National Parks – Udawalawe & Yala

After a steep descent from the hill country we arrived at the 30,000 hectares Udawalawe National Park (200m), an ideal place to view elephants at close range. In our first 15 minutes in the park we spotted two herds of elephants, a jackal, peacocks, buffalo, a crocodile and a pair of bright green parrots. Off to a good start!

A herd of elephants in the Udawalawe National Park

This old bull was not friendly!

Elephants use their trunks to feel for the bottom when crossing muddy water

Throwing dust to get rid of flies

Painted Stork fishing

Got one!

Indian Roller

Looks like the buffalo enjoys the mud

Sri Lankan deer

Croc sunning itself

Storks nesting high in a dead tree

Buffalo at dusk

Kottu – roti, vegetables, eggs and chicken curry finely chopped at high speed is a dinner staple


Yala National Park is the second largest National Park in Sri Lanka.  It sits on the Indian Ocean to the South East on Sri Lanka and contains the highest density of leopards in the world.  We didn’t see any leopards, but on an early morning walk we spotted tracks of elephant, bear and leopard all within 50 metres of our hotel – maybe that is why you need a guard to take you from your cabin to the dining room after dark!  We were there in the hot dry season.  Many birds and mammals are drawn to the few remaining waterholes.

Friday is considered a lucky wedding day in Sri Lanka

Beware of elephants when entering the Chaaya Wild Hotel in the Yala NP – run if you see one!

Egg hopper for breakfast – wafer thin pancake made in a bowl shape with an egg cooked in it and …

… filled with curries of your choice

The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami deposited this statue on the beach

Traditional fishing boats look too fragile for the surf on the rocks here

Wild pigs roam the hotel grounds at dusk

Heron sitting on a water buffalo in the lake near the hotel

Bird looking for food in the lake

White Breasted Kingfisher

There are lots of Palm Squirrels around the hotel

The croc has his eye on the heron!

Beautiful fly catchers

There are a lot of peacocks

Elephants love the water lilies

Like mother – like daughter

Unfortunately we didn’t see any leopards, but we did see the tracks 50 meters from the hotel