Minneriya Wildlife National Park
The ‘Gathering’, the largest concentration of Elephants in Asia, happens when over 300 gather on the grassland that sprouts on the receding shores of Minneriya Lake.The Gathering at Minneriya is now ranked sixth amongst the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles by Lonely Planet and occurs every year from around June to Ocotber, with numbers peaking from August onwards.
During the onset of the North-east monsoon in Ocotber, which signals the onset of the wet season, the elephants disperse to the surrounding jungles and at Hurulla Eco Park close to Habarana, anywhere up to about 50 – 75 elephants maybe seen during the late afternoons.
In the scrub jungle around the lake, endemic birds found include the Ceylon Junglefowl, Brown-capped Babbler, Cetylon Grey Horbill and Black-capped Bulbul. Mammals include the endemic Toque Monkey, Hanuman Langur, Gizzeled Indian Squirrel, Jackal, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer and Leopard.
A wide range of budget – high end properties are available around Habarana and Giritale and further afield at Sigirya and Kandalama.
Source: Sri Lanka National Parks & Reserves by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne published by Jetwing Eco Holidays.