Hi everyone, I’m here with my second article. Today I’m going to talk about a major national park in Sri Lanka, Udawalawe National Park. And I’m not wrong when I call it a paradise of Asian elephants. Don’t get me wrong though, obviously there are a lot more other types of Animals. Udawalawe National Park is very well known among locals and as well as foreigners.
Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created 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 park is 30,821 hectares in area, which is the sixth largest on the island. It is situated in Monaragala District, Uva Province. You may know that there are more sanctuaries in the dry zone than the wet zone in Sri Lanka. This one is also in the dry zone. The park is 165km away from the country’s capital, Colombo. But if you are coming via down south, it is about 100km from Matara.
How to Reach
A Paradise of Asian Elephants
As I said earlier, the major attraction of the Udawalawe National Park is the elephants. (As you may know, there are two types of elephants in the world, Asian Elephant and African Elephant. For more details, click here. Here you will only find Asian elephants.) There are a huge number of elephants in the park. They can be seen both as single (grown male) and in herds (females and little ones). You may know that grown males are not staying with the herd, they live alone. They come to the herd only in breeding season.
In herds, protecting little ones is a joint responsibility. When there are babies in the herd, the elders are always protecting them and covering them when other creatures are around. Watch this video of a herd having a mud bath. Babies are kept inside (They are not visible clearly, but if you look carefully, you can see one) and the one in front is guarding them (from us).
See some photos taken at the same time.
(Have you ever wonder why wild elephants and some other large animals like to have mud bath, it is because by doing that the moisture can be kept for long on their skin.)
And they can be very aggressive if they feel any threat when the little ones are around. Check this video of my own experience.
Our crazy guide and the driver made them mad (but they knew what they were doing). They became very aggressive because there were babies. If you listen carefully, you will hear a sound made by our guide. He said later that it is the sound of baby elephants. So those elephants might have thought there were babies inside the vehicle. There are some incidents heard of elephant attacks at Udawalawe National Park, but I haven’t heard of any severe or fatal injuries. Because the guides and drivers know how to tackle with elephants.
What else Can You See?
Other than elephants, you will be able to a lot of other types of animals in the park, IF YOU ARE LUCKY. There are Deer, Leopard, Crocodile, Fox, Moose, Wild Buffalo, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Monkey, Peacock and many other birds. Other than the Udawalawe Reservoir, there is another reservoir (Mau Ara Reservoir) and a little lank (Sinugala Wewa). You will find number of animals nearby those water sources.
If you like, you can even spend the night in the park. There are a number of accommodations inside the park for a large range of prices. They situated in separate locations. If you like to rent an accommodation, you have to book one in advance. But please do not put anything you bring on earth or in the water. (Unless otherwise you are feeding fish. There is one place you can feed fish in the park.) Take back what you bring inside and put the garbage into bins at accommodations or entrance.
Make note that you can get down from the vehicles only at accommodations. Otherwise, you will disturb the wildlife or some animal may disturb your life.:D
This is a border of the park, where you can feed the elephants by yourself behind the electric fence. You can give them some fruits you have or you can buy very expensive (almost rotten) bananas there.:D But make sure not to give anything other than fruits to elephants. Because, you may know that they also can be caught with diabetes.
If you are an animal lover, this a place you must visit in Sri Lanka. Elephants can be seen in Dehiwala National Zoo also (both Asian Elephants and African Elephants), but you know, seeing animals in their natural habitats is much more interesting than seeing them in cages. And if you are lucky, you will get some unforgettable memories such as a close encounter with an elephant like we had.:D I visited it two times, but haven’t had enough and will be visiting again in near future.
If you have any doubt or you need any more information feel free to ask me by leaving a comment below. And you are welcome to share your experience at Udawalawe National Park with others also. So I’ll meet you in the next post. Have a great journey.