Minneriya National Park
The only place to view the largest Asian elephant gathering of the world is the Minneriya National Park in the north-central plains of Sri Lanka. The recently renovated, the ancient Minneriya Rainwater Reservoir irrigates a large area of the district of Polonnaruwa and is the focal point of the Minneriya National Park. May to October is the best period to visit Minneriya National Park, but during August's dry season to September around 300 elephants within a few kilometers around the Minneriya Reservoir can be sited. This area was declared a national park in 1997 and as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938 for being a protected catchment of Minneriya Reservoir and a habitation for fascinating wildlife.
This national park has 8889 hectares and receives an average rainfall of 1500 - 2000 millimetres. This area's vegetation includes low canopy montane forests, intermediate high-canopy secondary forests, scrublands, abandoned chena lands, grasslands, rocky outcrops, and wetlands and plenty of scrubs.
The Fauna of Minneriya National Park contains 24 species of mammals, 160 species of birds, nine species of amphibians, 25 species, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 75 species butterflies which increases the richness of this ecosystem.
This sanctuary provides shelter for many endemic species such as purple faced leaf monkey, toque macaque, Sri Lanka junglefowl, Sri Lanka hanging parrot, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, black-crested bulbul, crimson-fronted barbet, Saltwater crocodile, Indian python, Asian water monitor and Bengal monitor. Sri Lankan leopard, Sri Lankan bear, and Painted-lip lizard are rare and endangered species reside in the park.
Migration of elephants between Minneriya, Kaudulla and Hurulu Eco Park brings many elephants around 700 into the Minneriya National Park. These migrations occur due to finding food and shelter.
Camping in this area is the ideal way to explore and experience the soulfulness of nature. There are even opportunities to interact with the ancient tribe “Veddhas” living around Minneriya.