Providing some amazing wildlife sightings including wild elephants, the Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka is not to be missed; here’s a quick look at what to expect.
Planning Your Visit
This national park is in the island’s north-central region, within easy reach of Polonnaruwa; properties here including Hotel Sudu Araliya provide ideal accommodation options and will help organise excursions to Minneriya as well as places to visit in Polonnaruwa. The dry season from April to October is generally the best time to visit the park.
The Elephant Gathering
The key attraction at Minneriya National Park is undoubtedly what is known as the ‘Gathering’. From July to October each year, as many as 300 elephants gather around the park’s reservoir to bathe, feed and play. It offers an unforgettable elephant safari and the chance to see these gentle giants and their young up close.
Other Wildlife Species
On your safari, you will have the chance to spot many of the park’s other animal residents too. Keep watch to see toque macaques or purple-faced langurs swinging in the trees, mugger crocodiles soaking up the sun and cautious spotted deer in the jungle. If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard.
Minneriya National Park is also ideal for birdwatching and more than 170 avifauna species have been recorded here. This includes endemic birds such as the Sri Lanka grey hornbill and Sri Lankan junglefowl. Due to the park’s reservoir, you will also see water birds such as painted storks, little cormorants and herons.