Udawalawe National Park is without a choice one of the best places to embark on a safari in Sri Lanka. Although it is way smaller than for example Yala National Park, you’ve got a lot more open ground meaning you’ll be able to see much further and spot the animals better. While Yala National Park is famous for the leopards, Udawalawe National Park is without a doubt the place to see elephants. The good thing is that there are about 400 of them and they are absolutely not shy, so be prepared to get up close with those giants.
Next to a big elephant population, you’ll also find plenty of crocodiles. You often see them laying on the ground with their mouth wide open. Initially we thought that this had to do something with food, but later we found out that this process was called ‘gaping’. As crocodiles don’t have sweating glands, they use the process of opening their mouth to let the heat espace and keep cool, did you know that?!
An Udawalaweh safari definitely won’t disappoint you as you’re able to get up close with elephants quiet easily. The elephants seem to be used to the fact that there are jeeps driving around and are just doing their thing. That means that you can just sit comfortabel in your jeep while watching these beautiful animals eat a plant or washing themselves, pretty cool right?
Animals in Udawalaweh National Park
There is a huge variety of animals in Udawalawe, so whether you like birds or crocodiles you won’t be disappointed. This park will actually give you one of the best chances to spot elephants and if you’re lucky you’ll see a cute baby elephant as well. You’ll also able to spot a lot more other animals such as buffalos, snakes, eagles, peacocks, birds, you name it. Only for the leopards you’ll need to go to the more busy Yala National Park.
Udawalawe National Park is a great choice for a jeep safari in Sri Lanka. Although it is smaller than Yala National Park, you’ll have a great chance to see a lot of animals with crocodiles and elephants almost being a certainty. Of course you’re in their kingdom and not in a zoo, so whether they come out in the open is their choice, but would be very unlucky not to see a lot.
Watch our video of our jeep safari through the Udawalawe National Park or our video of Yala National Park to help you decide!
Travel Tips Udawalawe National Park
Best time to visit Udawalawe National Park
– between November and March as it is the dry season
– afternoon (on the day of the jeep safari)
Best time in the day to visit Udawalawe National Park
While in Yala National Park it is best the go in the early morning, Udawalawe is better in the afternoon when it comes to spotting animals. . It’s especially comfortable at the end of the afternoon because the heat will be way less. Also you’ll see the sun slowly setting so you’ll have an optimal golden hour in nature surrounded by amazing animals.
What to bring to Udawalaweh National Park
– water, water, water
– warm clothes if you go early in the morning
Costs Udawalawe National Park
The costs of a daytrip in Udawalaweh National Park are roughly the same as all other parks in Sri Lanka. Count on about $40 for a jeep and a driver, $15 for entry tickets (per person) plus a combination of VAT, service charge and a vehicle fee fees that can take up to $10. On top of that, you’ll have the costs of your transport to Udawalawe.
Transport to Udawalawe
For the Udawalaweh National Park you need to rent a jeep with a driver for your daytrip. When you’re in area, there are tons of jeeps waiting to drive you through the park. Make sure to pick a good driver who speaks a bit of English so you can learn something as well. Oh and they’ll do a bit more for you when you give a tip!
Accommodation near Udawalaweh National Park
There are not that many hotels near Udawalaweh National Park, so make sure to check them before. Most people stay somewhere near Tangalle, but if you want to stay closer we’ve put some recommendations down the page for you!