Udawalawe: Come face to face with the wonders of nature at the Udawalawe National Park in southern Sri Lanka. Here you will see herds of elephants, water buffalo, sambar deer, monkeys and even the occasional leopard as well as many species of birds and butterflies. This is rare opportunity to explore the wild side of Sri Lanka from Bentota.
The park is located less than three hours’ drive from Bentota in grasslands and some mountainous area at the foothills of the central highlands. This creates a mixed wet and dry climate zone, which is perfect for maintaining habitats for such diverse species; there are marshes, forests and grasslands. An elephant orphanage, Ath Athuru Sevana, is located within the park. It was founded to help protect the endangered Sri Lankan elephant, whose numbers are steadily increasing after decades of decline. It is not unusual to see whole herds of adults and calves, feeding or bathing and frolicking in the Walawe River and the surrounding wetlands. At the orphanage, you can see calves being bottle fed. As many as 250 elephants are believed to live permanently in Udawalawe.
With luck, you’ll also see flocks of colourful birds and flights of butterflies. Birds such as painted storks, Sri Lankan spurfowl, red-faced malkoha, white wagtail, cormorants, and black-headed ibis are often spotted, while more than 130 species of butterflies have been counted. There are also reptiles like mugger crocodiles, water monitors and snakes. Among the mammals are buffalo, boars, deer and many others.
Meeting/ pick-up point: Hotels in Bentota. Pick-up time at 4.30am.
Duration: One day.
Start/opening time: At 4.45am.