Time Out says
An ideal place to see elephants in large numbers.
is an awe-inspiring site from which to experience Sri Lanka’s wilderness and unique wildlife. Along the border of Udawalawe reservoir, the park extends over 30,000 hectares with almost unparalleled diversity and a sheer number of animals.
In 1972, this area was declared a national park principally to accommodate elephants that
were displaced by the irrigation development under the Udawalawe reservoir. Today it is a paradise for the giant mammals. Visitors can grab a pair of binoculars and stay ensconced in a safari jeep to sight the large resident population of wild Asian elephants.
Udawalawe is one of the best places for watching birds where species including Black-winged
Kite, Asian Openbill, Black-capped Kingfisher, Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle and Brown Fish Owl can be seen. The vast open plains are a reward to predatory birds such as Sea Eagles, Brahminy Kites, and Black-shoulder Kites who watchfully soar across the sky as they await a prey. The park is also home to many vagrants such as White Wagtail, European Bee Eater, and European Roller. Udawalawe is a habitat for an abundance of exalting animals including sloth bears, sambar deer, wild boar and junglefowl. Count on your luck for you could even spot reclusive leopards strutting around the scrublands or hidden by foliage on trees.
The blue waters of the Walawe river are abounding in shoals of fish and invigorates a distinct wildlife experience. Along the banks of the reservoir and the waterholes scattered throughout the park are crocodiles basking in the sun, water buffalo wallowing in muddy waters and the picturesque sight of herds of elephants wandering against the spectacular sunset.