Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, Minneriya National Park’s predominant feature is the ancient, man-made Minneriya Tank (built in the 3rd century by King Mahasen). The dry season spanning from June to October to each year, is the best time to visit the park, as large herds of elephants come to bath and graze on the grass alongside the tank. Huge flocks of birds also come to nosedive into the shallow waters in search of fish.
Wild elephants from all the surrounding areas, from as far as Wasgamuwa and Kanthale congregate at the Minneriya Park due to the availability of water during the dry season. The receding waters of the tank also leave behind rich, freshly sprouting grass, which is a favorite among the elephants. While the seasonal movement of these large mammals can be observed at the onset of the dry season, the ‘gathering’ peaks between the months of July to September.
As the rainy season begins around October/ November, the reservoirs fill up; and having adequate water and food in other surrounding areas, the elephants begin to move away from Minneriya National Park.
Up to 300+ elephants including their young are known to have been seen around the tank during these months, which is why it is popularly known as the ‘Elephant Gathering’ period. If you visit Minneriya during this time of year, you will have a fascinating and unforgettable experience!
Taking the Sigiriya – Habarana road, the wildlife park is a 45 minute drive from Jetwing Vil Uyana. The afternoon is the best time to depart as the elephants go to bathe at the tank between 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
Contact the Resident Naturalist of Jetwing Vil Uyana for Elephant safaris:
firstname.lastname@example.org or +94 66 2286001