Best elephant destinations in Sri Lanka
Along with its vast elephant population, Sri Lanka is well-known for its beautiful beaches, tea gardens, picturesque hill environment, and friendly hospitality. There are a few sanctuaries, but going into the wild and visiting national parks are the greatest ways to see elephants in their natural setting. A few elephant sanctuaries exist, including the well-known Udawalawe Elephant Sanctuary and the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
Minneriya National Park
Minneriya national park is a great place to see wild elephants in large numbers. Minneriya National Park is a national park in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The region receives 1,500–2,000 millimeters of rain on average per year and is located in Sri Lanka’s arid zone Minneriya National Park is famed for its annual gathering of wild elephants, The Gathering.
Visitors can enjoy an excursion through the rugged terrain between June – September, with around 200-500 elephants in one area. It is a great experience for both kids and adults. It is home to the ancient Minneriya Wewa and has plenty of scrublands, forests, and wetlands to provide shelter and watering grounds for the animals. Toque macaques, sambar deer, buffalo, crocodiles, and leopards can also be seen in the park.
The second-largest and most popular national park in Sri Lanka is Yala National Park. Yala National Park is located in Southern Province and Uva Province in the southeast of the nation. Yala National Park covers a protected area of nearly 130,000 hectares of land. The average yearly rainfall is 500 to 775 millimeters.
The national park is situated in a dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Dry monsoon forests, dry monsoon forests, semi-deciduous forests, thorn woods, grasslands, marshes, marine wetlands, and sandy beaches are among the diverse ecosystems found in Yala National Park. It offers a chance to spot some of the rarest and most dangerous species of animals and birds out in the open.
Kaudulla National Park
Kaudulla National Park is located in the northern reaches of the island. It was designated a national park on April 1, 2002, becoming the 15th such area on the island. The region receives an annual rainfall of 1,500–2,000 millimeters (59–79 in) including rain from the north-east monsoon. Tens of thousands of visitors travel there every year to view the elephants of Sri Lanka. The reserve is far from human activity, which elephants frequently avoid, and has enough space to support them. Elephants emerge during the dry season, which runs from August to December, and move toward larger drinking holes like the Kaudulla Reservoir. This makes seeing Sri Lanka’s elephants much simpler.
Udawalawa national park
Udawalawe National Park is one of the best national parks in Sri Lanka with vertical highlands on the northern boundary. It is situated in Sri Lanka’s southern areas, slightly to the north of the more well-known Yala National Park. Due to the distance to Colombo and the fact that it is the largest elephant reserve in the nation, it is especially well-liked by tourists. More than a thousand elephants are said to reside in the park’s sanctuary. If you are traveling to Sri Lanka between December and June or if you are in the south, Udawalawe is the finest area to watch elephants. While Minneriya has greater views from July to November, when the northern dry season is in effect.