Udawalawe National Park

This 30,821-hectare reserve features one of the most top site of attraction in Asia for viewing elephants even though it’s only the sixth biggest wild life park in Sri Lanka. Located 180km away from capital city Colombo, Udawalawe National Park encompasses the Udawalawe reservoir, the center of attention in this dry monsoon forest which gets an annual rainfall amounting up to 1520mm. The park was officially established in the year 1972, with the objective of protecting the catchment area of Udawalawe reservoir, which provides water for agriculture and hydro-power generation.
The park conveniently lies across country’s wet and dry zones, which results in mostly dry weather with the exception of torrential rains. The left most boundary of the reservation lies along the ratnapura district while Monaragala district marks the boundary on the right. The park closes its boundary at the Udawalawe – Thanamalvila road to the south.

Watch Elephants

Due to the naturally abundant grasslands in the reserve, Sri Lankan elephants freely roam the areas and are widely visible to anyone out and about. Being the center of attraction in the park, their number amounts around 600 and in herds of over 30 young and old ones. Also, it’s a rare opportunity to come across a lone tusk bearing elephant in its own mission. Since the lack of dense vegetation makes observing them quite easily, visitors get to enjoy the tiniest detail of their majesty. While there is an elephant-proof fence around the perimeter of the reserve, elephants migrate in and out of the park from unfenced borders. The best hours to observe the wildlife in their own habitat are early mornings and late evenings, when the herds flock to water bodies to quench their thirst.
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Leopards

Considered as endangered due to being hunted as a trophy and a conditional pest dangerous to humans, Leopards are still a work of beauty in nature. Although rarely sighted, as they are stealthy hunters who sneaks behind bushes when preying, some are seen resting on a lone rock or perched on a tree branch. The leopard population is declining at an alarming rate, therefore it’s a must to enjoy these precious animals from afar without endangering on lookers and the animal itself.

Wild Buffalo

Also known as Asian Buffalo, is an endangered species as listed in IUCN RED list with minimal presence in Sri Lankan agricultural territories. These bovine creatures also engage in herds and consume the lush green grass on river banks and water bodies. It’s not uncommon to see them gathered close to elephant herds when drinking water from the banks of the Udawalawe reservoir.

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