Udawalawe National Park Safari to See Elephants

Udawalawe National Park Safari to See Elephants

If there is one animal I love it is the elephant! It was a goal of mine to see both the African and Asian elephant in the wild.  My first ever safari experience was in Sri Lanka just prior to our trip to Uganda and Rwanda! I couldn’t help but feel like we were getting a warm up. An opportunity to test our safari gear, test photography etc but most importantly it was a chance to see Asian elephants in the wild! If you would like to do an Udawalawe National Park Safari to see elephants then keep reading for our top tips and experience. 

Top Tips for an Udawalawe National Park Safari to See elephants

Elephants cooling off in the Midday sun, Udewalawe national park
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Elephants cooling off in the Midday sun, Udewalawe national park

Udawalawe or Yala – why we chose to do our elephant safari at Udewalawe?

When were looking at possible trips to see elephants in Sri Lanka we were looking at Udewalawe or Yala National Park. We eventually decided on Udewalawe for a number of reasons. Firstly we had heard that Yala, was the more popular in terms of sights and sometimes you could be fighting with a number of other jeeps to get close to wildlife. Also, despite having fewer elephants, the smaller park size meant there were greater chances of getting a great elephant sighting in Udawalawe.

Udawalawe Sri Lanka

So off we went. We had literally been in the park for four minutes when we came across our first elephant. He was more than happy to put on a show, showering himself with water right next to our car. If I had been worried about not seeing elephants, ten minutes inside the park had dispelled any concerns. We must have seen about 50 elephants during our 4 hours in the park. My personal favourite was watching a family of elephants heading into a pool of water to cool off in the midday sun. I couldn’t have asked for a better shot!


Elephant at Udewalawe

On our trip around Udewalawe – we never saw another car and felt like we were really alone with nature. A big shout out has to go to our guides whose eagle eyes caught things we never would have. Other than elephant we saw numerous birds, and I am sure if we had got there earlier in the morning we would have seen even more.

Unfortunately we didn’t see any leopards which are notoriously difficult to spot – but I will certainly be returning for another shot!


Safaris in Sri Lanka, can rival that of Africa, especially if you are an elephant fan. A recommendation for anyone travelling to Sri Lanka!

One happy Wandermust Mummy, Udewalawe National Park

One happy Wandermust Mummy

Looking for more Sri Lanka inspiration? Then why not check out our guide to Galle or check out the best place to stay


  1. October 20, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    We did the Yala safari pre babies. I absolutely loved Sri Lanka and watching all the wildlife in the park. Elephants are my favourite animal so I would have been desperately disappointed if we didn’t see any. We only saw a few but got very close up to some which was amazing. We also saw a leopard so maybe you need to go back to Sri Lanka and try Yala too! Thanks for the memories on #FarawayFiles

    • October 21, 2016 / 6:38 am

      I don’t think udewalawe has many leapards and we didn’t see any. Would love to return to Sri Lanka one day

  2. October 21, 2016 / 11:56 am

    I’m very keen to do an elephant safari in Sri Lanka so great to read this! How wonderful that you didn’t meet any other vehicles – but saw plenty of elephants! Sounds like the perfect wildlife experience. Thanks so much for linking up to #FarawayFiles

    • October 21, 2016 / 12:01 pm

      It was amazing. Elephants are my favourite animal so it was such a special experience for me

  3. October 25, 2016 / 3:44 am

    Who knew there was Elephant day?! But I guess there’s a day for everything. Your trip looks incredible and I would love to go to Sri Lanka some day. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it. #farawayfiles

    • October 25, 2016 / 7:48 am

      There does seem to be a day for everything lol! Sri Lanka is an amazing country

  4. October 25, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    I love this! Have always been a HUGE elephant fan and I love the idea of getting up close and personal without a million tourists (ok, slight dramatics). But this sounds so cool and I want to see Sri Lanka – so thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to see where you take us this week for #FarawayFiles, cheers from Croatia right now! Erin

    • October 26, 2016 / 8:05 am

      It was fabulous I can’t offer enough praise for Sri Lanka

  5. October 18, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    This looks wonderful. Elephants are just so beautiful. definitely adding this to our list

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