Minneriya National Park lies in the North and Central provinces of Sri Lanka, and although declared a protected Wildlife Sanctuary in 1938, was only given National Park status in 1997. It’s wide open spaces, combined with the Wasgamuwa and Flood Plains National Parks allow the elephants vast tracts of protected land to safely reside in. Minneriya has a huge manmade tank, or reservoir, which dates back to the 3rd Century A.D. and was built by King Mahasen. During the monsoon rains the tank fills up, and when it is dry season the water starts to deplete. Never empty, it is a source of water and a feeding area for huge numbers of birds, mammals and amphibians year round. 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.
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 & Indian Pangolin.
Minneriya National Park has recorded over 170 species of birds. From Migrating waders like Wood sand Piper, Common Sandpiper & Kentish Plovers to forest birds like Malabar-pied Hornbills, Rufus Woodpecker the globally endangered Lesser Adjutant and the endemics Sri Lanka Grey Horn-bill, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Brown-capped Babbler and Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl are some of the highlights.
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.
More spectacular than possibly any other wildlife event in Sri Lanka, is simply called ‘The Gathering’. During the dry season when the water in the tank starts to diminish, more and more animal congregate around the tank where the grasses are rich and fertile. For several months of this drought season different herds of wild elephants gather at the reservoir. They come from the outlaying areas beyond Minneriya, and at any one time it is possible to witness up to 300 elephants. They are not migrating, they simply ‘Gather’, to socialize, bathe, feed and possibly mate. To be an observer of the world’s 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.
Minneriya National Park, Sri Lanka’s truly unique wildlife extravaganza.
"Cyril was an excellent guide and gave us a very good insight into the history and cultures of Sri Lanka. He was always polite, helpful and prompt. His driving was always calm and controlled - unlike some of the other vehicles we saw!!! We would recommend him to others traveling to Sri Lanka. WH - UK - January 2011" Wilson Harland
"If you ever plan to visit Sri Lanka (and I think you should) this is your guide!!! Martha Iordanidou - Thesoloneki - Greece " Martha Iordanidou
"Hi Mr.Cyril, Hope you and family and grandchild are doing fine. Hope to come to Sri Lanka again. We really enjoyed our trip especially with your special help and guidance. We will definitely contact you if at all we wish to visit Sri Lanka again. Thanks & Best Regards Mr. & Mrs.Pillai Singapore 29/7/11 " Mr & Mrs.Pillai from Singapore
"Cyril is one of the best experienced person in the industry" Ahamed Anver
" Dear Cyril We spent a wonderful week with you. We were so pleased to have to visited your beautiful country and we will recommend you for all of our relatives and to friends. It has been a pleasure to spend these days with you, we will never forget nice smile on your face all the time. Thank you and if one day you would like to visit Switzerland we will be raedy take you around snowy mountans! All the best, Franz family" Dr. David franz from Swiss
"Dear Cyril, We want to thank you so much for making our trip so unforgetable and delightful. We received your name from our friends lives in Geneva who travelled with you in January 2009 and they gave you such a high recommendation that we decided to conbtact you for our two weeks trip this year. Although we have been to Sri Lanka a few times already. We have never found such an excellent driver and guide. It has been a great pleasure to visit Colombo with you and then to Koggala for two day tr..." Mr.Gabor Kato & Mrs.Ann Kato
"We found Cyril on-line and after checking with lots of other guides we decided he is the one for us, that decision was the best one we did for our trip From the beginning, in our emails, Cyril listen to us and was very helpful, he gave us information and helped us to create the best trip for us.We had 10 days trip, for our honeymoon, to many parts of Sri-Lanka. the country is amazing, green, nice people and good food.Cyril was a great driver and even greater guide, he has so much knowledge and e..." Coral and Oded from Israel
"Dear Cyril, Here are some photos for you as we promised, and also little gift to you. Here is some photos of elephant boy which we were took on elephant ride. Please give to them when you go to Habarana again. We are very grateful to you for your services that you have done to make our holiday in this beautiful country. Still we are thinking over our nice trip with you. It was fantastic, really! Here in Holland, life is normal again. Greeting for your wife and daughter too. George and Cala ..." George and Cala
"Dear Cyril, We just got back to Singapore today...I am will be back to work tomorrow.. :) Sad but true ha ha……. We were very lucky to have you as our guide. I don’t think there will be anyone else who could have done an excellent job that you have done. We will spread the word around and will surely sell your services...do keep in touch so we can work something out. Thanks for the photos they are great Will visit your website soon and put in some good words for you.. Ti..." Shuhanth Haridas from Singapore
"Cyril was absolutly Fantastic,Veryhelpful, Patient and extremly knowledgable. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend and travel with him again. Whole tour was well organized and perfectly done. Kate Williams and family from UK 04th January 2015" Kate Williams UK