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Minneriya National Park

Known for one of the more unique spectacles in Asia, the Minneriya National Park is a national park in Sri Lanka that is rich in diverse flora and fauna, especially with its vast wild elephant population that take shelter here. Moreover, the national park proves to be of major historical significance due to the Minneriya Tank that was built in the 3rd century BC by King Mahasen, providing precious water for various agricultural pursuits. With a combination of such natural and historical significance, missing a safari here would certainly be a pity for anyone travelling around the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Best Known For

  • Although other national parks, such as Udawalawe and Wilpattu, stand in equal terms with the Minneriya National Park, when looking at the flora and fauna, the Minneriya National Park stands out in one aspect.
  • That aspect is the wildlife, in the form of the large population of wild elephants that gather around the Minneriya Tank.
  • Aptly named as ‘the Gathering’, 200 or more Asian wild elephants gather for several weeks in one concentrated spot, the Minneriya Tank, to quench their thirst and feed on the tender grass.
  • This natural occurrence has become a known feature of the park throughout the world, since this can only be witnessed in a few special parks around the world.
  • A lesser known feature, but still quite prominent, is the large amounts of bird species that take refuge too, thus making it ideal for the bird watcher to enthrall in the many different resident species and the migrant species.

Interesting Facts

  • The Minneriya National Park also proves to be one of the older national parks in the country, as it was named a wildlife sanctuary in 1938 and was subsequently declared a national park in 1997.
  • Built during the 3rd century BC by King Mahasen, the main reason for this 8,000 hectare land to be declared as a national park was to protect the catchment of the Minneriya Tank that still proves to be vital for agriculture and also serves to be a vital feeding ground for wildlife.
  • ‘The Gathering of Elephants’ that can be experienced in the park during the months of August and September has been declared to be one of the more unique spectacles in Asia, as it boasts of one of the largest gatherings of Asian elephants in one spot to feed on the rich, tender grass and drink from the Minneriya Tank.
  • According to the Wildlife Conservation Department, 24 species of mammals, 160 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 75 species of butterflies have been recorded to take shelter in the park.
  • Due to the high number of resident and migrant bird species that take refuge in the park, the Minneriya National Park forms one of the 70 Important Bird Area (IBAs) of Sri Lanka, thus making it a haven for the bird watcher.
  • Animals such as the purple-faced langur, toque macaque, the Sri Lankan sambar deer, the Sri Lankan axis deer, the Sri Lankan leopard and the Sri Lankan sloth bear have been known to wonder about the park, further showcasing the diversity of the park’s wildlife.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The best season to visit the national park is during the dry season that spans from May to September, as ‘the Gathering’ can be seen in all its glory.
  • The park is open daily from 6.00am to 6.30pm, however, the best time to witness the sentient beings in the watering holes of the Minneriya Tank is during the morning and the evenings.
  • Apart from the ticket price, there are a few mandatory costs that have to be incurred if you are to gain full entrance since it is a safari park.
  • The first being the hiring of a 4 wheel drive jeep, along with a guide.
  • The second being the service charges and vehicle entrance fees.
  • It is best, however, to arrange a safari through your accommodation provider to make it all the more easier.
  • Remember to be clad in a few layers, if you are venturing in the morning and it would be a shame to not have your camera with you.
  • Always adhere to the advise of the tour guide and adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the authorities.
  • Refrain from bringing polythene and do not pollute the surroundings.

Sri Lanka is home to many national parks, however, not all national parks possess unique features that are known throughout the world, so what are you waiting for? Grab your binoculars and camera and partake in an adventurous safari at the Minneriya National Park.

Title image by: Minneriya National Park The information displayed is provided by Minneriya National Park

Season

May - September

Tickets

Adults
LKR 2,380
Children
LKR 1,270

Tickets At

Type

Nature and Outdoors

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