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Minneriya Jeep Safari
Minneriya Jeep Safari is one of the best safaris in Sri Lanka to spot wild elephants during your visit to Minneriya National Park. Minneriya National Park is a wildlife sanctuary located in the North Central province of Sri Lanka. Minneriya National Park is about 89 sq Km in size and is an ideal place for elephants to live in herds. Minneriya National Park and Kaudulla National parks are best places to witness the world famous “The Gathring”. This happens from July to October in every year where all the wild elephants from surrounding national parks such as Kaudulla, Wasgomuwa and Somawathiya comes together in Minneriya National Park. They gather to drink and bathe and munch the fresh grass of Minneriya National Park. In this page you will find all of the information that you want to know before you go on a Minneriya Jeep Safari.
Minneriya National Park and Minneriya Jeep Safari is one of most popular destinations and activity among travelers all around the world who visit Sri Lanka. Minneriya Jeep Safari can be done in two time slots a day, one is morning Minneriya Jeep Safari that starts around 5:30 am in the morning and spans around 4-5 hours. The other is evening Minneriya Jeep safari that starts around 2:30 pm in the evening and spans for around 4-5 hours. We recommend you to take the evening Minneriya Jeep Safari if you want to witness large number of wild elephants. In the evening most of the elephants and other wild animals gather around the grassy land of the Minneriya reservoir in order to wash away the harsh sun rays that had during the day and have a munch and drink before heading back to the forest.
From July to October it is the dry season and most of the waterholes and ponds dry out during this season and wild life enthusiast around the world consider this time is the golden time to spot large number of Asian elephants ( Elephas maximus maximus ) gather around the grass fields on the edges of the reservoir of Minneriya and Kaudulla. Nature lovers on Minneriya Jeep Safari can witness this amazing gathering with their naked eyes.
In addition there are two endemic monkeys of Sri Lanka, Large herbivorous mammals such as Sri Lankan sambar deer and Sri Lankan axis deer, Rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan sloth bear, the gray slender loris, large water birds such as lesser adjutant, painted stork, and spot-billed pelican, little cormorants, Great white pelican, ruddy turnstone, and grey heron.
The endemic birds such as Sri Lanka jungle fowl, Sri Lanka hanging parrot, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, black-crested bulbul and crimson-fronted barbet, eight species of endemic reptiles, saltwater crocodile, Indian python, Asian water monitor, and Bengal monitors and more. Minneriya Jeep Safari would be a valuable opportunity to observe unique and amazing wild animals in their natural habitats.
Be part of the “Elephant gathering”, the annual congregation of Wild Elephants sometimes herds as large as 400 come together in the largest gathering of wild elephants in the world. There is also plenty of other wildlife to see and enjoy.
Minneriya Jeep Safari
Morning / Afternoon Safari
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The Best Guide to Minneriya Jeep Safari
Best time to Visit Minneriya National Park
June to end of September is the ideal time to visit Minneriya National Park. The best time to start your Minneriya Jeep Safari is from 5:30 am to 8:30 am. The other perfect time slot to witness the elephants is from 3:00pm to 6:00pm in the evening.
What to except during a Minneriya National Park Safari
Minneriya National Park consists of lush green forest and scrub area. The Minneriya National Park is famous for its large number of elephants. Other than the elephants there are deer’s and few leopards and leopards sightings are extremely rare. The most interesting park about Minneriya National Park is Minneriya Tank. In the dry season that runs from June to September elephant heard gather to drink and bath. This is the best time to witness elephants.There are two time slots where you can go Jeep safari in Minneriya National Park. It’s from 5:30 am to 8:30 am and afternoon safari from 3:00pm to 6:00 pm and the safari usually takes around 4 hours. It is recommended that you go Minneriya Jeep Safari in afternoon from 3:00pm to 6:00 pm because lots of elephants gather to drink and bath at this time.
Minneriya National Park Entrance fees
The park entrance fee is around 15 USD Entry fees for Minneriya National Park or equivalent in Sri Lankan rupees. if you are to indulge on a safari you have to book a jeep at the entrance of Minneriya National Park or book a tour including a pickup. Most people are staying in a city called Habarana, just a ten-minute drive from Minneriya. Many local travel agencies are offering the tour: usually, it includes a pickup and drop off at your hotel in Habarana and then 3-4 hours of a jeep safari. The price varies; you can expect a rate of around 75 USD per person.
Animals to see during a safari in Minneriya National Park
There are around 24 different types of mammals live in Minneriya National Park including Elephants, Leoaprds, Sloth bear, deer and wild pig and two monkey species Purple faced langur monkey and toque macaque monkeys. Other than that there are leopards that are rarely seen. Other than that there are around 160 species of birds that lives within the national park. There are 25 species of reptiles in Minneriya National Park that includes painted lip lizard, crocodiles, Indian Python and Asian water monitor. Apart from this Minneriya national park is home for around 25 species of Butterflies.
What to prepare and bring during your safari in Minneriya National Park
- Mosquito repellent
- Good Zooming Lence
- Memory Cards to store pictures
- Watera & Light Snack
Birds at Minneriya National Park
Before we come in to the main topic of Birds at Minneriya National Park we must know a bit about the National Park.Minneriya National Park is located in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province. And it’s around 182km away from the Colombo. Habarana and Polonnaruwa are the two major cities close to Minneriya National Park. The Minneriya tank irrigates a large area of Polonnaruwa and it is the focal point of the Minneriya National Park.
