Minneriya National Park
Sri Lanka’s biodiversity is an amazing feat of nature. We truly have it all, including multiple different ecosystems in close proximity to each other, leading to flora and fauna from across the spectrum coexisting with one and other.
Located in Rambawilla (about 19km from Sigiriya), Minneriya National Park is well-known for its elephant gathering. This event is the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants and takes place between August and September annually.
About 300 elephants gather at the Minneriya reservoir, and it’s akin to a rather large family event where baby elephants frolic and the older ones watch with wise eyes while they socialise. But this doesn’t mean you can’t spot elephants all year round at the park because you certainly can! You can also see some of Sri Lanka’s endemic fauna, including the purple-faced langur (Semnopithecus vetulus) and the Sri Lankan junglefowl (Gallus lafayettii).
Officially designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, it spans an area of 8,889ha. It’s a mix-and-match of multiple habitats, from scrublands to wetlands, and low-canopy montane forests. Due to this, you can spot a variety of critters at the national park, including 24 mammal species, about 160 species of birds, 9 of amphibians, 75 species of butterflies, 25 of reptiles, and 26 species of fish. Its flora, too, is significant, with sacred figs, eucalyptus, crown flower plants and crotons spread far and wide across the park.
And if you’re eager to explore as much as the park as possible in order to get a peek at the many species it houses, we’d recommend you book a safari!