I had a good night sleep in a tent with the sound of heavy raindrops falling on the rooftop. Also the relaxing sound of water flowing over shallow rocks in Walawe Gange River only a few yards away from my bed. Overnight rain already stopped by the time I woke up at 5:00 am and the visiting frogs those scared me a little last night no longer there on the balcony. 

The tent where I spent the night.

I stepped out with my camera, the ground and the trees were still wet. I could smell the nature, the freshness boosted me up along with the excitement of safari in Udawalawe National Park. 

My tour guide was right on time with a 4WD safari jeep at 5:30 am. I was ready with my backpack, camera, and gears along with a few power bars and water. The November early morning weather after the overnight heavy rain was perfect.  

I climbed into the back of the 4WD just before the sunrise and headed towards the Park with a stop at the dam next to the water Reservoir to watch the sunrise. It was a beautiful view with fog in the distance and the early in the morning able to see a few elephants wandering around the lake. 

The 4WD Jeep we hired for Udawalawe National Park!

At the park entrance, the admission fee was 3886.00 rupee about US$ 25.00. I was eager to spot wildlife. I saw peacock sitting hight up in the tree, wet due to overnight rain and trying to dry them up with the early morning sunshine. There were lots of them all most on each and every tree. 

Entering the Park early in the morning (Udawalawe National Park)

I got some real excitement when the driver pulled over and shut off the engine only a few yards from a herd of elephants. 

It was excellent experience sitting in the back of a 4WD Jeep and crushing through the bumpy unpaved roads and trying to spot wildlife, make some good shots very well worth it. 

During the safari, I have seen many elephants (male, female and babies), saw lazy wager buffalos spending their early morning in the water. many birds like kingfishers, eagles, different kind of Bee-eaters, Peacock, Black-shouldered kite, spot-billed pelican, lesser adjutant, Malabar pied hornbills, saw the National bird Sri Lankan junglefowl but failed to take a picture. 

Asian wild elephants in the park!

Mau Ara Reservoir is one of the beautiful places to spend some time. Beautiful view of the lake, verities of bird in the lake and on the treetops and rolling mountains in the horizon picture perfect view. A great place for a travel photographer like me. 

Mau Ara Reservoir is one of the beautiful places inside the Udawalawe National Park!

We got back to the hotel Wild Trails Udawalawe little late but still, breakfast was served in a tent next to the river at 11:00 am. 

All these are brought from the kitchen only for me!

Later we went to visit the Elephant Transit Center to see the feeding activities. The center takes cares of orphan baby elephants until they are old enough to be released back into the wild. of orphan baby elephants.  

My Opinion and Tips

Have you been to Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka? Any additional tips to share?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!