UDAWALAWE SAFARI IN SRI LANKA!
An Udawalawe Safari Tour is a perfect way to get up close and personal with some of Sri Lanka’s most exotic wildlife.
The Udawalawe National Park is a sanctuary that covers 31,000 hectares and it’s an important habitat for many species of birds, water buffalo, crocodiles and elephants.
I have put together this complete guide of Udawalawe Safari which includes the location, where to book an Udawalawe Safari and what to expect on the tour!
WHERE IS UDAWALAWE SAFARI
The Udawalawe National Park is 165 km from Colombo and 95km from Matara.
WHERE TO BOOK AN UDAWALAWE SAFARI
You can book your Udawalawe Safari Tour online in advance with Klook which has great reviews and hundreds of bookings!
Alternatively, you can book an Udawalawe Safari through your accommodation when you arrive.
The cheapest option is to share a Jeep with some other people staying at the same accommodation as you. The approximate cost of a Jeep that seats 6-8 people is 6,000 Rupees and the entrance fee to Udawalawe National Park is 3,500 Rupees.
I booked my Udawalawe Safari through Makulu Safari Camping which was really affordable and convenient.
An elephant on the Udawalawe Safari
Camping out at Udawalawe Safari
ARRIVING AT UDAWALAWE SAFARI
My morning started at 5:30 am where I had breakfast and tea at the Makulu Safari Camp before jumping in the back of the Jeep to make my way to the entrance of Udawalawe National Park.
There were quite a number of Jeeps already in line to enter the park and straight away I thought that we would be in line for ages and then once entering that we would be behind a conga line of other Jeeps. This wasn’t the case luckily.
We waited in line for around 20 minutes and then once our Udawalawe Safri began our driver took us off the beaten track away from the other Jeeps.
The dirt roads on the Udawalwae Safari Tour are quite bumpy though our driver was considerate of this and drove appropriately over the bumpy sections. The fog was very thick at the beginning of the Udawalawe Safari but then eased off as the sun began to rise.
Whenever I spotted some wildlife, I would yell out to the driver and he would stop the Jeep and turn the ignition off so I was able to take some photos and videos.
The Uawalawe Safari Tour takes around 3 to 4 hours and as I said earlier, the best time to do the Udawalawe Safari is early morning. This is the first safari I have been on and it definitely did not disappoint.
Book Now ∼ Udawalawe Safari
Looking for elephants on the Udawalawe Safari
Water buffalo on the Udawalawe Safari Tour
Another elephant on the Udawalawe Safari
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE UDAWALAWE SAFARI
There were hundreds of peacock’s either perched high on the branches of a dead tree or scurrying around in the bushes below. There are many different bird species that call this place home and a passionate bird watcher would be in heaven on the Udawalawe Safari.
I also spotted several crocodiles as we approached the reservoir inside the park and not too far away was a herd of water buffaloes drinking from the lake.
But of course, the main attraction on the Udawalawe Safari is the Sri Lankan elephants. There are approximately 600 male and female elephants roaming around so your chances are very high that you will come across these magnificent creatures.
Our driver was communicating on the phone to the other drivers inside the park to seek out the elephants. I was fortunate enough to encounter around 15 elephants on the Udawalawe Safari and even though stepping out of the vehicle is prohibited, we still managed to get as close as we possibly could to the elephants.
Sri Lankan elephants at the Udawalawe National Park
Crocodile we spotted on the Udawalawe Safari
Saw lots of these peacocks on the Udawalawe Safari
WHERE TO STAY BEFORE YOUR UDAWALAWE SAFARI
The best place to stay is in Udawalawa, a small town which is located 10km away from the entrance to the Udawalawe Safari.
The best time of day to do the Udawalawe Safari is when the park opens at 6am, so it is ideal to stay one night in the nearby town of Udawalawa and be ready for an early start.
There are also camping options available in the area which is a great experience that I highly recommend. My friends and I stayed one night at a campground called Makulu Safari Camping.
Our accommodation for the night was a safari tent on the edge of a river bed, nestled in the jungle. The tents are raised off the ground on a wooden deck with 2 large double beds and a bathroom inside. This place has some serious magic about it!
Surrounded by coconut palms, beautiful flora and fauna and the staff are super kind and welcoming. We paid USD $40 split between 4 people and breakfast was an additional USD $7 each. Definitely go and check this place out, I promise you will not regret it!
