The Udawalawe National Park situated in the dry zone of the country and belonging to Sabaragamuwa & Uva provinces. The park area is 30,821 ha. The park was established in 1972.
The park lies within dry zone and small segment lies within intermediate zone. The long dry season is characteristic feature. Main source of rainfall is southwest monsoon (May September) and mean annual rainfall is about 1520mm. the mean annual temperature is around 29C.
Park consists of dry lowland forest, riverine forest, thorny scrublands and grasslands. One special attraction of the park is the Udawalawe reservoir and the Walawe River which flows through the park.
The main tree species found in the forest area are the satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Milla (Vites pinata), ebony (Diospyros ebenum) and Ehala (Cassia fistula). Riverine forest dominated by Kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna) & Mandora (Hopea cordifolia). Mana (Cymbopogon confertiflorus), Illuk (Imperata cylindrica) and Daminiya (Grewia tiliaefolia) are found in grasslands & scrublands.
Udawalawe National Park is world famous for its large elephant populations. In this park one can observe elephants at any given time of the day. Other than Elephants water buffalo, spotted & barking deer, wild boar, sambhur, jackal & ruddy, grey & striped necked mongoose are also found in this park. Though the leopard, jungle & fishing cats have recorded in the park sightings are very rare.
The park is also famous for birdlife. Crested serpent eagle, changeable hawk eagle, white-bellied sea eagle & grey-headed fishing eagle are the main raptors found in the park. Painted stork, open bill, little & Indian cormorant, Indian darter, many species of waders are also found within the park. Among the forest birds are the warblers, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Malabar pied hornbill, Sikir Malkoha, Blue face Malkoha, common Caucal, and grey hornbill.
How to get there
Uda walawe is easily accessible via Ratnapura after a 4 hours drive. You can also reach Udawalawe from Downsouth via Tangalla or Hambantota. Udawalawe is closer to Haputale and Bandarawela if you are coming from central hills. Yala National Park also near by Udawalawe.