This amazingly awesome nature spectacle called The Gathering of wild elephants inside the Minneriya National Park each year can be seen when the elephants migrate during the drought (June to September). They gather in groups around the ancient reservoir to graze around the tank bed. It is considered as the largest of its kind in the whole of Asia with about 150-200 elephants arriving every evening.
The Minneriya National Park lies 182 km from Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka and located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa amidst the mixed evergreen forest and scrub jungle areas. The park is protected because of its tank which was built by King Mahasen in the third century AD and is of utmost importance for the survival of the elephants in the dry season.
The important feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in the 3rd century AD by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks, cranes and a variety of water bids) that come to fish in the shallow waters.
ELEPHANT GATHERING TOUR
2 Nights / 3 days
Day 01 COLOMBO – PINNAWALA – MINNERIYA – POLONNARUWA
At 9.00 a.m. pick up from Colombo and transfer to Pinnawela (2 hrs drive). Enroute visit Elephant Breeding Centre in Pinnawela. During this visit you can witness two main activities. One is the bottle feeding of milk and the second one is the elephant bath in the river nearby. Feeding time is a must see activity, where all the baby elephants are bottle fed with powdered milk using feeding bottles at 09.15 am, 01.15 pm and 05.00 pm. The other attraction is the daily bath of the elephants. This is the most attractive event of all. A prior notification is given to the onlookers before the elephants are led out from the Breeding Centre where they bathe in the Maha Oya which is about 150 meters form the Centre. The view as to how they go in a line to the Maha Oya is magnificent. It is similar to a march past of school children!
Thereafter, continue journey to Minneriya. Enroute enjoy a jeep safari at Minneriya National Park. To be an observer of the largest gathering of wild elephants in the world is truly a memorable sight, and an unforgettable opportunity to watch the social dynamics of these great creatures. It is a unique phenomenon and only seen in Minneriya National Park. Recently, this amazing Gathering was listed as Number 6 in the Lonely Planet’s Guide to Natural Wildlife Spectacles of the World.
Overnight stay in Polonnaruwa.
Day 02 POLONNARUWA – SIGIRIYA
After breakfast, proceed for a city tour in Polonnaruwa. This was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.
Later transfer to Sigiriya (3hrs drive) and commence the climb to the summit of Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Sigiriya, the spectacular ‘Lion rock’ fortress, stands majestically overlooking the luscious green jungle surroundings, and is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sigiriya is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.
Overnight stay in Sigiriya.
Day 03 SIGIRIYA – KANDY – AIRPORT
After breakfast, transfer to airport via Kandy (4-5hrs drive). Enroute visit the historic Temple of the Tooth Relic which is the most venerated object of worship for Buddhists. Its present house, the The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), in Kandy, Sri Lanka is considered the foremost sacred place of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
Later proceed to visit Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya the finest of its kind in Asia, the largest of the botanical gardens of Sri Lanka, couldn’t be better located. In the Mediterranean climate of Kandy, the gateway to the Central Highlands, the Gardens, at an elevation of 500 meters above sea-level, were tightly bounded on three sides by a loop of River Mahaweli (Great sandy river), the largest river in Sri Lanka.
Thereafter transfer to Airport for the departure flight.
End of Tour
01st JUNE 2015 – 30th SEPTEMBER 2015
- Accommodation on Bed & Breakfast basis in tourist class hotels
- Vehicle with an English Speaking Driver
- Driver’s subsistence, fuel and accommodation
- All applicable taxes and service charges
- Entrance tickets + Jeep charges to the places of visit (Approximately US$ 135.00 per person )
- Air fare & travel insurance
- Foreign Language Speaking Guide
- Site guide at Ancient cities can be arranged at a cost of US$ 15.00 per day, per site.
- Extra meals, beverages, tips, gratuities, telephone calls, laundry, etc.
- Any expenses arising out of unforeseen circumstances like flight delay / cancellation/ hike in fare, strike or any natural calamities.
Interested in this tour?
- Please contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details of the cost.
The Gathering of wild elephants inside the Minneriya National Park each year can be seen when the elephants migrate during the drought (June to September). They gather in groups around the ancient reservoir to graze around the tank bed. It is considered as the largest of its kind in the whole of Asia with about 150-200 elephants arriving every evening.