Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park is situated approximately 180 Km from the Commercial city of Colombo. It is 104 Km from the scared city of Kandy. The national park is located in the North Central province and the closest city is Polonnaruwa. Closet town is Habarana, just ten minutes’ drive.

The national park covers an area of 8889.4 ha.

In August 1997, the area was designated as a National park, but originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The tank (Minneriya tank) has a historical importance; it is built by the King Mahasen in third century AD.

Minneriya_National_Park_In_Sri_Lanka

Minneriya rainwater reservoir is the crucial point of the national park. Minneriya National park is part of the elephant corridor which joins up with the Kaudulla National Park and Wasgamuwa National park. Due to this reason Minneriya National park gives a great opportunity to watch herds of wild elephants throughout the year. May to October is reckoned to be the greatest time to visit Minneriya National park to view the wild elephant gathering.

Main Attraction of the park

Wild elephant gathering at the tank is the focal attraction of the Minneriya National park. During the dry season the area is a feeding ground for the wild elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee districts. Elephants gathered on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season can amount around 150 – 200. A jeep safari is the most appropriate method for site seeing at Minneriya National Park.

Minneriya National Park
Minneriya National Park

Climate at the National Park

The national park is located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Therefore it receives an average annual rainfall of 1500 – 2000 mm. Temperature range from 20.6 C and 34.5 C respectively. Elehara canal and the Amban river are the main resources of water for the tank. The wet season is from October to January, where North Eastern monsoon prevail.

Wildlife

The national park is considered to have 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.

National park is an important habitat for purple-faced langur and torque macaque, which are endemic monkey species of Sri Lanka.

Minneriya is a dormitory for many local and migrant birds. Great white-pelican, ruddy turnstone and grey heron can be seen. Also endemic bird species such as Sri Lanka jungle fowl, Sri Lanka hanging parrot, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, black-crested bulbul and crimson-fronted barbet were reported. 11 number of threatened birds species were also reported from the national park.

There are 8 species of endemic reptiles and all are considered as threatened. Saltwater crocodile, Indian python, Asian water monitor, Painted-lip lizard and Bengal monitor are the reptile species found at the park.

Sri Lanka

North Central province

Polonnaruwa

August 12, 1997

Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla National Park is one of the best national parks to spot Elephants in Sri Lanka. It is located in the district of Polonnaruwa in North Central Province. And it is about 190 km from the commercial city of Colombo. Also it is nearly 120 Km from the sacred city of Kandy. 

The national park can be reached by Colombo – Trincomalee main road. Its entrance is positioned 22 Km North of Habarana.

Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla National Park is the best park to go on a safari to watch Elephants. Safari jeeps are available throughout the day, but the most preferred time is the evening. Evening is less busy and elephants can be spotted. A tour can be completed within 4 to 5 hours.

National park is a dry green forest which spread over an area of nearly 6700 hectares. Park includes Relapanawa reservoir, Olumadu Wewa reservoir, Puliyan Kalla Wewa reservoir, Minneriya – Kanthale Yoda Ela canal and Aluth Oya stream. Since all these situated closely to each other, park get submerged in water for several months in the year.

Climate of the Park

The national parks annual average rainfall amounts between 1500 mm – 2000 mm. North-Eastern monsoon is the main source of rain. During the period of April – October a dry weather condition prevails at the park. The average annual temperate fluctuates between 20 C – 35 C.

A herd of elephants
Kaudulla National Park
Kaudulla National Park © TripAdvisor

Wildlife at the park

Main attraction of the Kaudulla National Park is the herd of Elephants. At times the herd comprises 200+ Elephants. September and October are the best times to visit and enjoy the sight of large herd of Elephant. As per the sources in 2008, 211 of elephants were counted at the national park. Other than that 23 species of Mammals, such as Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis deer, Chervrotain, Wild boar and Sloth bear can be seen. The peak time to visit the park is between June to September.

The national park is also a great place for bird watching. Also numerous species of reptiles can be spotted as well. As per the information there are 160 species of birds, such as Spot-billed Pelican, Lesser Adjutant, Asian Spoonbill, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Black-headed Ibis, Painted Stork and Openbill Stork are common sights.