Minneriya National Park, which is part of the elephant corridor that connects Kaudulla and Wasgamuwa National Parks, provides visitors with the opportunity to see elephant herds all year. May to October is the best period to visit Minneriya National Park in view of the world-famous Great Elephant Gathering of the Asian wild elephants. Apart from the elephant population, Minneriya is a good breeding place for the birds. Birds at Minneriya National Park plays a major role in attracting tourist to the park.
Birds of Minneriya National Park are mainly consists of large water birds. It plays as an important habitat for the water birds such as Lesser Adjutant, Painted stork and Spot billed Pelican. Minneriya National Park is a dormitory for many resident and migrant birds. In Minneriya National Park there has been flocks of little cormorants over 2000 birds in it. The great white pelican, ruddy turnstone, and grey heron are the other water birds here. Among the endemic birds are Sri Lanka jungle fowl, Sri Lanka hanging parrot, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, black-crested bulbul, and crimson-fronted barbet. The number of threatened birds recorded in this national park is 11.So final conclusion is that Minneriya national park is being a gathering place to elephants of Sri Lanka it is a very good place to observe birds of Sri Lanka.
Minneriya Elephant Gathering – The Biggest Asian Elephant Gathering
Minneriya Elephant gathering is the largest know Asian elephant gathering in the world. Minneriya National park is dominated by the manmade Minneriya Tank. Minneriya National park has a wide range of wildlife living in its many habitat. Minneriya National Park is situated in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is situated around 10 minutes’ drive from Habarana.
The dry months come to the park during from July to October and the famous Minneriya tank is on the “migration” route for these huge beasts from many of the surrounding areas as they constantly search for water and fresh grass. In this time around 250 – 300 Elephants gather around Minneriya tank creating the largest meeting of Asian elephants in the world. The Minneriya tank is built by “King Mahasena” in the 3rd century. The Minneriya tank never gets totally dried so it becomes the main drinking source for the elephants when the other drinking sources becomes scares. Elephants finds their way to drink, bathe and feed on the young shoot of grass that grows on the edge of the tank.
This phenomenon, which usually lasts until the monsoon begins in October, is known as The Gathering. The term was coined less than a decade ago by renowned Sri Lankan naturalist Gehan de Silva Wijerathne, and since then crowds of visitors have come to observe these majestic creatures in their natural setting.
As the sun sinks in the horizon and the air becomes cool you can see large numbers of elephants come of the shades of trees around the Minneriya tank. If you look over the huge reservoir you can see ripples of water gently kiss the edge of the tank where grass is grown. The elephants glistens under the evening sun rays. Seemingly from every direction these magnificent animals gather around the tank for munch and drink. You sit and watch as these huge animals drink, play and snack on the green, lush grasses that have been exposed by the receding water. This little area, wild with life, is home for the dry season to over 300 elephants that have come from all over the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.
This is not a migration, but an annual coming together of wild animals. Herds come from as far as Kantale to sip the sweet waters of the Minneriya tank and you can be there to witness this magnificent event, up close and personal. To see ‘The Gathering’ you will need to head to Minneriya National Park and we can easily tailor this into your Sri Lankan safari.
F.A.Q ‘S ABOUT THE MINNERIYA ELEPHANT GATHERING
Where does the Minneriya NP situated?
Minneriya NP is situated in the North central province of Sri Lanka.
Why does the gathering happen?
The Minneriya elephant gathering happens in Minneriya National Park and this is one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife phenomenon. The Asian Elephants gather in large heard because of the dry season in Sri Lanka’s North central and Eastern provinces.
Where can we witness the elephant gathering in Minneriya NP?
You can witness the elephant gathering in the Minneriya NP and you can witness the large herd of elephants gather to bath and gaze in Minneriya tank. Apart from the elephants you can witness huge flocks of water birds in the shallow waters.
Where does the elephant gathering happen?
The famous elephant gathering happens in Minneriya NP.
Is the Minneriya Elephant gathering a migration?
The Minneriya elephant gathering in not a migration it’s an annual get to gather of wild elephants from Minneriya and Kudulla area and some from as far as Kantale.
How many elephants are there in the gathering?
There are around 300 elephants in the gathering
Can we get up close with elephants in Minneriya?
Yes you can get up close and personal with minneriya elephants
What is the best time to witness the Minneriya elephant gathering?
The best time to witness the Minneriya elephant gathering is from July to October
How far the Minneriya NP is from Habarana?
Minneriya NP is about 10 minutes’ drive from Habarana town
Is the Minneriya tank a manmade or natural one?
Minneriya tank is a man made one
Apart from the elephants what are the other animals that you can witness in Minneriya NP?
There are other animals such as spotted deer, Samber deer, purple face langur monkeys and macaque’s monkeys.
Why does the gathering happen?
The annual gathering happens because of the drying water supply around North central province of Sri Lanka. The elephants gather around Minneriya tank to sip the sweet water of the tank. The receding water expose the sweet grass around the banks of the tank and this droves the elephants all around the Minneriya area.
How can a person can witness the Minneriya Elephant gathering?
To witness the gathering you have to head the Minneriya NP and we can easily tailor this to your visit in Sri Lanka.