Sri Lanka is known for its beautiful greenery and wildlife, which is why a jeep safari is the perfect activity. The famous Udawalawe Safari Sri Lanka is a must do activity while you’re in the country! You’ll get to witness and admire animals such as crocodiles and elephants in their natural habitat. We did our Udawalawe Safari Sri Lanka through Holiday Lanka Tours and here’s everything you need to know!
How to get to Udawalawe
There are many different options if you’re looking to experience the Udawalawe Safari Sri Lanka. Some stay in Mirissa and get the bus there and back for the day. Others will stay in Udawalawe overnight which is what we did. To get to Udawalawe from Arugam Bay, hop on the bus to Monaragala then swap for a bus that heads to Colombo. The bus to Colombo will stop via Udawalawe. From Arugam bay we got the 9am bus.
Where to Stay in Udawalawe
The main town of Udawalawe is 13km from the park entrance and it’ll take roughly 15 minutes to drive there. One thing to be mindful of when booking accommodation in Udawalawe is that most budget hotels or guesthouses won’t let you stay unless you book a safari through them. Our reservations were cancelled on two different occasions when they found out we booked online. We’ve also heard stories of people being turned away on arrival as they’ve either already done the safari or are doing it with another company. We decided to just ask different guesthouses when we arrived and we found one that was willing to accomodate us.
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Udawalawe safari Sri Lanka price & Itinerary
We booked our safari with an online company called Holiday Lanka Tours. With Holiday Lanka Tours, a private 3-4 hour jeep for 2 costs $95 USD which should include a hotel pickup within Udawalawe. This price also includes the entrance fee into the national park. Additionally, you can pick what time you would like to do the safari. The times available are 6am-10am or 3pm-6pm. We decided to go with the early safari as we’ve heard this is the best time to view the elephants before they go into hiding away from the hot sun.
What to expect
The Udawalawe Safari Sri Lanka is such a fun and unique experience. You will get to view elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles as well as peacocks going about their day. There are plenty of elephants that roam around in the national reserve so your chances of seeing some are pretty high. We were also lucky enough to spot a family of elephants that walked right by our jeep! You’re sure to come across plenty of peacocks and other beautiful bird species perched in the trees.
The safari definitely isn’t secluded as there are plenty of other jeeps around, but this doesn’t affect your visibility of the animals. When you arrive in the morning, there is a massive line of jeeps waiting to enter the park. However once inside, most drivers will split off in different directions. Depending on your driver, some will know all the best spots for you to get up close with all the wildlife. The drivers will always look around and try spot the animals so you can pull over and take some photos. Your jeep will drive around for roughly for 3-4 hours. This gives you plenty of time to try your luck at spotting all the different animals.
Viewing the elephants up close from the comfort of your own jeep is such a unique experience and one you can’t miss!