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Udawalawe National Park
Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park

The Basics

Udawalawe centers on the reservoir of the same name, which provides water for many of its animals, including its biggest draw—around 500 wild Asian elephants. Explore Udawalawe via 4WD game drives with a park driver-tracker. The park’s low scrub makes it perfect for spotting the elephants, as well as sambar deer, boar, waterbirds, and other animals. For more elephant interaction, visit the nearby Elephant Transit Home, an orphaned-elephant rehabilitation center.

To save time on the day of your trip, prebook admission and arrange a safari independently; or for extra ease, choose a tour that includes a safari and return transportation from places such as Colombo, Bentota, Galle, and Ella. Other possibilities include day-trip combos to Udawalawe and Yala National parks; multi-day wildlife photography or island packages that visit Udawalawe and other locations; and overnight safari experiences that include accommodation at park campsites and lodges.

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Udawalawe National Park Private Safari
Udawalawe National Park Private Safari
$14.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
The hosts were incredibly welcoming and...
The hosts were incredibly welcoming and went above and beyond to ensure we had a good time. Highly recommend!
Winifred C, Oct 2018

Recent reviews from experiences in Yala National Park

Fantastic experience
Imogen_N, Nov 2021
Private Tour : Udawalawe National Park Safari
This experience was fantastic!! We decided to the afternoon tour, and we saw everything! From elephants, to birds and lots more! We even saw a Trusk elephant which our guide has not seen in a while! Guide and the driver were friendly, knowledgable and it was a pure joy to be out with them watching wildlife! We highly recommend!
Great experience
Andy_K, Dec 2018
Udawalawe National Park Private Safari
We had a great safari and a nice driver. Would recommend a half day tour instead of a full day tour but beyond that this was a fantastic trip.
Really nice day
Sarah, Mar 2020
Travel to Ella from Galle with Udawalawe national park safari on the way
I would highly recommend this company. Our booking was confirmed in several hours, then we were able to arrange being picked up from Weligama instead of Galle. The car driver was friendly. We then went to the elephant orphanage, very cheap for the lovely experience it was, then got taken to the Udawalawa park entrance where we ended up being the only people on our jeep. We were there late morning so I believe saw less active wildlife but still saw lots of elephants, monkeys, birds, a monitor lizzard and a cameleon. Were then taken by the same driver on to the mountains and Ella. This was a wonderful day and helped us to move from 1 place to another. We were very well looked after the whole day. Thank you!
Good but expensive!
Dennis_A, Apr 2019
Private Half Day Safari in Udawalawe National Park
Driver picked us up as expected on time at 05.30. The tour was great, we saw more animals than we expected (missed leopards though). Lots of jeeps at the entrance (maybe 30-ish) and sometimes when some animals were spotted, but it didn't really bother us that much, it's fun to watch other people too. The big issue was the price, we payed almost 20000LKR (~$115USD) and the owner of the lodge we stayed at almost laughed at us as he offered the same for around 8000LKR. That said we don't know what quality he offered, but looking at other jeeps on the trip we wouldn't expect it to be much different.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Safaris depart in the morning and afternoon and last about three hours.

  • Light clothing in colors that blend with the park’s scrubland is recommended.

  • Bring a camera, binoculars, sunhat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

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How to Get There

Udawalawe National Park lies about 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Galle, with its main entrance 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) off the Ratnapura-Hambantota A18 highway. While you can get there via cab or local bus-hopping from places such as Ella, Ratnapura, the easiest options are safari tours that incorporate a game drive, round-trip transportation, and hotel pickup and drop-off.

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When to Get There

Udawalawe opens daily from dawn to dusk. The best times for game drives are early morning and late afternoon, when the animals are most active. While wildlife can be spotted year-round, October to May is best for viewing elephants and migratory birds. The June to October dry season, however, also draws animals to specific waterholes, so is ideal for viewing elephants, buffalo, deer, and boar.

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Animals at Udawalawe National Park

Seeing elephants is virtually guaranteed at Udawalawe, with opportunities to view them up-close and in herds. The park’s rich biodiversity means that apart from deer, buffalo, and crocodiles, there’s plenty else to see, from water birds and monitor lizards to jackals and sloth bears. With luck, you might just see a leopard—but sightings are rare.

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