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.
"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
"I want to thank Mr. Cyril for this 17 days long tour. He is an excellent chauffeur guide, always on time with a car more than the clean. He knows all the places in the Island and organized very well. Most of all, he is very kind person, always with a smile and ready to help. I want to reccommond him to all my friends. Ria Deleu Belgium Travel period 25 Jan 2020 - 10 Feb 2020 ( 17 days)" Mrs. Ria Deleu from Belgium
"Thank you so much Cyril for guiding us around your beautiful country. We thoroughly enjoyed our time which was made particularly special by your professionalism, enthusiasm and friendliness. We wish you all the best in the future. Warm regards from, Aonghus O'Keefee and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland " Aonghus and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland
"We are glad to meet Cyril. He is very kind and patient, very professional in his work. He have lot of knowledge about history of the places and the things that happened in Sri Lanka. He knows all the roads and places very well. Very friendly and stand on time. The tour he recommended us and places were excellent. He replied immediately for mails which we send. He was flexible when we asked him to stop in different places and to change our program. He speaks very good English and explanations..." Ruty Ben Haim from Isarel
"We are an older couple celebrating a lot of years of marriage (and hiking) in Sri Lanka in February this year, for two weeks, and three days in the Maldives. Although we love to drive, we chose to go with a driver-guide, after planning the trip completely independently. (It turned out he might help us in the planning and selection of hotels, we own). The main advantage is reaching the sites, some of which are tired, refreshed after someone else used to bad roads, with bad signage - If you are i..." Sam
"Dear Cyril, Sincerest apologies for this delayed email --- reason being that I had been extremely busy with work & travel, since returning from Sri Lanka and just got a breather now, to download our photos and catch up with private matters. Hope this email finds you & family, in the best of health & spirits. Your granddaughter must be keeping you busy and giving you & Mrs. Baddegama immense joy. At this end, we are doing fine. Nikhita is back at school, now in Grade 7 and havi..." Pradeep Kumar Menon - Singapore
"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
"Thanks a lot for making great arrangements for the visit. The visit was very well organized with good hotels and the vehicle/ driver. I would highly recommend your agency and its services to everyone who wants to visit Sri Lanka. Anastasia - Russia, Feb 2011 " Anastasia
"If you ever plan to visit Sri Lanka (and I think you should) this is your guide!!! Martha Iordanidou - Thesoloneki - Greece " Martha Iordanidou
"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