Hang out with 400 wild elephants Minneriya National Park, Sri Lanka
The elephants came in two by two. Hurrah! Hurrah! Then a few more turned up and, in fact, many, many more wandered along as well. If you want to see pachyderms en masse there is one journey you have to take: a trip to the annual elephant gathering at Minneriya National Park. During Sri Lanka’s dry season (around October), the water levels of a centuries-old reservoir in the park, located in the country’s North Central Province, start to drop, resulting in the sprouting of luscious, green grasses.
Attracted by both the water and easily accessible food, the park’s elephants – sometimes up to 400 at a time – come here to bathe, eat and hang out with their thick-skinned friends. Visitors travel in open-top jeeps to see a most stunning sight – the largest congregation of wild elephants anywhere in the world.
Minneriya National Park is about 180 kilometres from Colombo and 35 kilometres from Polonnaruwa. Local operators run day trips to the park to see the gathering – book one through your hotel.
A day-long jeep tour will set you back between US$35–50 for the whole vehicle, plus individual park entrance fees.