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Makulu Safari Camp
PIN LOCATION OF UDAWALAWE SAFARI
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AIRBNB SRI LANKA
Another option for accommodation in Sri Lanka is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
WANT TO SAVE $$$ ON AIRBNB? GET MY AIRBNB MONEY SAVING GUIDE
MORE SRI LANKA TRAVEL GUIDES
Sri Lank Travel Guide: 2 Week Sri Lanka Itinerary
Hikkaduwa Travel Guide: 7 Things To Do In Hikkaduwa
Unawatuna Travel Guide: 8 Things To Do In Unawatuna
Ella Travel Guide: Best Things To Do In Ella
Udawalawe Travel Guide: Udawalawe Safari Tour
LONELY PLANET – SRI LANKA
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Sri Lanka Travel Guide!
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WHAT TO PACK FOR SRI LANKA
Everyday Backpack: One of the best backpacks on the market! The Nomatic 20L Backpack is perfect for on the go adventures. Featuring multiple storage spaces for valuables, drink bottles, chargers, notebooks and more. This sleek backpack was designed for you.
Universal Power Adapter: Don’t leave home without one! I highly recommend getting this Universal Power Adapter so that you are able to charge all of your electronics when you’re on the road. Compatible in Asia, UK, Europe, Africa, USA, SA and Australia.
Hidden Money Belt: I never go on a trip without one! The best thing is they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing. With RFID blocking, they are perfectly designed to keep your credit cards, cash and other valuables safe when you’re out adventuring!
Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case is a must-have item! This universal case will keep your phone safe from water damage, sand and scratches during your adventures. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Portable Charger: One of the best portable chargers on the market! The Anker Power Bank keeps your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures. Featuring 2 USB charging ports, rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo and Android.
Microfibre Travel Towel: To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? A standard bathroom towel can take up a lot of space in your travel bag. Get your hands on a quick-dry Microfibre Travel Towel which is perfect for the beach, backpacking, camping and general traveling.
Rain Jacket: A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when traveling! North Face waterproof rain jackets come in both men and women sizes, featuring a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Kindle: The best alternative for books! Kindle e-readers are perfect for long haul flights, reading on the beach or a quiet evening away from the bars. Kindle’s are waterproof with rechargeable batteries and adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions.
Packing Cubes: My favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear and more. This 5 Set Packing Cubes makes packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space in your bag for your next trip.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Want to avoid food poisoning? Most of us have been a victim of travelers diarrhea from eating street food. Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets are fast-acting and will rid your system of the bad bacteria that causes stomach upset.
MY CAMERA GEAR
Everyday Camera: The most affordable mirrorless camera on the market! I personally use the Sony A7ii Mirrorless Camera on all of my adventures. It’s compact, lightweight and super easy to use for all levels of photography. A 28-70mm Sony lens is also included.
Drone Camera: Take your photography to new heights! The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy to control functions and traveler-friendly capabilities. I guarantee you won’t regret purchasing one.
GoPro Hero 8: One of the most popular cameras on the planet! I love using the GoPro Hero 8 for all of my underwater shots and fast-paced adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 captures the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use!
Camera Bag: My favorite camera bag I have ever owned! The Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag features a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for cameras, drones, lenses, accessories and it also has a laptop pocket.
Selfie Stick: Everyone loves a good selfie, right!? The Sandmarc Metal Edition Selfie Stick is sleek, stylish and can extend to 1.2m. I find it much easier to take photos and videos with the GoPro when it is mounted to the Sandmarc Selfie Stick!
Camera Tripod: The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all cameras. This tripod is easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse video or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
GoPro Dome: Have you ever wanted to capture those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This epic underwater GoPro dome housing is the best camera accessory to have to create the perfect 50/50 shot. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card: The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for images and videos. Having 64GB of storage means that you can store hundreds of files on this SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
External Hard Drive: As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use the WD Elements External Hard Drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for 1 year worth of content.
ONLINE ENGLISH TEACHING
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I’ve got a wide range of digital products for sale and I’m sure you’ll find something that will come in handy during your travels!
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FINAL THOUGHTS OF UDAWALAWE SAFARI
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about the Udawalawe Safari, please leave me a comment below!