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.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 by the late Hon. Minister Kalugalle and currently managed by the Department of National Zoological Gardens Sri Lanka. Presently it is a home for 93 elephants.

Elephant at Pinnawala
Getting ready for their daily bath at "Ma Oya" river

Main idea behind the facility is to attract local and foreign visitors and the income from which would help to maintain the orphanage. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has since become a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. Thousands of visitors visit the orphanage daily to see how the elephants live under the kind care of their mahouts.

Main idea behind the facility is to attract local and foreign visitors and the income from which would help to maintain the orphanage. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has since become a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. Thousands of visitors visit the orphanage daily to see how the elephants live under the kind care of their mahouts.

The main residential care area is on the east side of Rambukkana Road. It also has some restaurants and refreshment stands, and management buildings including sleeping sheds and veterinary facilities. The elephant bathing and viewing area along the “Ma Oya” River is directly opposite on the west side of the highway.

People who visit the Elephant Orphanage can view the care and daily routine of the elephants, such as bottle feeding of elephant calves, feeding of all other elephants, and bathing in the “Ma Oya” River.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Elephant pack ready for a bathing at the river

Most of the elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage are healthy. Once they attained adulthood will be retained within the facility because they have become dependent on food. A few disabled elephants are given residential care.