Location: Uda Walawe is located 146km from Colombo. Uda Walawe is only 20km away from Amibilipitya, half way point, between Ratnapura and Ambalantota of Southern coast.
Reaching Uda Walawe: Uda Walawe can easily be reached from Ratnapura, if you are already in Sabaragamuwa province; it can easily be reached from Tangalla or Hambantota, if you are already in Southern province.
The setting: Uda Walawe National Park, with Uda Walawe rainwater reservoir in its center, is a catchment are immediately south of the Central Higlands of Sri Lanka. The grand escarpment at the southern edge of the hills set up a scenic background to the savanna-like plains of the park.
Wildlife: Though Uda Walawe is home to spotted deer, sambur deer, macaque and langur monkeys, crocodiles, the main attraction is he large herds of elephants.
Leopards, giant flying squirrels, jungle cats, sloth bears and porcupines are sighted too. Moreover, Uda Walawe is rich in birdlife with a wide range of aquatic birds.
The Elephant Transit Home with adult and baby elephants is located 5km west of the park entrance. They daily feeding sessions are at 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm. However you wouldn't be able to get as close and bottle feed the babies as you do at popular Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawela.
Ratnapura is the provincial capital of Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka and the Ratnapura District in which the town is situated. Located some 101 km south east of Colombo, it is the centre of a long-established industry of precious stone mining including rubies, sapphires, and other gems. Apart from gem mining, the town is known for rice and fruit cultivations. Large plantations of tea and rubber surround the town. Tea grown in this region is called low-country tea. There is a well-established tourism industry in Ratnapura. Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Udawalawe National Park, Kitulgala, and Sri pada are especially popular among tourists.
Most of the large-scale gem businessmen of Sri Lanka operate from Ratnapura. The Rattnapura town depends on the gem trade. The town's agricultural industry is also well developed. Large plantations of tea and rubber surround the town. Although rice fields also used to be a common sight around the town, rice cultivation presently faces an uncertain future in Ratnapura because many farmers are giving up their rice cultivation and switching to gem mining which is a more productive way of earning money.
The Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka contains two main cities called Ratnapura and Kegalle. At an elevation of approximately 500 feet above sea level, Ratnapura is the provincial capital of Sabargamuwa. It is 60 miles (100 km) from the main coastal city of Colombo. Province of Sabaragamuwa The gem-mining centre of Sri Lanka is also a major crossroad between southern plains and the hill country to the east.
In Sabaragamuwa province there is a route to Sri Pada from Ratnapura direction. Excursions include Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Udawalawe National Park. The route towards hill country is beautiful. The surrounding area is a popular trekking destination and a good place for bird watching.