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Uda Walawa National park

The Uda Walawa National Park is an expansive nature reserve of 30,821ha situated 230km south-east of Colombo and is one of the best places to view wild elephants in their natural environments. Situated along the southern stretch below the south central hills, it also encompasses the Uda Walawa reservoir man-made some years ago for irrigating farmlands that abound in this region and for generating hydro-electric power. The park itself is mostly scrub jungle and grassland devoid of overarching large trees so that one can view wild life freely on a safari jeep along the many gravel roads and lanes within the park.

The park is bordered by the Walawe river into which a number of streams flow through the park. One can view elephants in large herds sometimes counting up to more than hundred, closer to the river banks and also along the exposed areas of the reservoir, drinking water and bathing and spending time playing leisurely. The best to view elephants within the park is the early morning hours when the sun comes up and wild life starts to roam around the park. An electric fence round the park keeps the elephants from roaming into nearby villages and damaging crops and houses. In addition to elephants, rich wild life abounds and one can view the deer, sambhur, sloth bear, fox, monitor lizard, crocodile, giant squirrel and birds including dancing peacocks. Close to the nature reserve is also the Elephant Transit Centre (Eth Athuru Sevana) where baby elephants are cared for until they are released into the wild. As in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, here too one can enjoy the sight of baby elephants being bottle-fed with milk