Udawalawe National Park
Udawalawe national Park is a one of the most famous and greatest among all the national parks in Sri Lanka. This is an important protected area that is a home to a considerable flora and fauna and also it is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants and water birds. This national park lies on the boundary of Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces. The park is 165 kilometers [103mi] away from capital city Colombo. Udawalawe national park was declared on 30th June 1972 at a ceremony presided over by ministry of shipping and tourism. [government Gazette Notification No :14] . This park was done at the end of the Udawalawe Reservoir Project. The primary objective of this designating it as a national park is to protect the catchment areas and to create refuge for wild elephants. A second reservoir, Maw Ara tank, was constructed between 1991 & 1998 in the national park.
The total extent of the Udawalawe National Park is 30,821 hectares [119 sq mi] including the water reservoir, which covers for 3405 hectares at full capacity. The Udawalawe national park is connecting to Lunugamwehera National Park in the Southeast. The Southern boundary of the national park is defined by the Udawalawe Thanamalwila road. To the South of the road is the sewanagala sugar plantation. Before the designation of the Udawalawe national park, this area was used by the people for shifting cultivation [Chena farming]. After being designated as a National Park, people moved to places. Today Udawalawe National Park has been a one of the major and popular tourist destination and also third most visited national park in Sri Lanka
Physical features of Udawalawe National Park
Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of dry and wet zones in Sri Lanka. As a result, the park has a wide variety of eco systems. National park encompasses the two major drainage basins of the ‘walawe’ river and ‘maw ara’. This land is an undulating plain at about 100 meters in elevation, rising to 373 meters at the foothills. Kalthota range ane Diyawini falls are located to the north of Udawalawe national park.
Soil of the Udawalawe national park have been developed from residual alluvial parent materials. This soil includes low humic clays, reddish brown earths, solodized solonetz. The boundaries of western & northern of the park is closed to the transition zone with the highland or khondalite series. Most of the park is occupied by a variety of gneisses & granites.
Climate of Udawalawe National Park
A large part of Udawalawe National Park lies in the dry zone. So annual temperature is about 27-28° C [81-82°F]. Annual rainfall is 1500 millimeters. Most of the rainfall is given during the monsoon seasons, the northwest monsoon is in October, November and the Southwest monsoon is in the April, May. During the day time, related humidity can range from