Haven for wild elephants
If you want to experience Asia’s finest wildlife experience you should head on to the Minneriya National Park where you can witness the largest wild elephant gathering in the world. Minneriya National Park is mostly known for its incredible elephant migration which is one of Asia’s finest wildlife experiences. The park which is 8,889.4 hectares in extent is situated 182 kilometers from Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The Minneriya National Park is located in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and was originally declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1938 and then designated as a National Park in 1997.
The Minneriya Tank which was built by King Mahasen in third century AD receives water from diversions of Amban River and Elahera canal. The wet season lasts during the north eastern monsoon from October to January. Minneriya National Park is mostly known for its incredible elephant migration during the dry season. From May to September the park is a perfect feeding ground for the elephants living in the forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts.
The park is home to two endemic monkeys of Sri Lanka: Purple-faced Langur and Toque Macaque. Rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan Leopard, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and the Gray Slender Loris is reportedly found in the park. Apart from that Minneriya National Park is the habitat of 24 species of mammals including Sri Lankan Sambar Deer and Sri Lankan Axis Deer , 160 species of birds including Lesser Adjutant, Painted Stork, and Spot-billed Pelican, 9 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 75 species of butterflies. The vegetation of the park consists of evergreen forests, chena lands, grasslands and wetlands.
The park is open from 6.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. for wildlife enthusiasts. The best time to go on bird watching safari is early morning. A late afternoon jeep safari will bring you close to the large herds of elephants as they come to drink water.