Embilipitiya is a small village in southern Sri Lanka situated 158km from Colombo and is the easiest base for Udawalawe Wildlife Sanctuary. The third most visited National Park in the island, Udawalawe is a myriad of interesting flora and fauna helped by the presence of the Udawalawe reservoir on the Walawe river, the surrounding marshes, forests and grasslands.
The park is most famous residents are400 or so elephants. During a visit, it is not unusual to see whole herds of adults and young elephants. Macaques and langur monkeys remain in uncleared jungle in the park’s northern section whilst water buffalo and spotted (axis), barking, sambar, and tiny mouse deer tend to frequent the southern, formerly agricultural land. The waterways are home to crocodiles, a myriad of butterflies, and many birds including an endemic Sri Lankan subspecies of jungle fowl, spurfowl, gray hornbills, and red-faced malkohas.
Udawalawe National reservoir was constructed by the damming of the Walawe Ganga, which flows to the south starting from the Samanala ranges. The habitat surrounding the reservoir includes marshes, the Walawe river and its tributaries, forests and grasslands Green algae and blue green algae grow in the reservoir. As the area was formerly a farming region, there is plenty of open grassland which makes spotting elephants easy. There is a plantation of teak beyond the southern boundary, below the dam, which was planted before the declaration of the park.