Our pick #9
Stretching across the southern lowlands of Sri Lanka, the Udawalawe National Park has gained fame among travelers for its large herds of elephants that can easily be spotted meandering through the reserve. There is a distinct lack of forest cover at the Udawalawe Park, meaning that the landscape is rather barren during the dry season - perfect for spotting wildlife and not just large animals like elephants. Once the rain comes, the park undergoes a metamorphosis into an oasis of vivid green, peppered with sparkling lagoons and waterholes. While the main draw of this park is its elephants, a number of other animals can be found here, including buffalo, monkeys, leopards, sambar deer and crocodiles. This park is also home to the Elephant Transit Home, an orphanage for elephants who need to be supervised as they grow and develop before being released back into the wild. After release, they continue to be monitored until they have fully adapted to their new habitat.