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

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.