Minneriya National Park
Being part of the elephant corridor which joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa parks, Minneriya National Park gives the opportunity to see herds of Elephants throughout the year. May to October is the best period to visit Minneriya National Park in view of the famous Gathering of the wild elephants.
The Climate and Altitude
Minneriya National Park that covers an area of 8,889 hectares is of tropical monsoon climate: annual rainfall is about 1146mm and mean annual temperature is 27.5 centigrade. The altitude ranges from100m to 885m at the top of Nilgala peak.
Minneriya National Park has no accommodation facilities within its boundaries. But the cities close to Minneriya National Park-Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Habrana and Giritale- are clustered with luxury hotels and lodges.
The vegetation of the park consists of tropical dry mixed evergreen forests, abandoned chena lands, grasslands and wetlands. The open grasslands and old chena lands are dominated by the many species of small shrub.
The abandoned chenas are dominated by kukuruman (Randia dumetorum), keppettia (Croton sp.) wara (Calotropis Gigantea) and grasses i.e. katu-una (Bambusa bambos), wali indi (Phonenix zeylanica), illuk (Imerata Cylindirca) and pohon (Panicum Maximum).
The phytoplankton is dominated by Microcystis and Melosira.Among the large trees are palu (Manilkara Hexandra), Satin (Chloroxylon Swietenia), milla (Vitex Altissima), Kalumediriya (Diospyros Quaesita), halmilla (Berrya Cordifolia), weera (Drypets Sepiaria).
Among the 24 species of mammals resident in the park are Elephants, Leopards, Sloth Bear, Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, Wild Buffalo, Wild Pig, Grey Langers, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, three species of Mongoose, Porcupine and Indian Pangolin. Pre-booked Minneriya Safari is the best way to see them all.
Amphibians & Reptiles
Among the nine species of Amphibians at Minneriya National Park are the endemic and endangered Slender Wood Frog and the Common Tree Frog. Of the 25 species of reptiles recorded in the park 8 are endemic including the Red-lipped Lizard. Water and Land Monitors are also seen here. The Mugger Crocodile can be seen near the tank. Many species of fresh water fish are found in the Minneriya reservoir.
Elephant Migration between Minneriya, Kaudulla and Hurulu Eco Park
There are three national parks in the close proximity within that region. They are the Minneriya National Park, the Kaudulla National Park, and the Hurulu Eco Park,. All of the three parks are immensely popular among locals and foreigners the world over for their large herds of elephants. Generally, each year during the months of July to September large groups of elephants are found in the Minneriya National Park and then they migrate to Kaudulla National Park during the months October to November due to high rains and lakes getting filled up. Then the elephants move on to Hurulu Eco Park for the final leg of their migration during the month of December to January.
Other National Parks
Yala National Park, Udawalawe National Park, Minneriya National Park, Wilpattu National Park, Wasgamuwa National Park, Kumana National Park, Bundala National Park, Kaudulla National Park, Gal Oya National Park, Kalawewa National Park, Lunugamvehera National Park, Pigeon Island National Park, Hurulu Eco Park, Lahugala Kitulana National Park, Maduru Oya National Park