Horton_Plains_2

Horton Plains National Park

Horton Plains National Park

The Horton Plains National Park is a beautiful highland plateau located in central highlands of Sri Lanka. It is a protected area with an elevation of 2100 – 2300m above sea level which is 6900 – 7500 feet. In 2006, along with Knuckles Conservation Forest was declared as a World Heritage site. National Park is accessible via Ginigathena or via A5 road which connects Peradeniya with Chenkalay in the east via Gampola and Nuwara Eliya. This was declared as a National Park in 1988 and it is one of the popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka.

Weather at National Park

It receives an annual rainfall of greater than 2000 millimeters (79 in). Amount of sunlight received by the plants is limits by the frequent cloud cover. Annual temperature is 13 C (55 F), but the temperature differs noticeably during the course of the day. It reaches as high as 27 C during the day time and drops as low as 5 C at night. Although rain falls throughout the year, a dry season can be seen from January to March. During the South-West monsoon season, the wind speed can be very high. Horton Plains is considered as one of the most important watershed in the Island.

Horton plains are the headwaters for few important rivers such as Mahaweli, Kelani and Walawe. It also feeds Belihul Oya, Agra Oya, Kiriketi Oya, Uma Oya and Bogawanthalawa Oya. Slow moving streams, waterfalls and swamps are few wetland habitats can be seen in the park.

Tourist Attractions

Horton Plains National park has become a popular tourist destination due to World’s End being the utmost popular. It is a 700 m vertical drop, which gives a marvelous view of the valley below.

Bird watching is another popular routine for a tourist. National Park consists of 21 endemic bird species such as Sri Lanka Superfowl, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Yellow-fronted barbet, Orange-billed babler, Sri Lanka bush warbler and Sri Lanka Whistling thrush. Also four species namely the Sri Lanka Magpie, Dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye and Sri Lanka Wood pigeon can only be seen at the National park. There also are a variety of migrant birds such as Crested serpent eagle, Mountain hawk and Black-winged kite.

               Most frequently seen mammal is the Sambar deer, a population of 2000 is estimated.

Sri Lankan Monkey

Horton Plains National Park is a beautiful and picturesque place in Sri Lanka, where a tourist needs to visit when in the island of Sri Lanka. Others include Toque macaques, Purple faced langur, Kelaart’s long-clawed shrews, Sri Lankan leopard, Wild boar, striped necked mongoose and Spotted chevrotain. And one of the world’s most endangered primate, the Red slender loris can be seen here.

Knuckles Mountain Range

Knuckles Mountain Range

The Knuckles Mountain Range is one of the loveliest nature attractions and it lies in the central parts of Sri Lanka. And to be exact in the districts of Kandy and Matale. The mountain range is also known as Knuckles Massif. It gets its name due to a series of recumbent folds and peaks into the west of the chain, which looks a lot like the knuckles of a clenched fist of a man. It is located over 3000 feet’s above sea level and consists of five peaks, namely Kirigalpottha, Gombaniya, Knuckles, Koboneelagala and Dotulugala.

The area was declared as a climatic reserve in 1873 and as a conservation forest in the year 2000. The mountain range can be considered as one of the South Asia’s most important sites for the conservation of mountain tropical forest habitats.

This mountain range is a bio-diversity hotspot, where you can watch, learn and study.  This can be seen from certain locations in the Kandy Disctrict. Among locals the mountain range is known as Dumbara Kaduvetiya, meaning mist-laden mountain range.

Knuckles Mountain Range
Knuckles Mountain Range

Rainfall, Temperature and Humidity

The average rainfall of Knuckles mountain range is between 30005000 ml while the temperature ranges between 5.5 to 35 degrees Celsius. The wind speed is 7.2 km/hour and humidity range between 5790%.

