If you love wildlife safaris and getting up close with nature, especially elephants, then the Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka is the place for you!
The Minneriya National Park can be found in the island’s North Central Province and is around a five hour drive from the commercial capital, Colombo. For faster access one can make use of an air taxi in Sri Lanka including those offered by Cinnamon Air; it entails a 35 minute flight to Sigiriya and you can easily head to the park from there.
One of the key draws at Minneriya is an annual event known as “The Gathering”. It is the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants and one has the chance of sometimes seeing up to 300 of these gentle giants! The dry season, usually from around June to September is generally the best time to witness this.
The Minneriya Reservoir which can be found here attracts many water birds including species like the spot-billed pelican, painted stork and grey heron. An ideal spot for birdwatching, the park is also home to endemic avifauna such as the Sri Lankan junglefowl, Sri Lanka grey hornbill and brown-capped babbler.
Those embarking on a wildlife safari at Minneriya National Park have much more to see as well. Leopards, sambar deer, sloth bears, toque macaques, porcupines, wild buffaloes and diverse butterfly species all call this park home and may be spotted when here.