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Udawalawe jeep safari – complete guide (Sri Lanka)

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Welcome to the ultimate guide to the Udawalawe Jeep Safari. This is your gateway to an unforgettable adventure amidst the breathtaking wilderness of Sri Lanka‘s nature.

Moreover, Udawalawe is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventurers alike.

In this guide, we’ll navigate through everything you need to know to make the most of your safari experience. From planning your visit to maximizing wildlife sightings.

So get ready to embark on a journey filled with awe-inspiring encounters, stunning landscapes, and unforgettable moments.

Where is Udawalawe

Udawalawe National Park can be found in southeastern Sri Lanka. It’s aproximately 156km far from Colombo. It covers 308 square kilometers of land area. Furthermore, can be easily reached from Galle, Weligama or Ella.

Best hotels in Udawalawe

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How to get to Udawalawe

Udawalawe National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. For the same reason getting here is relatively easy. No matter where in Sri Lanka you’re staying.

Hence you’re likely gonna be able to find a private driver that will take you there. Another more budget friendly option is to go by shared van.

It’s also possible to arrive to Udawalawe by local bus, either direct or with transfer. For example from Colombo there’s direct bus.

You should also be able to catch a bus in every major city along the coast between Colombo and Udawalawe. If you’re traveling to Udawalawe form Ella, check the link below.

Udawalawe jeep safari jeep ride
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Where to book Udawalawe jeep safari

You can certainly find multiple tour agencies organizing these trips. Mostly because it’s such a popular activity. For the same reason we highly recommened to book you safari adventure ahead. Especially during high season.

Otherwise it’s also possible to book a safari trip directly in Udawalawe. You can also decide to spend a night or two in the area. Most homestays as well as hotels are able to organise a safari trip for you. You might actually get even cheaper prices this way.

Best Udawalawe safari tours

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Udawalawe safari cost

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Entrance fee: 13 000 LKR for adult (39€)

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Other fees: 8 000 LKR per person (24€)

Udawalawe safari cost might differ for each person a lot. We managed to book our adventure for a very good price. We only paid around 50€ per person for a private tour. But expect to pay around 50-70€ for a shared trip.

As soon as you enter the park, you need to pay the entrance fee. For adult it’s 13 000LKR. Additionally you also pay small entrance fee (0.5€) for you guide.

The rest goes to the driver and to the one who organized the tour for you. One jeep can be shared by 4 people. Therefore if you want to save some money try to find a group of people who will go with you.

Udawalawe jeep safari jeep and elephants

What to expect at Udawalawe jeep safari

At Udawalawe Jeep Safari, prepare for an unforgettable experience amidst the pristine wilderness of Sri Lanka’s nature.

Moreover, expect to be greeted by a breathtaking landscape of vast grasslands, dense forests, and shimmering water bodies, all teeming with an incredible array of wildlife.

Udawalawe jeep safari water buffalo and elephants

One of the main highlights of the Udawalawe Jeep Safari is undoubtedly the chance to witness herds of majestic elephants in their natural habitat. Udawalawe is renowned for its thriving elephant population.

Visitors often have the opportunity to observe these gentle giants up close as they roam freely across the park. Furthermore, the chance of seeing an elephant is very high.

Udawalawe jeep safari elephants sri lanka

In addition to elephants, Udawalawe is home to a diverse range of wildlife. You can also spot elusive leopards, sloth bears, water buffalo, sambar deer, and a multitude of bird species.

Do not expect to see leopards though, it’s very hard to find them.

Udawalawe jeep safari crocodile

Even the jeep ride is an adventure on its own. You’ll have a lot of fun cruising around in every terrain. The driver will make sure to find the best spots for watching the wildlife.

Usually they are very konwledgeable and provide lots of information about animals you will see.

Morning or evening Udawalawe jeep safari

When planning your safari, you’ll find two enticing options: a morning or afternoon ride. The morning safari typically kicks off around 6 am. It offers early risers a chance to witness the park come to life with the sunrise.

Alternatively, the afternoon tour commences at 2 pm. This provides a different perspective as the day transitions into evening.

Having personally joined the morning safari, we were treated to a plethora of sightings and encountered various animal species.

Exploring Udawalawe national park

According to other visitors the time of day may not significantly impact wildlife sightings. I would say that both morning and afternoon safaris offer equal opportunities to witness Udawalawe’s rich biodiversity.

Therefore, I would recommend you to select the timing that aligns best with your itinerary and preferences.

You can be sure that your Udawalawe safari will be an unforgettable adventure, regardless of the chosen time slot.

Udawalawe jeep safari elephants herd

Travel Insurance

One of the worst things you could do is travel without insurance. We never go on a trip without travel insurance. Anything can happen during your adventures.

Our go-to company is SafetyWing. They will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.

If you purchase the insurance through our link, you still pay the same, and we will earn a small commission. This helps us run our blog. Thank you ❤️

Best time to visit Udawalawe national park

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Dry season: December – March

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Rainy season: June – August

Udawalawe is open all year round, and you can have an incredible experience anytime.

However, the best time to visit Udawalawe National Park is during the dry season between December and March. The weather is mostly sunny, which creates perfect conditions for animal spotting. It’s also easier to spot the animals since the grass will be drier and shorter.

During the dry season, also prepare for hot and sweaty weather.

If you come towards the end of this season, the grass might be dry, and animals are affected by harsh conditions and lack of nutrition. We visited in February, and it was visible that the elephants had lost some weight.

Heavy rains in the wet season might cause the cancellation of the safari tour. If you’re lucky and it doesn’t rain, you can expect lush green nature full of life. During the rainy days, it’s harder to photograph animals. Many of them are also hiding from the rain.

A period worth mentioning is the shoulder months right after the rainy season. Nature is blooming with thriving flora, and the rains are already gone.

What to pack for Udawalawe jeep safari

You are going to spend a few hours sitting in a jeep enjoying the nature around you. Comfort is key for this journey, so be sure to pack comfortable and layered clothing.

Mornings in the park can be chilly, so bring along a jacket or sweater to stay warm. Opt for darker clothing to avoid getting dirty from the occasional muddy tracks.

Don’t leave behind your camera and binoculars. You’ll want to capture every moment and spot distant wildlife. Pack some snacks as well as lots of water.

Udawalawe jeep safari - birdwatching

Udawalawe jeep safari – conclusion

A Udawalawe Jeep Safari offers an immersive experience in Sri Lanka’s natural wonders. We hope this guide has equipped you with all the essential tips. Remember to respect the environment to ensure its preservation for future generations.

Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or a newcomer, Udawalawe promises unforgettable encounters with elephants, diverse birdlife, and breathtaking landscapes.

So, pack your essentials and embark on an adventure you won’t forget easily.

If you liked this post and found it helpful let us know in the comments. Also check our other blog posts for more travel tips.

Plan with us

Ready to start planning your next trip? If you use our referral links, you pay the same and we earn a little commision. It helps us run this blog. Thank you! ❤️

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Car rental: Discover cars

Insurance: Safety Wings

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Bus, train: 12.Go Asia

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Tours: Viator

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Visa: iVisa

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