Minneriya National Park.

About 90 square kilometers in size, the Minneriya National Park is home to one of the world’s greatest wildlife sights – the Elephant Gathering. The Park features King Mahasen’s Minneriya Reservoir, built about 1,700 years ago to provide for the area during the dry season. It still carries out this function, which has led to the elephants of the region migrating to Minneriya during June to October annually from neighbouring parks such as Wasgamuwa via the elephant corridor (the area, not the hotel). The park is also home to other species like wild buffalo, deer, the purple faced leaf monkey and lovely endemic birdlife. However, the pachyderm parade always steals the spotlight.

The Elephant Gathering has been established as the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants, with reports going up to 700 a day. We saw above 200 during our visit in early June, which was an absolutely stunning sight. CNN calls it the world’s biggest pool party, and I’m inclined to agree. The park provides ample feeding ground for the elephants, with enough space and shelter for them to carry out all sorts of elephantine activities.

During the dry season, it’s a great time to watch them feed, bathe, socialize and mate in abandoned glee. Watching the elephant clans greet their distant relatives, make new friends, and care for each other is a beautiful experience, for hardcore nature enthusiasts and families with children alike. The elephants will unconcernedly waft around your vehicle, flicking grass and swishing their tails at you. You’ll even see a few tuskers. There are enough elephants and space to make the experience unobtrusive and serene, which sets it apart from your average Yala safari.

Elephants are generally peaceful, ponderous fellows. They’re superbly social, and love water and back rubs. However, you may still want to treat them with wary respect. Apart from being large and in charge, one or two are prone to charging at vehicles, which is no joke. We got charged by an angry 25 year old female ellie, and between trying to reverse away at 40 kmph and quivering in fear with an angry trunk flapping about 2 feet away from our wind shield, it was a harrowing experience.

It brings up questions about the ongoing human-elephant conflict, especially when they have to share living space like in the North Central Province. The burgeoning number of tourists does mean more funds for the upkeep of the park and more attention for conservation, but it also means that human presence could interfere with the elephants’ natural activities.

As long as you’re respectful, careful and appreciate them from a distance, it’s possibly one of the most beautiful natural sights you’ll ever see.


It’s admittedly a bit pricey for foreign non-resident nationals, with individual park entry costing USD 30 or Rs. 3300 per head. You can expect to pay another Rs. 3500 odd for a jeep and driver. For locals and residents the price for jeep entry plus a tracker is a measly Rs. 325 per head. If you have a 4 wheel drive you’re allowed to take it inside the park, as long as you know what you’re doing. The authorities will assign you a tracker at the entrance, who will show you about and take you to the site.

The herds wander about between Minneriya, the neighbouring Kaudulla National Park and Habarana Eco Park. Just ask your hotel chaps or the trackers beforehand and they’ll let you know where to go. The elephants usually head to the tank in the evening, when it’s not too hot. Between 3 PM and 6 PM is the best time to go.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




The Fusion Kottu at Eastern Wok

By Hiruni Herath Hot Butter Kottu - that’s not something you hear everyday but at

Highlights Kamu

More than Coffee – Kaffi Colombo

By Hiruni Herath Ambience and Service The Nordic Bakery and Coffee House located at Crescat

Highlights Kamu

7 Restaurants to dine in July 2022

By Shamrina Carim July hits a beautiful urge to try out different foods, events and

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

Hot Chook – all about that Chicken

By Hiruni Herath Service and Ambience The head chef at Hot Chook was very helpful

Highlights Kamu

A glistening night out at Colombo’s finest local bar!

By Shamrina Carim A Sri Lankan experiencing the magical inspiration of Sri Lanka in the


Ceylon Curry Club – Sri Lankan Cuisine With a Twist

By Janani Vithanage Ceylon Curry Club, located in the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, is a



Types of People at the Cinema

By Rahma Rifkhan Think of your most noteworthy cinema experience: Loud and exciting with just

Highlights Trending

From the Garden to your Skin 

By Menaka Indrakumar  Iris Garden is a brand which started five years ago, with Fuller’s


Bullet Train – movie review

Bullet train is as the name suggest is a fast-paced action movie. Directed by David


Stay healthy & refreshed With KiCO

By Janani Vithanage Boasting over 100 years of trusted excellence, the journey of Silvermill Group

Highlights Trending

5 Reasons why you need to check out Wild Culture Yala

If you are that Wildlife lover who loves being in the wild and looking to

Highlights Trending

Waves Bologoda

SINGHE's Wave Bolgoda, which launched in January 2021, The venue was initially established by lecturer


Yamu Guide.

8 Hotels That Offer Transport – 2022

Sometimes arranging for transport when you’re on vacation is the last thing that you want

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Instagrammable restaurants to dine in August 2022

By Hiruni Herath We’re always looking for the perfect spot that is a mix of

Highlights Yamu Guide

5 Places to get Gift Hampers – 2022

By RR Gift hampers have been around for quite a bit but they’ve suddenly become

Highlights Yamu Guide

8 FAQ’s on fuel QR Code system

Sri Lanka introduced the Fuel Pass QR code system in full force from today (1st

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Tips to Ensure Safe Cycling

Cycling on roads full of traffic due to petrol queues can be scary. Here are

Highlights Yamu Guide

6 Cycling Accessories You Need

By Janani Vithanage With the fuel crisis still wreaking havoc in everyone’s lives, a new

Highlights Yamu Guide