Plants, Mammals and Birds

The Knuckles mountain range has more than 1033 plant species belonging to 141 families, 15% them of are endemic. There are 17 endemic bird species out of 128 bird species that lives. Some of them are the Black eagle, Pale billed flower pecker, Barbets, Egrets, Lorikeets, Babbler, etc., Also 20 species of amphibians can be seen such as Kirthisingha’s Rock frog and the Leaf nosed Lizard. There are nearly 60 species of Butterflies, with two endemic species, the Birdwing and Blue Mormon and furthermore 17 species of mollusks and 53 species of reptiles.

Black Eagle (© eBird.org)

Hiking and Trekking in Knuckles Mountain Range

The Knuckles mountain range is one of the best places to do trekking and hiking since there are several different trails leading to the mountain range. A good period to do trekking is between December and February since possibility of rain is moderate. March to May too is a good time to go trekking with possibility of rain is low. It is an ideal place for waterfall hunting, bird watching. Ahnd surely a great place for nature photography for travelers and photographers alike. Hikers or travelers are able to travel on three routes from Kandy via Rattota, via Wattegama and via Teldeniya.

Sri Lankan Monkey

Monkeys of Sri Lanka

A total number of three (3) species on Monkeys can be found in the Island of Sri Lanka. Tufted gray langur and purple-faced leaf monkey are of Langurs species and Toque macaque is of macaque species.

Udawattakele Sanctuary
Monkeys at Udawattakele Sanctuary

Endemic to Sri Lanka are Purple-faced leaf monkey and Toque macaque,
while gray langur can also be found in India too. In wet zone area jungles
Purple-faced leaf monkey can only be found. And Gray langurs can only be found
in dry zone of the Island. Toque macaque shows island wide distribution.

Purple-faced leaf monkey

Purple-faced langur

Purple-faced leaf monkey is also known as
purple-faced langur, a species of Old World monkey and is endemic to Island
nation of Sri Lanka.It is mostly brown in appearance and dark face and a very
shy in nature. Once a highly widespread species found in many parts like suburban
Colombo and the “wet zone” villages, but rapid urbanization has led to a
considerable decrease of their population.

Monkeys of Sri Lanka can be found of family groups which include six (6) to ten (10) members. A group consist of related mature females, sub-adults, juveniles and infants of both sexes, with dominant unrelated male. The dominant male will lead the group and keep an eye on all activities and movements done by the group members.

Most Islanders consider monkeys as pests since they tend to destroy crops all around the island.

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Udawaththakele Forest Reserve

Udawaththakele Forest Reserve

Udawaththakele Forest Reserve is a historic forest reserve with a Royal touch and located on a hill in the hill capital city of Kandy. It covers an approximately 257 acres of area. (104 hectares)  The reserve is famed for its wide-ranging avifauna. The forest reserve contains a huge variety of plant species, especially lianas, shrubs and small and giant trees.

Source : Wikipedia

Udawattakele was known as “Uda Wasala Watta” in Sinhalese which means “the garden above the royal palace”. It was used as a pleasure garden by the Kandyan kings and the Royal family. The pond in the forest was used by the crowned heads for bathing. It was a “Forbidden forest” for the general public as they were restricted from accessing the forest.

Biodiversity

A study has revealed that there are nearly 400 species of plants inclusive of ferns, orchids and lianas. Around the lake is mostly covered with exotic Mahogani and Myroxlion balsamum and most of the forest reserve is covered with some introduced species of trees. A breathtaking beauty is added by native liana, which is called as “Wevel” and other exotic creepers.

Mammals & Birds

The reserve boast of a rich vegetation and it helps many wild animals. Udawaththakele hosts 15 different mammals, 32 species of Butterflies and more than 80 species of Birds and many varieties of reptiles and amphibians. Among the large mammals, Barking Deer, Wild-boar and Toque-monky  can be seen inside the Park. Dark fronted babbler, Gray horn-bill, Hill myna and Layard paraquet can be seen as well. Other commonly found birds are Owls, Eagles, Kingfishers, Wood-peckers and Fly-catches.

Aquatic Animals

Fresh water turtle species named Black Turtle and fish species of Thilapia also found in the pond at the Udawaththakele forest reserve.

Puss-wel (Giant liana)

A giant liana named Pusswel (Entada puseatha) is spread across nearly 2 hectares can be found and it is estimated to be 200 years old.

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