You will begin your Great Elephant Gathering Safari at the entrance gates of Minneriya National Park at 2:30pm in the afternoon. If you are staying in a hotel within a 5km radius of the entrance gate of Minneriya, you will be receiving a complimentary pickup.
Sri Lanka has a very high count of Asian elephants. It is believed that there are over 4000 elephants spread over many areas of the island, with over 2500 being in protected areas. The North Central Province has a fairly large concentration of the animals.
Minneriya National Park, which is one of the main areas where elephants can be seen, was formed around the artificial reservoir created by King Mahasena in the third century AD. Over the ages, the area around the reservoir became a haven for wildlife and was later declared a wildlife sanctuary and national park.
During the months from August to October the water levels of the reservoir goes down, allowing a fresh growth of plants to rise from the newly revealed ground. During this season elephants from the areas around Minneriya, such as Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Matale and Kaudulla, make their way to Minneriya National Park in order to feed on the fresh growth. This results in a large influx of elephants gathering on the banks of the reservoir. At the peak of the Great Elephant Gathering, it is believed that over 200 elephants gather at the same place, making it the largest gathering of Asian elephants in the world.
You will be visiting the banks of the reservoir in a jeep, and watching from a safe distance. As the sun sinks in the sky, you will see the awe-striking sight of large numbers of huge elephants flowing in from all directions. You can watch from mere feet away as whole families of the mammals feed and play. Watch the giant pool party where large glistening bodies roll in the water, and spray it into the air. See the most incredible sight that you can never see anywhere else in the world.
In addition to the elephants, other wildlife such as various species of deer, monkeys, the Sri Lankan sloth bear, crocodiles and many different species of birds can also be seen in Minneriya National Park. You will be finishing your safari at 5:30pm at the entrance gates. If you stay in a hotel within a 5km radius of the entrance gates you will be entitled to a complimentary drop off right at your hotel.