SRI LANKAUdawalawe National Park - Elephant Safari
UDAWALAWE ELEPHANT SAFARI
If tea fields, beaches and amazing railway tracks still haven’t convinced you to visit Sri Lanka, then I am certain an elephant safari will. Udawalawe National Park is smaller than it’s competitor Yala, but after having heard from the locals that Yala has been unethical towards the animals they keep there, it was a no-brainer that we will visit Udawalawe instead.
And we are so happy we did.
WHERE TO STAY IN UDAWALAWE
We chose to stay at The Countryside Udawalawe. From our experience it didn’t matter very much where you stay in terms of location. The majority of people come here to go to the Udawalawe National Park and the hotels generally provide transport (safari jeep) to the safari, around and back to the hotel. We only stayed here for one night and were very positively surprised over the room, surroundings as well as breakfast.
Entrance to the hotel.
Our room on the ground floor.
THE ELEPHANT SAFARI – AFTERNOON
We arrived to Udawalawe just in time for check-in. We spoke to the hotel manager who arranged a safari ride for us at 3pm on the same day. We dropped our bags, took a shower and changed our clothes – just in time to go back to the reception area and get up on our white safari jeep. I was really excited! We then made our way from the hotel towards the National Park, passing a starnded male elephant and posing in the jeep while the driver gets entrance tickets.
Approaching the entrance to the park.
White safari jeep.
We drove for about 10 minutes when we saw the first small herd of elephants. They weren’t very visible, but it was great to see them after such short time.
After the elephants in this location scattered off into the deeper jungle, we continued driving towards a lake. We saw quite little there, but the best thing was the elephant belo who had an itch to scratch – so he used the rock and scratched for about min straight.
Lots of peacocks wandering around the park.
One could say the ride was quite bumpy.
After the trip around the lake, we drove for quite a while without seeing any elephants. Our driver did have a good eye for various birds and lizards though! We started feeling a little sad that we might not see any more elephants, and just as we were about to turn by this small pond I saw a big elephant coming towards it. I told the driver to wait a bit more and I am so happy I did! After the big elephant many more followed and we ended up seeing a huge herd of elephants, all about to drink and play in the water just next to us. I almost forgot to take pictures, it was such an amazing experience to see them from so close and so free.
Baby elephant drinking water.
Just as the elephants were leaving, others arrived to the pond. How lucky were we?!
After watching the elephants at this location for a good half an hour, we (and the elephants) continued our road. We drove slowly towards the exit and they walked off into the jungle.
We were then graced by a very beautiful sunset on our way back to the hotel. After we were done with showering and getting ready, we went to a nearby restaurant to eat some dinner and sleep. We absolutely loved our time at Udawalawe and would recommend you to visit as well, if you find yourself or are planning to go to Sri Lanka.
Sunset at Udawalawe National Park.