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Minneriya National Park

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Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Bandaranaike International Airport Check Flights

"For The Love of Elephants!"

Minneriya National Park Tourism

The Minneriya National Park is in the Northern province of Sri Lanka, four hours away from Colombo, and 30 minutes away from Sigiriya. The national park is famous for its herds of elephants migrating for food, water and shelter, and forming a 'gathering' that can be witnessed by the visitors. The dry season is the best time to visit this place, as the majestic elephants migrate to the Minneriya Tank for water. Apart from elephants, the national park is also home to several mammals, birds, reptiles, and different kinds of plant species. Minneriya National Park comes under the dry zone, meaning, it receives less rainfall compared to the other areas in the country.

The main attraction of this national park is the annual 'Gathering' of herds of elephants. During the dry season, these humongous creatures migrate from warmer to colder lands in search of water. This period is when visitors can book a safari and witness this grand event. Many species of birds and animals that are local to Sri Lanka are seen here. Remember to time your visit correctly, according to your desired attraction. You can book your stay at Sigiriya itself, so travelling to Minneriya gets easier. There are jeeps and guides available at the National Park, to help you roam around. Remember to wear comfortable clothes, and keep the National Park clean.

The Minneriya National Park was first declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. It was then designated as a National Park to conserve the flora and fauna that surrounded the Minneriya Tank. The Minneriya Tank is one of the most important historical elements of the national park. It was built by King Mahasena and derives water from the Amban River, and the Elahera Canal. Usually, during the dry season, animals migrate to Minneriya for water and food. Due to the various plant and animal species thriving in the national park, it has multiple habitats, ranging from wetlands to forests, to scrublands. 





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Fauna at Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park has a vast variety of various species of flora and fauna which attracts many tourists and locals. However, it is best known for the elephants which flock from the nearby villages, and if you are lucky, you will be able to witness this beautiful spectacle. There are around 24 different species of animals which include Elephants, Leopards, Sloth Bear, Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, Wild Buffalo, Wild Pig, Grey Langers, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, three species of Mongoose, Porcupine and Indian Pangolin. The park also has a rich variety of birds of over 170 different species to leave you awestruck and amazed. You are sure to come across some rare species of birds such as Wood sand Piper, Common Sandpiper & Kentish Plovers to forest birds like Malabar-pied Hornbills, Rufus Woodpecker the globally endangered Lesser Adjutant and the endemics Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Brown-capped Babbler, and Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl are some of the highlights. Apart from the mammals and birds, the park also is home to some amphibians and reptiles. The park has over 25 different species of wildlife which include rare and endangered species like the Red-lipped Lizard, Water and Land Monitors slithering to give you a slimy experience.

Flora at Minneriya National Park

The park not only boasts of its unique and abundant species of animals but is also rich in vegetation which mostly is a mixture of dry evergreen forests, grasslands, and wetlands. The park is covered with small shrubs all over the place to set your eyes on something green throughout the park.

History of Minneriya National Park

This small town located in the northern province of Sri Lanka is famous for the great Minnerya lake which was built by the King Mahasen. The lake is recently redone, which makes it an attractive spot for tourists. Apart from housing the beautiful Minneriya National Park it is also a training centre for the Military Police for the Sri Lankan Army. The area was designated as a national park in 1997 and had been declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938.

Safari Tours and Packages at Minneriya National Park

The best way to enjoy the park is through safari tours, the park offers some customized tours, but it also gives you the flexibility to customize your visits according to your likes. Minneriya Safari Tour (Morning- 6 am): The tour offers a pickup and drops service from the hotel in a private jeep safari along with a professional jeep driver. The safari would cover Minneriya / Habarana / Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa / Dambulla & Kandalama. The tour also includes the entrance fees of the park along with the driver and jeep along with parking charges plus tax. The morning tour has the advantage of seeing birds like peacocks, eagles, parrots, and about 20% of the elephant gathering. If you are lucky, you may also sight deer, rabbits and a sloth bear or even a leopard. Minneriya Safari Tour (Afternoon- 3 pm): The tour offers a pickup and drops service from the hotel in a private jeep safari along with a professional jeep driver. The safari would cover Minneriya / Habarana / Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa / Dambulla & Kandalama. The tour also includes the entrance fees of the park along with the driver and jeep along with parking charges plus tax. The Evening tour comes with the advantage of visualizing a more massive elephant gathering. You may also see animals like wild buffalo, crocodiles, iguana, and monkeys, accompanied by birds like peacock, eagles, and pelicans.

Geography

The Minneriya National Park is situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, meaning, it does not receive much rainfall as compared to other parts of the country. Hence, living creatures have to conserve moisture. The primary water source here is the Minneriya Tank, that obtains water from the Amban River, and the Elahera Canal. The average temperature ranges between 20.6°C and 34.5°C; hence, the climate is mostly moderate. The monsoon lasts from October to January, and the area receives up to 79 inches of rainfall. The national park has a variety of habitats for the living creatures - forests, scrubland, wetlands, grasslands, etc.

How To Reach

The best way to get to the Minneriya National Park is by car. If you plan on staying in Colombo, the ride will take you approximately four hours. We recommend that you stay at Sigiriya since the national park is only 30 minutes away from there.

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