MIN­NER­IYA & KAUDULLA NA­TIONAL PARKS

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Sri Lanka -

BEST FOR: The largest sea­son­ally and pre­dictably re­cur­ring con­cen­tra­tion of wild ele­phants any­where in the world. Con­cen­tra­tions of ele­phants in cer­tain African sites may in some years be higher, but are un­pre­dictable to be a re­cur­rent vis­i­tor draw.

DRIVE TIME FROM COLOMBO: 5.5 hours.

WHAT’S NEARBY? The ru­ined monas­ter­ies and palaces of Polon­naruwa and Anu­rad­ha­pura. The for­est her­mitage of Rit­i­gala, an iso­lated moun­tain stick­ing up from the dry low­land plains. Popham’s Ar­bore­tum near Dam­bulla.

These two parks are within half an hour’s drive of each other in the North Cen­tral Prov­ince, sited around two large reser­voirs ( pic­tured on pre­vi­ous page). Scrub jun­gle sur­rounds the lakes and con­tains many mam­mals, but game view­ing is gen­er­ally poor, ex­cept for the won­der­ful sea­sonal con­gre­ga­tion of ele­phants. The ‘Ele­phant gath­er­ing’ takes place in Min­ner­iya dur­ing Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, when more than 300 ele­phants can come to­gether on the reser­voir bed, which dries out to cre­ate a lush grass­land.

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