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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Srilanka’s Minneriya National Park: Go here for big elephant gatherings!

No holiday to Srilanka is complete without a glimpse of its wild side! After all, one of the highlights of a visit to this tropical island nation is its rich and diverse wildlife. Yala National Park on the south east corner is famous for its leopards, Horton Plains near Nuwara Eliya is popular for its waterfalls and views, Sinharaja in the heart is known for its rare rainforest species and birds of paradise and Minneriya in the north central region, is known for its massive elephant gatherings.

An elephant portrait from Minneriya National Park, Srilanka
If you are exploring the cultural trails of North Central Srilanka, then you should pay a visit to Minneriya National Park. And if you wish to see massive congregations of wild elephants, you should definitely have Minneriya National Park in your Srilanka itinerary.

The thrill of getting real close to the wild elephant at Minneriya National Park, Srilanka
After all, this is the place that attracts herds in numbers of 100 to 200 during the dry season. And provides a definite elephant sighting during all seasons. And that is not all! Minneriya is one of the more important bird sanctuaries of Sri Lanka that is home to a lot of waterfowl and endemic species. So whether you like big mammals or birds, this place is ideal for you.

An elephant crossing at Minneriya National Park, Srilanka
Surrounding the catchment area of Minneriya tank, this national park is made up of diverse vegetation that includes montane forests, secondary forests, bamboo, scrublands, grasslands, rocky outcrops and wetlands. The best part about this park is that it is nicely tucked amidst all of North Central Srilanka’s cultural gems.

An aerial view of a wild safari experience at Minneriya National Park, Srilanka
So, whether you are exploring Dambulla’s Rock temple, Sigriya’s ancient city and ruins, the ruins of Anuradhapura, the countryside of Habarana or trekking upto Pidurangala to catch the sunrise over Sigriya, you are not too far away from a rich experience in Srilanka’s wild. Such a wild experience in the laps of mother nature, would give you a welcome break from ruins, history and culture. And may be it will help to charge your batteries to explore more ruins and more cultural attractions.

Baby elephant spotted during a jeep safari in Minneriya National Park, Srilanka
This wild experience would entail you taking a landrover jeep with a forest guide and criss-crossing the brown jungle trails in search of that massive elephant herd. While you are on your jeep safari, you might come across sambar deer, sloth bears, the Srilankan junglefowl, the Srilankan Grey Hornbill, the Saltwater crocodile, the Asian Elephant and many other animal and bird species. And you can consider yourself mighty lucky if you see more than 100 elephants in one gorgeous view. After all, this is the specialty of this national park.

A Minneriya National Park special safari moment when you get close to the wild elephant
All you would need is a good pair of binoculars, a camera and an urge to be one with Srilanka’s wild. If you are going for elephants, the dry season would be the best time. For birdwatchers, winter months would be your best bet.

Watching a young herd of elephants graze in the grasslands of Minneriya National Park, Srilanka
Even though Polonnaruwa is your nearest city, I feel Habarana offers a more laidback retreat option. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway from Colombo or a more relaxed holiday in this North Central corridor of Srilanka, Minneriya, along with the cultural gems of this region should keep you captivated all along!



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