like a bad dream to me! The cars were almost crashing to get the best position! I was shocked!
We then planned another safari to Udawalawe National Park Sri Lanka. It was completely different this time! The number of jeep safaris was much lower, the drivers show more respect to nature and we could enjoy more the scenery and our encounters with wild animals.
Beware if you visit Sri Lanka at the beginning of September to end of October. Usually, on that period the Yala National park is closed for almost one month and all the game drives are rerouted to Udawalawe. And this is a nightmare!
2. There are large herds of elephants
Sri Lank has the highest density of wild elephants in the world. So, seeing a wild elephant in his natural environment is not that hard. Especially if you go to national parks as Udawalawe. Here are many herds of wild elephants and during your safari you will have the unique chance to see then bathing in the sand, eating or walking around.
We started to count the encounters but after a while, we lost the number! For sure we saw many more elephants than we expected!
Seeing a wild elephant makes me happy and for me seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural environment was a real privilege.
Besides the increased number of elephants, we saw buffalos, crocodiles, monkeys and many species of birds. It was a very interesting trip.
3. The cost of visiting Udawalawe National Park Sri Lanka is lower compared with other parks
Visiting a national park is possible if you pay an entrance fee and you are in a safari car. You cannot go by foot. The safari car is rented with a driver who has a special authorisation to drive inside the park.
You cannot drive by yourself in a national park in Sri Lanka!
There are only 2 game drives per day, one in the morning and another one in the afternoon. Both safari tours last for about 3 hours and have the same price. It’s up to you when you want to go!
Entrance fee to Udawalawe park is about 15 $ per day and the cost for the safari jeep is around 24 $ for half a day and 45 $ for a full day.
In Yala National Park the entrance fee higher than Udawalawe, being more popular and much larger park. The difference in prices is not very high. Another minus for Yala is that the entrance fee in the park changes pretty often so you will not know for sure the price for your trip until you are at the park entrance.
I hope I convinced you to visit this magnificent park in Sri Lanka. You will have the unique opportunity to spot wildlife in its natural environment.
I recommend you to book an afternoon safari if you want to see elephants because in the afternoon they bath and walk around.
We did so! We booked a night to hotel Eliyanth-Udawalawe close to the park and we took the afternoon safari! The hotel looks great, has a very tasty breakfast and is really close to the natural reservation.
For me, it was a memorable experience which makes me reconsider my vision over the world and to make me show more respect for wildlife.