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About Sri Lanka - Udawalawe National Park

Main Article: Sri Lanka National Parks
Sri Lanka Udawalawe National Park
Udawalawe is the best park in Sri Lanka to watch and photograph wild elephants. Located next to the vast Udawalawe reservoir, only a short drive from the south coast, the park covers an area of over 30,000 hectares and consists of a mixture of scrubland, grassland and teak forest.

Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The reason for creating the national park was to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972.

Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan Elephants. Udawalawe lies on the boundary of Sri Lanka's wet and dry zones. The park has an annual rainfall of 1,500 millimetres (59 in), most of which falls during the months of October to January and March to May. The average annual temperature is about 27–28 °C (81–82 °F), while relative humidity varies from 70% to 82%.

Udawalawe National Park Nature

The Udawalawe National Park habitat surrounding the reservoir includes marshes, the Walawe river and its tributaries, forests and grasslands. Almost the entire park is covered with tall, reedy Pohon grass, which grows all year round, except during the months of June and October. Dead tree standing in the reservoir are visual reminders of the extent of forest cover before the construction of the dam to create the Udawalawe reservoir. Green algae, including Pediastrum and Scenedesmus spp., and blue green algae species such as Microsystis, occur in the reservoir. There is a plantation of teak beyond the southern boundary, below the dam, which was planted before the declaration of the park. Species recorded from the park include 94 plants, 21 fish, 12 amphibians, 33 reptiles, 184 birds (33 of which are migratory), and 43 mammals. Additionally 135 species of butterflies are among the invertebrates found in Udawalawe.

Wildlife at Udawalawe National Park

The Udawalawe National Park is most famous for the many elephants that live there (about 500 in total). During a visit, it is not unusual to see whole herds of adults and young elephants– feeding or bathing and playing in the water! In addition to this main attraction, the park is home to many water buffalo, water monitor lizards, sambar deer, spotted deer, Muntjac, wild boar, monkeys, occasional leopard, black- napped hare and small Indian civet cat, endemic golden palm civet cat, three species of mongoose, an endemic shrew, gerbil, soft- furred rat and Indian bush rat as well as being an exciting location for bird enthusiasts.
   More on this article - Udawalawe National Park ☟

Bird Watching at Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe is also a good bird watching site. Main breeding resident birds in the Udawalawe National Park are Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Brown-capped Babbler, and Sri Lanka Junglefowl. White A variety of water birds visit the reservoir, including cormorants, the Spot-billed Pelican, Asian Openbill, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis and Eurasian Spoonbill. Wagtail and Black-capped Kingfisher are rare migrants.
Landbirds are in abundance, and include Indian Roller, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Pied Cuckoo. The open parkland attracts birds of prey such as White-bellied Sea Eagle, Crested Serpent-eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Booted Eagle, and Changeable Hawk-eagle.

Flora at Udawalawe National Park

Some of the endemic floral species recorded from the park are Hopea cordifolia, Memecylon petiolatum, Erythroxylon zeylanicum, and Jasminum angustifolium. Hopea cordifolia is found along the river along with Terminalia arjuna. Important food sources for the elephants are Panicum maximum and Imperata cylindrica. Some of the most common taller trees are Chloroxylon swietenia, Berrya cordifolia, Diospyros ebenum, Adina cordifolia, Vitex pinnata, Schleichera oleosa, and Diospyros ovalifolia. Terminalia bellirica and Phyllanthus emblica are plants of medicinal value found in the forest. Cymbopogon confertiflorus grass species and Grewia tiliifolia bushes are common in the grasslands.

Udawalawe National Park Location and History

The Udawalawa national park was established on 30 th July 1972.It lies in the lower catchment of Udawalawa Reservoir in the country's Intermediate Lowland region. This area falls into two administrative districts in two provinces. The parkland on the right bank of Walawe ganga is within Ratnapura district in the province of sabaragamuwa and the parkland on the left bank falls within Moneragala district in the province of Uva . This Park is located approximately between the latitudes 6 25'E and 6 35' N and longitudes 80 45'N and 81 00' E.

Jeep Safari at Udawalawe National Park

It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country because of its location down south. A 4WD open-top safari is the only way to see all the wonders that this protected reserve has to offer.

During the safari, there's a experienced and knowledgeable government Wild Life Department Tracker (Ranger) with you at all times, not only to take care of you, but to impart his knowledge of the local area and its attractions.

For large groups, we also provide a Naturalist. The presence of a qualified Naturalist further ensures that our guests are provided with detailed knowledge about the environment & everything from mammals to trees, flowers, birds, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, insects, etc. For some of our specialist tours such as Leopard Safari and Leopard Photography in the parks, we always provide a Naturalist who specialise in the tour subject.

Camping at Udawalawe National Park

Enjoyment of the park can be heightened by our stylish luxury canvas camping accommodation, which is incredibly romantic where we treat you the luxury of real beds, hot showers and excellent cuisine. The tents have living area both inside and out. Find out more about Luxury Tented Camping in Sri Lanka by clicking here.

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