Udawalawe National Park: A Wildlife Paradise for Photographers

by | May 1, 2023 | Asia | 0 comments

If you are a wildlife lover and a photography enthusiast, you should not miss visiting the Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka. This is one of the best places in the country to see and capture the majestic elephants, as well as many other animals and birds, in their natural habitat. In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know about Udawalawe National Park, including its history, wildlife, the best time to visit, and how to plan your safari adventure.

The Udawalawe National Park was established in 1972 as a sanctuary for the wildlife displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir. The park covers an area of about 308 square kilometers and is located in the south-central part of Sri Lanka. It is bordered by the Udawalawe Reservoir in the north and the Walawe River in the south.

The Udawalawe National Park is famous for its large population of elephants, which is estimated to be around 600 to 700 individuals. The park offers an excellent opportunity to see these gentle giants up close, as they roam freely in the open grasslands, forests, and wetlands. You can also spot other mammals, such as water buffalo, spotted deer, sambar deer, wild boar, mongoose, jackal, leopard, and sloth bear¹.

The park is also a paradise for birdwatchers, as it hosts over 180 species of birds, both resident and migratory. Some of the most notable birds that you can see in Udawalawe National Park are the Sri Lankan junglefowl, peacock, painted stork, black-headed ibis, grey heron, crested serpent eagle, changeable hawk eagle, white-bellied sea eagle, brown fish owl, Malabar pied hornbill, and red-faced malkoha¹.

The best time to visit Udawalawe National Park is from January to March, when the weather is dry and sunny, and the water levels are low. This makes it easier to spot the wildlife congregating around the water sources. However, you can visit the park all year round, as it does not have a distinct wet or dry season. The park is open from 6 am to 6 pm every day².

There are two main entrances to the park: one near the Udawalawe Reservoir and another near the Elephant Transit Home. The Elephant Transit Home is a rehabilitation center for orphaned and injured elephants that are released back into the wild when they are ready. You can visit the center and watch the feeding sessions of the baby elephants at 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, and 6 pm every day².

Abundant Wildlife

The Udawalawe National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife that can be spotted throughout the year. The park has over 600 elephants, which are the main attraction for most visitors. The park also has a significant population of leopards, which are notoriously difficult to spot in the wild. Other animals that can be found in the park include sloth bears, sambar deer, spotted deer, wild boar, and various species of primates. The park is also home to over 200 species of birds, making it a great place for birdwatching and wildlife photography.

The Best Place to Photograph Elephants

Udawalawe National Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to photograph elephants in the wild. The park has a large population of elephants, and they can be spotted throughout the year. Unlike some other parks in Sri Lanka, Udawalawe is relatively flat, making it easier to spot elephants from a distance. The park also has several watering holes, which are popular gathering spots for elephants. This provides an excellent opportunity for photographers to capture images of elephants in their natural habitat, drinking and bathing in the water.

Unique Photo Opportunities

Udawalawe National Park offers unique photo opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else. One such opportunity is the chance to capture images of elephants and other animals in their natural habitat. The park has a variety of landscapes, including grasslands, scrublands, and forests, which provide a diverse range of backgrounds for wildlife photography. Another unique opportunity is the chance to capture images of animals interacting with each other. For example, elephants can be seen playing, feeding, and socializing with each other, providing photographers with a variety of interesting photo opportunities.

Photography-Friendly Environment

Udawalawe National Park is a photography-friendly environment, with many of the safari jeeps equipped with beanbag camera mounts. This makes it easier for photographers to capture steady shots while on the move. The park also has several designated areas where visitors can get out of the jeeps and take photos, providing a better vantage point for capturing wildlife images. Additionally, the park’s guides are knowledgeable about wildlife and photography, and they can provide helpful tips and advice on how to capture the best images.

A Learning Experience

Udawalawe National Park is not just a place to capture great wildlife images; it is also a learning experience. The park’s guides are knowledgeable about the animals and their behavior, and they can provide interesting insights into the park’s wildlife. Photographers can learn about the animals’ habits and behaviors, which can help them capture better images. Additionally, the park offers a unique opportunity to learn about conservation and the efforts being made to protect Sri Lanka’s wildlife.

The Udawalawe National Park is a wildlife paradise for photographers and a must-visit destination for anyone who loves nature and animals. You will be amazed by the diversity and beauty of the wildlife that you will encounter in this park. Make sure you bring your camera and a telephoto zoom lens to capture some stunning shots of the elephants and other creatures that call this park their home.


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