The Udawalawe National Park is one of the important wild life reserves in Sri Lanka. It is located towards the southern area of the central mountains, about 230 km away from Colombo. You can reach there through Ratnapura or Hambantota because its location is along the Ratnapura-Hambantota road. It was established in 1972 and covers an area of 30,821 hectares and Walawe Ganga (one of the four main rivers in Sri Lanka) pass along its side, feeding the waterways within the reserve.
Elephants are the major type of animals that you can easily see within the park even during the day time. There are a few tanks inside the Udawalawe sanctuary where the animals (mostly elephants) come daily to drink water and bathe from. There are other animals such as leopards, deer, water buffaloes, golden jackals, crocodiles and gray langurs in the forest. But you cannot see easily because they do not come out into the open area close to the trails. Among the popular birds that can be seen around the area are the White-bellied Sea Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Fish Eagle, Booted Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Painted Storks, Indian Roller, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Pied Cuckoo.
The park is open for tours from 6.00 am to 6.30 pm. The government forest reserve department and some other private companies, organize the tours for the sightseers. But however, you must take a certified tracker of the forest reserve when you go into the jungle. The vehicle trails cover many interesting spots in the forest, mostly targeting on elephants.
For those who would like more excitement, there are camps inside the jungle where you can rent and stay. This gives you opportunity to observe the night life of the jungle. And if you are lucky, you would be able to spot some animals that are seen rarely.