Elephants at Pinnawala and Minneriya
For a small island, Sri Lanka is home for thousands of the largest living mammal on land. Elephants in Sri Lanka hold a special admiration due to their majestic disposition, size and intelligence. Because of these reasons, the Sri Lankan elephant is a must-see when in Sri Lanka.
Although there are elephants scattered throughout Sri Lanka’s numerous wildlife sanctuaries and in the island’s Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala, if you want to see a multitude of elephants gathered in one place in a natural setting, Minneriya is the place to be. Every year, hundreds of elephants gather at the edges of the reservoir at Minneriya National Park in the dry season (July to September). During the dry season, the reservoir is a great source of mud in which elephants enjoy playing and cooling themselves. This is an annual season-long party attended by hundreds of giants—both adult and young—where they play, socialize, and feed themselves. As human visitors—both adult and young—it is a true pleasure to travel to Minneriya National Park and observe this “great” party. As you will be a spectator, invitations will not be required! As these elephants may not always be welcoming close interactions with spectators, it is advisable to keep some distance so that both you and elephants will be happy.
Traveling to Minneriya is a journey of more than 4 hours by roads; however, this can be cut down to just over an hour by air travel to Sigiriya (which is about 30 minutes away from Minneriya National Park) with Cinnamon Air.