Asia, Sri Lanka, Travel Themed Photography 14

Abundance of wildlife in Yala and Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka

This is a guest post by Sanadina and Christian who were featured in our Off the Radar Travel Interviews on their travels to Cape Verde, Africa. They have travelled all over the world, Sanadina to more than 40 countries and have continued to travel extensively with their daughter Samsara since she was 6 weeks old. She is now an experienced 5 year old world traveller who has been to more than 24 countries herself. She has seen the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle, braved the raw beauty of Iceland in winter and hiked for hours in Petra, Jordan! 

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At Kandi, Sri Lanka

In this guest post, they tell us about the amazing wildlife they experienced whilst visiting two National Parks in Sri Lanka – Yala National Park and Udawalawe National Park.  In my experience, I always hear people always go on about the wonderful beaches, friendly people, great food and culture one can experience in Sri Lanka – and whilst these guys did experience all that and more – it is this part of their 2 week Sri Lanka trip that has captivated me the most and put Sri Lanka top of our list when we head to Asia next year!

Give us some background on the National Parks you have been to:

Udawalawe National Park is located 165 kilometres from Colombo. It is an important habitat for water birds and elephants and is very popular as a good birdwatching site. The safari takes about 5 hours.  Yala National Park is the most popular and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. If you are lucky you can see the leopard and the sloth bear here! The Safari takes about 7 hours.  Even though you have more chances of seeing the leopards and bears in a longer safari, the 7 hour felt very long and we were extremely tired by the end of it.

Did you have a preference of one park over the other?

Everyone recommends Yala national park but we thought Udawalawe national park was a real paradise for birds and animals. Elephants are in abundance in this national park, and the landscape is amazing even if your chances of seeing the leopards or sloth bears are less. It was truly wonderful but you can decide by yourself after looking at our unfiltered pictures 🙂








Sloth Bear

Sloth Bear







Udawalawe National Park


Where did you stay during your visit to the National Parks? Who did you do the Safari with?

 It is not possible to do both the parks on the same day so we stayed at the Blue Turtle Hotel which cost about £50 for the three of us per night. I would call this a budget accommodation here.

We used a company called Shehan safaris, they offer private jeep tours to both the safaris. The cost of both the safaris for 3 people were USD 320. They can also arrange a taxi to and from hotel. We had a very good taxi driver.

When is the best time to visit?

Best times to visit the national parks is from March to October which is the dry season in the East. From November the national parks are closed and is classed as the wet season in this area.

Coastal Village Yala

Coastal Village at Yala

What was it like doing a safari with young children?

We found that travelling with a young child can be very enjoyable when going to a safari. You seem to have a renewed interest in the flora and fauna around you, perhaps something which you would have ignored otherwise. Having a jeep to yourself also means you can get comfortable even if the terrain is anything but! Samsara took naps during both the safaris. So in the end, she was the least tired. We were far more knackered!



A point to note: We have not been to any African safaris and many families that have been had said the Sri Lankan ones were a let down. So if you are in the same boat as us and have no other ones to compare, I am sure you will love it like we did! If possible hire a guide since there are a lot of local birds and plants which they can point you towards.
The Selim Family Raasta

natures notes

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  • bettyl-NZ says: December 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    What great animals to see that you wouldn’t otherwise! As for what others say, sometimes, people should just appreciate things for what they are and not what they are not!

  • Ruth - Tanama Tales says: December 11, 2015 at 2:21 am

    I have a soft spot for watching wildlife. It is incredible to number of species you guys were able to observe. I have heard about Yala National Park but not about the other park. Great to know that is “the spot” to watch wildlife.

  • budget jan says: December 11, 2015 at 4:13 am

    We’ve not been on an African Safari and I’m sure we would love these two. Especially seeing the elephants and monkeys.

  • Ramblingwoods says: December 11, 2015 at 4:16 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this guest post with Nature Notes… I would be thrilled to see that wildlife. That is a wonderful family adventure for them…Michelle

  • Amanda says: December 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    If love the little green frogs 😃

  • Amanda says: December 11, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Love the little green frogs 🐸

  • Marcia says: December 12, 2015 at 2:26 am

    A safari in Zimbabwe taught me new respect for animals, showed me that even the most dangerous have their soft sides.
    That elephant in your photo looks like it has a pattern on his ears. They’re such graceful animals, despite their size. Sloth bears are new to me, had to look them up.

  • Anda says: December 12, 2015 at 6:53 am

    What a lovely trip Sanadina and Christian took. I’ve never even dreamed of going to Africa. It seems so far away and remote and for some reason I don’t feel it’s quite safe. I have to say though, it looks very enticing.

    • says: December 12, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      This is Sri Lanka Anda, not in Africa 🙂 It does look enticing doesn’t it! cant wait to go ourselves!

  • Carol Colborn says: December 12, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    That is quite interesting that a safari in Sri Lanka can comparee to one in Africa. And with a child should be much more interesting because of his or her wild enjoyment of the animals in their natural habitat!

  • Linda Bibb says: December 13, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    I enjoyed your photos. To be honest, I was not aware of either of these parks before, or some of the animals that live on Sri Lanka. Having not been on any African safaris, I’m sure I’d enjoy both.

  • Yvonne @ Lost with Yvonne says: December 16, 2015 at 12:17 am

    I love national parks! And the animals are just so beautiful! I’d love to visit this place!

  • Clare Thomson (Suitcases and Sandcastles) says: December 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    These photos are gorgeous! It’s a great guide to visiting what looks like a wonderful national park.

  • Packing my Suitcase says: January 1, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Amazing photos, especially the elephant ones. Sri Lanka must be amazing, so right in wildlife.
    I hope to visit it someday, I didn’t know you could do a safari there.

    Happy New Year and thank you for linking up with #MondayEscapes 🙂

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