If you’ve always wanted to go on safari then I have news for you, you do not need to visit South Africa and drop thousands of pounds anymore! Yay! Sri Lanka is home to many National Parks which offer untouched and protected land for some of the most beautiful animals in the world. These National Parks are home to many elephants, leopards, monkeys, alligators and so many more. There was no way I was going to visit Sri Lanka and not partake in viewing these beautiful creatures happily roaming their natural habitat.
As I factored our safari trip in between Ella and moving down South, the perfect location was Udawalawe. I had read that Udawalawe has the most amount of elephants per acre so I was more than happy with this option. There are about 5 leopards in Udawalawe so you’ll be very, very lucky to get any sighting but if you really want to see one, Yala is a better option as they have around 25 in the park.
One thing I was toying with before going was whether to do a morning safari, afternoon or go whole hog and go all day. As we were travelling between the two locations and stopped off, it was only logical to do the morning safari. We arrived about 8am for our three hours, it was a very hot day and unfortunately that meant a lot of the animals and all the female elephants were hiding. We did however see a few male elephants lonely wandering, many buffalo, crocodiles, a jackal and many birds.
I did a lot of research online before going and was going to pre-book a car for the journey but something told me it would be easy enough once we were there. In Ella, we found a tour guide and managed to book him for the next morning to pick us up from our hotel, drive us to the safari, wait for us and take us down south to our next hotel – amazing! You can obviously do a trip where you start and end at the same location but this worked best for us. We were picked up around 6am and arrived down South by midday.
To give you a run down of the important stuff, we paid for our driver and the safari separately. The driver will take you to the gate and then you pay the safari who pop you in a jeep and off you go. You pay less the more people are in your jeep but we went as only the two of us, so the price may differ slightly. You have a worker in your jeep with you who works alongside the driver to ensure they point out everything and stop when necessary. They work on tips and will blatantly ask for one when you stop, they will also tell you if it’s not enough! We paid 12500LKR for the driver which is circa £53.42 and 16000LKR for entry to the safari which is £68.38. This is between two, a lot cheaper than the £100 per person I saw on Viator before we went!
Overall a brilliant morning and one we’ll never forget. Enjoy the ride, don’t worry if you don’t see massive groups of elephants like you see in the Instagram photos and be prepared for a bumpy ride!