“Elephant!” The safari jeep stops. Our guide turns off the engine. It’s so quiet outside. Samara, a story hunter from the Travel Blogging Academy tries to zoom in with her eyes to spot the grey giant. There is nothing to see in the green canvas of the jungle. You can only smell elephant dung… The birds sing peacefully their songs. Suddenly something moves!
Face-to-face with the Grey Giant
Big grey ears appear from behind a tree. The Sri Lankan elephant looks me in the eyes. “Welcome to Udawalawe National Park”, says the tour guide with a smile. I hold my breath while shooting pictures from the Grey Giant. The elephant walks slowly away and disappears into the jungle. Cleaning my camera lens I prepare for the next wildlife photography.
Elephant family in the house
We ride further with the jeep but need to stop. There is a whole traffic jam caused by an elephant family. They parade on the road and look for a shadow underneath a tree. Between the grey giants, we spot something small. The animal hides between the mother’s legs. It’s a baby elephant. The mother and father elephants protect their kid and walk proudly to the lake to collect some water with their photogenic trumpets.
Plan your visit
Would you like to experience the Udawalawe national park? It’s important to plan your visit in the months from December to May. During this period it’s the dry season so it’s easier to spot the wild animals. Book your tour and accommodation in advance to be able to prepare for a whole day of story-hunting.
We stayed at Elephant Paradise Safari Bungalow:
Room price: 3 dollars per night!
Private safari: 50
Location: 96 Junction Kiripattiya Rd, Embilipitiya 70190, Sri Lanka
The right equipment can add a lot of value to your unique Udawalawe National Park experience. Remember that you are around 6 hours on safari. So it’s important to bring the right gear with you if you want to document your adventure and write later a travel blog about it. Bring with you a Lifestraw water bottle, sunscreen, binoculars, safari clothes, snacks, a DSLR Canon camera with a big lens, microphone, writing journal, GoPro, power bank, WANDRD sling bag, and pocket money to tip your guide (around 1000 – 2000 Sri Lankan rupees).
At 5 am we get up and are ready for the story-hunting expedition. The tour jeep takes us through the urban gates into the Udawalawe National Park. Inside it feels like we entered the Lion King habitat. There are no lions but the guide tells us about the rare possibility to spot a leopard. We don’t see the predator. Maybe he sees us… We are lucky to not meet him. The open jeep doesn’t look like it will provide us enough protection. However, we meet some other animals: peacocks, buffalos, eagles, colorful birds, ants, deer, turtles, crocodiles, and a fox.
Is elephant meat a delicacy? I have no idea and would never try it on my plate. It’s very important to protect elephants because they are endangered. However, an interesting fact is that the famous grey animals have a diet that looks similar to vegetarians. It’s called herbivorous. Elephants eat 95% of plants! Sometimes they swallow some ants, bugs, grubs, and bird eggs. It’s still a mystery why they are so big…
The driver invites us to take a break. We jump off the jeep. The Sri Lankan man treats us to local Ceylon tea. The Sri Lankan black brew is a tradition to drink early in the morning with the sunrise. It’s crazy to think that the camp is open to all the wildlife animals. The crocs in the river, monkeys up in the trees, and maybe a leopard in the bushes. Samara and I decide it must be safe and we start to shoot vlogs and take some pictures for the travel blog. But a special guest surprises us… A curious monkey jumps from a tree and joins us for a refreshing cup of tea!
Know before you go
Udawalawe National Park is a sanctuary of a diversity of wildlife and exotic plants. It’s important to follow the rules of the park and listen to the advice of the tour guide. Remember it’s not a Zoo. That means that if you jump off a jeep the animals can see you like a tasty meal. Also, don’t give food to de elephants, try to pet them, or leave your trash. My advice would be to bring some lightweight clothes and a dry bag as well in case it starts to rain and to protect your belongings from curious monkeys.
Check out the video
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5 thoughts on “Grey Giants at Udawalawe National Park – Sri Lanka”
What would you pack as a travel blogger for your Safari Expedition at Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka? 🙂
What a fantastic adventure. I would follow your suggestions for what to pack, but my first thing would be the cameras. Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip and your insights.
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Thank you I appreciate it! Yes, a good camera is a must! If you are a travel blogger going on safari I recommend a DSLR Canon Camera with a big lens for wildlife photography. 🙂
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Thank you for your insights!
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You are welcome Mike. 🙂