Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka
The best place in Asia to see herds of Asian
Wild Elephants, Wildlife, Bird Watching, Modern Rain water
reservoir, River Walawe, Dam & Hydro Electricity Project
Sri Lanka Holidays presents you the opportunity to see large herds of
Asian Elephants in the open area close to modern man-made Rainwater
Uda Walwe National Park, Sri Lanka is the best place in Asia to see
herds of Asian Elephants, the pachyderms in the wild. Uda Walawe
National Park, that retains their leaves even during the dry season, is
one of Sri Lanka's Dry-Zone Dry Evergreen Forests that harbours
one of Asia'a largest & most viable Asian elephant (Elephas
maximus) populations. The 30,821ha park was set up in the year 1972 to
protect the catchment area of the man-made Rainwater Reservoir located
at the south end of the River Walwe. At the same time the reserve was
designated to provide sanctuary to wild elephants.
For a dry zone park, it couldn't have been located in a better setting: to the north is grand escarpment of Central Highlands of Sri Lanka; to the south is Walawe ganga river flowing all the way down to the sea at Ambalantota close to Hambantota in the southern coast of Sri Lanka.
Altitude of Udawalawe National Park ranges from about 100m on the plains to the 373m at top of Ulgala (Sinhala: the pointed Rock), the highest point within the park. The Park is surrounded by cultivated land irrigated by the Uda Walawe rainwater reservoir.
Access to Udawalawe National Park (Uda Walawe National Park)
The main entrance to Udawalawe National Park of Sri Lanka Holidays is located at the 7th milepost on Udawalawe-Thanamalvila road. The park is reached from Colombo, the main seaport and the capital of Sri Lanka via the valley of Ratnapura (Sinhala: City of Gems), the main gem mining district of Sri Lanka Holidays. From Ratnapura, the Sri Lanka Holiday makers, travelling via Pelmadulla [A4 main road] along Pelmadulla-Embilipitiya [A18] road to reach Colombage Ara junction, from where the entrance to Udawalawe National Park is accessed.
The total travel time from Colombo to Udawalwe National Park (Uda Walawe National Park)
The total travel (driving) time from Colombo to Udawalawe National Park via Ratnapura is approximately four hours.
The climate and weather of Udawalwe National Park (Uda Walawe National Park)
Udawalwe National Park is located in the dry zone of the island: the mean annual rainfall is 1524mm. The drought period of the park coincide with the southwest monsoon that extends from May to October.
Mean day and night temperatures at Udawalawe National Park are 29 and 24 degrees Celsius.
Uda Walawe rainwater reservoir
Most of all, at the centre of the sanctuary lies the huge man-made
rainwater reservoir with a surface area of 3400ha providing irrigation
for farmlands downstream & generating hydroelectric power to the
tropical island of Sri Lanka. You will be reaching the park by following
the road along the 4km bund across the Uda Walawe rainwater reservoir.
Terrain that make it easy to see the elephants
The variety of terrain makes the habitat home to variety of wildlife.
While woodland of old Teak tree lines the River Walawe, open
grassland is traversed by streams & scrub jungle. The extensive area of
grassland devoid of forest cover makes the viewing of elephants easier
than anywhere else in Asia: herds up to 100 or even more could be seen
along the river & near the numerous streams & tanks. Behold the sight &
a site of Sri Lanka Holidays. The wild elephants could be seen
crossing the River Walawe too. The elephant-proof fence around the
perimeter of the park prevents some 600 elephants, roaming freely around
the reserve from getting out of it to attack the surrounding farmland.
The fence also prevents the cattle, belonging to the farmers of
surrounding villages, from getting into the reserve.
Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Centre
In 1995, Department of Wildlife in Sri Lanka, in an attempt to
support the orphaned calves from the other areas of the island, set up
the Elephant Transit Centre at Uda Walawe National Park itself with the
support of Born Free Foundation. Twenty of the 32 calves are
"foster parented". As in the famous Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage,
herein too you would have the joy of seeing the baby elephants being
bottle fed. Although it is fun to watch baby elephants being bottle-fed
every three hours, since the jolly good fellows are kept in pens, you
will not get right amongst them & caress them as you do with good little
fellows at the famous Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
of Sri Lanka Holidays. At the age of five, the young elephants
are returned to the wild: living free. While some are born free in the
wild some are born in the captivity at Uda Walawe Elephant Transit
Uda Walawe Wild life & Bird Life
The park is home to jungle cat, sloth bear, porcupine, pangolin,
macaque, langur, jackal, leopard, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer,
wild boar, mongoose, bandicoot, fox giant flying squirrel, water
buffalo, crocodile & water monitor lizard.
Birds gather in large numbers around the tanks Magam, Habartu, Kiri
ibban, Pulgaswewa, Timbirimankada. Among the aquatic birds are
cormorants, kingfishers, herons & Indian darters. Endemic species
include the Sri Lanka spur fowl, the Sri Lanka jungle fowl, the Malabar
pied hornbill & the rare red-faced malkoha. Giving credence to the adage
"small is beautiful" is the lesser adjutant of stork family: it is large
& ugly. At a height of over a meter, it is the largest bird you would
see in Sri Lanka Holidays. With the head & neck as bare as a
vulture, & then again with thick, long & pale bill, it is the ugliest
bird you would see in Sri Lanka Holidays.
Among the raptors (birds of prey) are crested serpent, hawk, fish
eagles, brahminy, black-winged kites, & the lovely white-bellied
With 189 species of avifauna recorded in the park, in a single day of
Sri Lanka Holidays at Uda Walawe, a keen eye would sight no less than
100 species of birds.
Around Uda Walwe
The location of Uda Walawe makes it within a couple of hours drive
from Unawatuna Bay Beach as
Ratnapura, the world
renowned city of gems of Sri Lanka. Tissamaharama,
an ancient city, home to a beautiful Buddhist stupa & magnificent
Tissa Wewa, a large rainwater reservoir & the town of Hambantota are
within a few hours drive too. Hambantota of large salt lakes, where
kitchen salt is produced from evaporated sea water in shallow lagoons.
The sprawling salt lakes, with an ancient method of making salt, hugging
main road make the drive with a sea breeze all the more pleasant. All
along the drive are shore birds such as flamingos, gulls, plovers &
terns attracted by the salt pans.
The famous novel "Village in the Jungle" by Leonard Woolf, (a
British civil servant of Crown colony of Ceylon, husband of the
prime feminist of the era (A room of one's own) & acclaimed
writer Virginia Woolf of Bloomsbury Group - To the
Lighthouse) was set in the village of Hambantota. The novel depicting
the fate of Sinhalese speaking peasants under the merciless iron boots
of the British colonialists & their reign by way of an alien language
called English, Birmingham iron shackles & Winchester rifles, was
made in to a classic film by one of the top ten film directors of
the world (right alongside indomitable Akira Kurasowa &
illustrious Satyajith Rai, in the category of finest utilization
of resources available, given the economy & the industry technology of
the country of the production), renowned Lester James Peiris of
Sri Lanka. We will be driving past Hambantota in Sri Lanka Holidays.
The town is famous for its Buffalo curd (a sort of creamy white
yogurt - fermented buffalo milk nicely, firmly set in shallow reddish
brown clay pots) which, with generous helpings of Kitul palm honey syrup
makes the finest dessert in the world, hands down. Nobody beat our
dessert; no world beats the village of Hambantota to its famous curd.
May god save the humble villagers of Sri Lanka Holidays! Amen. Sri
Lanka, the Land of Delights brings you the Total Holiday Experience.
Sri Lanka Holidays reveal for you to revel.
Facilities around Udawalwe National Park (Uda Walawe National Park)
Bank: Embilipitiya, Thanamalvila and Ratnapura
Hospital: Embilipitiya and Ratnapura
Post Office: Embilipitiya and Thanamalvila
Market: Embilipitiya and Thanamalvila
Petrol station: Embilipitiya and Thanamalvila
on photo to enlarge