Minneriya is situated at the centre of cultural triangle. This place attracts a large number of visitors because of wild elephants gathering on the grass fields. Elephants have become a significant part of the park as there are over 700 wild elephants that dwell within the premises. This 3-hour game viewing opportunity in Minneriya national park will allow you to observe Asian elephants on earth, how they drink, feed, congregate and play in their natural environment and chance to observe numerous species of park wildlife!
Minneriya mainly consists of tropical dry zone evergreen forest, abandoned chena lands, grasslands and wetlands which are home to a variety of shrubs.
May to October is the best period to visit Minneriya National Park in view of the famous Gathering of the wild elephant herds. During the dry season of August to September each year, herds up to 300 elephants are seen within a few square kilometres of the vast Minneriya Reservoir. This Elephant Gathering is a thrilling spectacle that would be remembered for rest of the life of all those who were fortunate enough to witness it.
The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population thus the national park is one of the best places in the country to see wild elephants, which are often present in huge numbers, and wading birds. The elephants thrive on the Minneriya Tank; the water sustains the forest and is the main source of survival for all the other animals. The dry season, from June to September, is the best time to visit the 8,890-hectare park, when the ancient tank that dominates the area dries out and the grasses and shoots push through – during this time it is possible to see herds of up to 150 elephants feeding and washing.
The park is also home to two endemic monkeys; the purple-faced Langur and Toque Macaque. The purple-faced Langur and Toque Macaque are some of the most endangered primates in the world. It is entertaining to watch them in their habitat as these lively monkeys always swing on branches and chase each other around the trees.
Due to its many different types of vegetation and habitat, the park is also home to over 24 species of mammals have been recorded here, including leopards, sloth bear, spotted and sambar deer, wild buffalo, wild boar, three species of mongoose, porcupine, Indian pangolin, grey langers and purple-faced leaf monkey. Nine species of amphibians have been seen in the park, among them the native red-lipped lizard, water and land monitor lizards and mugger crocodiles.
Bird watching is another activity you can indulge in while at the park. You can spot over 170 species of birds, including: migrant waders such as wood and common sandpiper and Kentish plover; forest birds like the Malabar-pied hornbill, Rufus woodpecker and the globally-endangered lesser adjutant, and endemic species including Sri Lanka grey hornbill, Sri Lanka green pigeon, brown-capped babbler and Sri Lanka jungle fowl. The orange-breasted green pigeon, emerald dove and green imperial pigeon can also be seen, as well as a host of other migrating forest birds.
We provide light refreshments and water bottles during the safari.