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udawalawe national park safari

Behold, the mighty Walawe Kota!

Meet a very unique Sri Lankan elephant


Big bull elephants like Sando and Gemunu may rule the roost at Udawalawe National Park, but their size is no match for the huge spirit of Walawe Kota, the Corgi of the elephant world! Kota is the world’s first documented dwarf elephant in the wild, but that doesn’t seem to bother him at all. Having limbs that are disproportionately short relative to the body, should be a disadvantage; and in a world of hungry predators and rivals weighing several tonnes, the five foot tall Kota shouldn’t have been able to survive. But against all odds, he's survived and thrived as well!


Fun Facts

Walawe Kota is best described as a fearless soul. In fact, when he was discovered back in 2013, he was in the process of taking on another bull elephant twice his size and… he won! He truly lives the mantra of ‘size doesn’t matter’ and has become quite famous in the years since, with every sighting being celebrated by his growing legion of fans. Kota suddenly disappeared at the beginning of this year, giving rise to rumours of capture or an untimely death; but much to the relief of his fans and conservationists alike, he turned up at the Park again last month!


Story of the Photo

Elephant sightings are quite common around the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Udawalawe, but Walawe Kota keeps a low profile (pun intended). So the best way to see him, would be to go on safari just like Raveendra Siriwardena, who got this awesome shot of Kota in ‘musth’ (aggressive with elevated testosterone levels) in late 2017.




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Much more than just a great place to stay

"Thanks to our guide Avinka we had five great safaris staying four nights just after reopening this February. The staff made us feel so very welcome during the entire stay.

The safaries are just wonderful, and having a great guide in your vehicle makes a big difference. Avinka can spot animals you would never see and we were even lucky enough to sight leopards on the trees, close to our vehicle, and also running through the field. The wildlife is so exciting that you will have a great experience even if you don‘t see any leopards. We also had a great driver, which is essential if you drive through difficult territory. You are being taken care of the entire time, so even for those who do safaris for the first time, you will always feel safe.

The camp itself is very comfortable, you get everything you can think of, and on top of the great food being served with so much attention and friendliness. You also get wonderful vegetarian and vegan options. They put on bonfires at night, which makes it unforgettable.
When booking and making plans, you get great support from the headquarters, even if it gets difficult since you have to change your plans.
The best thing what can happen to you at the end of a vacation is when you are a bit sad to leave the place, having experienced something to remember forever, and the team does everything for this to happen. Thank you so much"

Axel S wrote, Traveled with family
January 2021

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