Around 600 elephants make their home in Uda Walawe National Park, a wonderful lowland area covered in grassland and low lying shrub. It has a resplendent reservoir at its centre and lies within Sri Lanka’s dry zone; it feels more like an African savannah than a Sri Lankan jungle. With the hill country as its backdrop we feel it’s as much beautiful as it is thrilling. Arguably it doesn’t have the flora and fauna diversity that Yala, Wilpatty and Bundala boast, but due to the dry climate wildlife is easily spotted, and in particular elephant. It is also attracts fewer visitors than the more well known Yala. Hundreds of buffalo, macaque, crocodile and langur monkeys, as well as a plethora of bird species, also find their home within the park. This includes the Lesser Adjutana, which stands over a meter tall.
About 5km west of the park entrance is the Elephant Transit Home, an orphanage that is home to over 20 baby elephants. It’s well worth a visit if you have time. Generally we suggest just one night in Uda Walawe, this allows time for one afternoon and one morning jeep safari as well as a quick stop at the Elephant Transit Home. Uda Walawe sits directly south of the hill country making a great stop between the tea plantations and the south coast. We highly recommend it.