Minneriya is a small town situated in North Central Province in Sri Lanka. The value of Minneriya town combines two factors, one is the great Minneriya lake built by King Mahasen and Minneriya National Park which is a hot spot for safari lovers because of its abundance of elephants. Furthermore, it is near the tourist-friendly Habarana and the world heritage sites Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya. Minneriya is located 182 km away from Colombo.
Minneriya National Park
The Minneriya National Park area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The reason for declaring the area as protected is the heritages location of Minneriya and to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD.
When considering the weather in Minneriya, the area is situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and receives an average rainfall of 1,500–2,000 millimeters. The lowest temperature and highest of the park are 20.6 °C and 34.5 °C respectively. The main sources of water for the tank are a diversion of Amban River and Elahera canal. The wet season lasts during the northeastern monsoon from October to January and from May to September considered as the dry season. The main flora in Minneriya is of several types, including low-canopy montane forests, intermediate high-canopy secondary forests, scrublands, abandoned china lands, grasslands, rocky outcrops, and wetlands.
The major city closest to Minneriya National Park is Polonnaruwa. May to October is the best period to visit the beauty of Minneriya National Park in view of the famous Gathering of the wild elephant herds. The gathering is documented as the largest known meeting place of Asian Elephants in the world. During the dry season of August to September each year, herds up to 300 elephants are seen within a few square kilometers of the vast Minneriya Reservoir. Some reports account a number of elephants to as high as 700. This Elephant Gathering is a thrilling spectacle that would be remembered for the rest of the life of all those who were fortunate enough to witness it.
They migrate here from Wasgamuwa National Park and benefit from food and shelter of the park’s forest. Tourists visit Minneriya largely because of elephants, especially in dry season.
Besides Elephants, the park is especially known for its wildlife in Minneriya. Minneriya National Park has recorded over 170 species of birds. From Migrating waders like Woods and Piper, Common Sandpiper to forest birds like Malabar-pied Hornbills, Rufus Woodpecker the globally endangered lesser adjutant and the endemics Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill and Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl are some of the highlights. Among the 24 species of mammals resident in the park are Elephants, Leopards, Sloth Bear, Sambar Deer, Wild Buffalo, Wild Pig, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and three species of Mongoose. Among the nine species of Amphibians at Minneriya National Park are the endemic and endangered Slender Wood Frog and the Common Tree Frog. Of the 25 species of reptiles recorded in the park, 8 are endemic including the Red-lipped Lizard. Water and Land Monitors are also seen here. Many species of freshwater fish are found in the Minneriya reservoir.
Due to the huge reservoirs of grassy fields and lovely wildlife of the park, it gains a lot of tourists’ attraction from all over the world to travel, safari and camping. Safari in Minneriya and camping are the two biggest adventurous activities of the park and people from throughout the world gather in the summer seasons while the park remains empty during the winters. Safari Camping in Sri Lanka is an ideal way to savor the splendor of the island from one of the many spots available for such camps. Observing nature and diversity in Minneriya is greatly done in such camps, whether its fauna, flora, bird watching or even interacting with the local indigenous people “Veddha’s”. Minneriya National Park has no accommodation facilities within its boundaries. But the cities close to Minneriya National Park– Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Habana, and Giritale- are clustered with luxury hotels and lodges
There are a number of exciting things to do in Minneriya. From historical sites to cultural attractions, explore the exhaustive list of all other people attractions in Minneriya. Discover new places to see and unique things to do nearby Minneriya. Don’t miss out on these amazing sights at Minneriya.