The park is situated just south of the Central Highlands, of which escarpment brings about an enrapturing backdrop. At the center of the park lies the Udawalawe Reservoir. Udawalawe National Park established in the year 1972, with the objective of protecting the catchment area of Udawalawe reservoir,which provides water for agriculture and hydro-power generation spreads over an area 30,821, resembles an African game park: it is mainly thorny-shrub jungle with grasslands.
While the remnants of the Teak plantations that were planted at the time of the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir is scattered around, Kumbuk and the endemic Mandorang trees abound in the riverine areas.
The climate in the park is characterized by a seasonal rainfall and uniformly high temperature conditions. The average annual rainfall is about 1500mm in the south end, and it gradually increases towards the north. The annual average temperature is about 32 C.
The rainfall experienced in the Park is characterized by a bimodal pattern of distribution in both monthly and weeklty rainfall. Two rainfall peaks occur in an year, one in April- May and the other in the October – November. A short dry spell is experienced in February- March and a prolonged dry period is observed from mid May to end of September.
The temperature in the National Park situated so close to 6 N, remains high and relatively uniform throughout the year, that is extreme fluctuations of temperature do not occur within the National Park or its surroundings. The annual average temperature is about 29 C.
The Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home is an Elephant orphanage located within the Udawalawe National Park. Established in 1995 by the Department of wildlife Conservation, it is home to over 40 orphaned elephants. The orphaned calves and juveniles of the park are brought into the orphanage and raised with necessary care until such time as they could be released to their habitat. Once they are released to the park, the Park authorities take upon themselves to keep constant track of the beasts till they get used to the new life in the wild. As at the year 2008, no less than sixty-five elephants had been released to the jungle.
Udawalawe National Park – tourist info for Book Udawalawe safari; is an excellent destination to see elephants, with herds of 50 to 60 individuals regularly seen and game drives are in open-top jeeps and accompanied by local wildlife guides.
The Sri Lankan elephant, a distinct sub-species of the mainland Asian elephant of India and Thailand, is the easiest to see. Its gentle demeanor and indomitable size has made this gentle giant a much-loved wildlife icon the world over.
Although as many as 10,000 elephant roamed Sri Lanka at the turn of the century, only some 5,000 live in the wild today. This is largely to the ‘Human Elephant Conflict’ (HEC) that leads to the death of 150-200 elephants each year, causing its classification as an endangered species.
Besides elephant, other mammal species in the park include, sambar, chital and wild boar. Dry zone birdlife includes greyheaded fish eagle, black-shouldered kite, changeable hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, white-bellied sea eagle, shikra, common kestrel, brown fish owl and western marsh harrier.