From Ella we went straight to the Uda Walawe National park with a taxi (our first and only time), because he said he drove some tourists to Ella, and will give us a ride back for half-price. So, we paid 3000LKR and he took us straight to our apartment in Udawalawa. We rented a room in Greenwood Udawalawa Safari Resort, via Booking.com of course, mostly because they were also selling safari trips to the park. The whole complex is sharing a fence with the park, so there were some elephants just next to our Resort.
As soon as we arrived we got a welcome drink, freshly squeezed juice, which was more than welcome in this humidity and heat, we quickly unpacked and went to visit the orphanage called »Elephant transit home«. At the time of our visit they had around 30 elephants, mostly rescued and hurt, which they release in the wild after hopefully succesfully being healed. Entrance fee is only 500LKR. But here you can only observe the elephants, you can not ride them or wash them-we kind of liked that!
So, the next morning, we went on to the Udawalawe National Park. The jeep was waiting for us at 5:20 AM, which took us to the park entrance, about 15km away-it was quite a sunrise, riding in the jeep, with the morning myst… So, we were in the jeep all the way through the park, at no time, were we allowed to get off-it is supposed to be too dangerous. There was a lot of peacocks, water buffallos, crocodiles, monkeys, and many different birds. But wait, there’s more, we were quite lucky and passed by a few elephant families, with their young ones, a few mighty elephants on their own and so on. The entrance fee to the park is 3000LKR/person and the jeep was 1500LKR/person.
We came back to our resort at around 12:30 PM, ate our »breakfast«, and together with two more couples went on to the South and down to the beaches. The southern part was clear of the monsoon by now, so the weather was supposed to be perfect. Tangalla here we come.