UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK
BEST FOR: Wild elephants – there are several hundred in the park.
DRIVE TIME FROM COLOMBO: 4 h ours.
WHAT’S NEARBY? Tea-plantation-covered hills.
Created to protect the watershed of the Udawalawe Reservoir, this park, just south of the central mountains, has extensive stretches of grassland as well as scrub jungle and riverine forest, it’s the best in the continent for observing Asian Elephants in the wild; sightings are highly likely. Otherwise, birdwatchers will enjoy the presence of fabulously named raptors such as the changeable hawk-eagle, serpent eagle and grey-headed fish eagle.