The entrance to Udawalawe National Park is located near 11km post between Timbolketiya and Tanamanwila on Pelmadulla-Timbolketiya A18 road.
Dry Monsoon forest with an annual rainfall is about 1520mm has mean day & night temperature are 29 & 24 degrees centigrade respectively.
The park is situated just south of the Central Highlands, of which escarpment brings about an enrapturing backdrop. At the center of the park lies the Udawalawe Reservoir. Udawalawe National Park 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 spreads over an area 30,821, resembles an African game park: it is mainly thorny-shrub jungle with grasslands.
While the remnants of the Teak plantations that were planted at the time of the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir is scattered around, Kumbuk and the endemic Mandorang trees abound in the riverine areas.
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Keeping company to the herds of elephants, the main attraction of the park are the Water Buffalo, Wildboar, Spotted Deer, Sambur Deer, Jackal, Samber, Black-naped hare, mongooses, bandicoots, foxes, s the endemic Toque Macaque and Gray Langers. Sighting a Leopard and other smaller cats like Fishing cat & Jungle cat would be a bonus.
Udawalawe is undoubtedly the best place in Sri Lanka to see wild Asian Elephants throughout the year: there are about 500 elephants in the park and they often roam in herds of up to 100. Udawalawe National Park is unique in terms of consistency in numbers of elephants roaming the park: it has no a seasonal variation in herds of elephants. The best hours to visit the park are in the mornings and evenings. Late evening also affords the photographic opportunities in the backdrop of loveliest sunsets.
Udawalawe National Park is one of the best places to see Raptors in Sri Lanka and afford excellent opportunities for photography. Endemic birds include the Sri Lankan junglefowl, Sri Lanka spurfowl, Sri Lanka green pigeon, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, Sri Lanka woodshrike and Sri Lanka swallow. Among the other bird species seen are Spot-billed pelican, Little cormorant, Grey heron, Indian pond heron, Cattle egret, Great egret, Little egret, Intermediate egret, Painted stork, Woolly-necked stork, Yellow-wattled lapwing, Green bee-eater, Crested treeswift. In forested areas Sirkeer and Blue-faced malkoha are found.
During the migrant season of birds (Nov to March): Booted eagle, Common kestrel, Harris’s hawk, Rosy starling, Black-capped kingfisher, Wood sandpiper, Common sandpiper, Little ringed plover, Whiskered tern, Western yellow wagtail, Forest wagtail & Citrine wagtail.
Satin trees in the park attract butterflies: beautiful Papilio crino, Delias eucharis, Euploea core and many species of ‘Yellows and Whites’ Papilio polytes. In the riverine forest areas Graphium sarpedon are seen.
While the crocodiles doze off on the banks of the reservoir, the water monitor lizards are abound in the park.
The Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home is an Elephant orphanage located within the Udawalawe National Park. Established in 1995 by the Department of wildlife Conservation, it is home to over 40 orphaned elephants. The orphaned calves and juveniles of the park are brought into the orphanage and raised with necessary care until such time as they could be released to their habitat. Once they are released to the park, the Park authorities take upon themselves to keep constant track of the beasts till they get used to the new life in the wild. As at the year 2008, no less than sixty-five elephants had been released to the jungle.