Minneriya National Park – Explore Sri Lankan Wildlife

Minneriya National Park, located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. 88.9 sq Km park established for the conservation of wildlife. Sri Lanka is one of the finest wildlife countries in south Asia. Sri Lanka is a small country in the Indian ocean, But the biodiversity of the country is richer than any other country of its size. In the forests of Sri Lanka, you can easily find Leopards, Deer, Elephants, and Crocodiles in large numbers. (If you are wondering what I’m talking about, We have a great post about Sri Lanka here). In Minneriya National park you will see herds of elephants with hundreds of them. This National Park also provides shelter to toque macaques, Ambar deer, buffalo, crocodiles, and leopards. But Leopards are rare to spot in this area. But you will defiantly see other animals so often. There is an Old Tank (“Wewa”) inside the Minneriya national park, there you will see hundreds of elephants feeding on fresh grass grown on the banks of the tank. Flocks of birds and hundreds of other animals too. If you are a wildlife enthusiast this is defiantly a place to check out on your visit Sri Lanka.

Things You Should Know Before visiting Minnariya national Park

How to get to Minneriya National Park?

On your visit Sri Lanka, most probably you will land at Bandaranayke International Airport in Colombo. From Colombo, you have to reach Dambulla town First. This Journey is about 180 km and the roads are really well maintained. You should arrive at Dambulla within 4-5 hours. You can take Bus Or your private vehicle. Then You can take Ambepussa-Kurunagala-Trincomalee High way to reach Habarana town. Then Take Habarana – Polonnaruwa Road to reach the entrance of the park, you can take a bus or tuk-tuk to travel there.

What month is best to visit Minneriya National Park?

The Best time to visit Minneriya is during the dry season. In the dry season (June – October), you’ll see huge animal gatherings on the banks of the Minneriya ancient tank. Usually, you will see elephants numbering around 100-200 But sometimes several elephants to as high as 600-700, In this season of the year, rainfall is very low and temperature around 25 °C – 30 °C with high humidity levels. So, make sure to pack some sun protection (Hat, Sunglasses, Sun Cream) and plenty of fluids.

What is the best time to enter the park?

The best time to enter the park is the evening between 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm, Herds of animals gather in grass fields on the banks of the tank. You will see hundreds of elephants for sure. Also other animals like Deer, water Buffalo, Crocodile, Iguana, Monkeys as well as birds like peacock, pelican, Eagles &, etc…

If you planning to watch birds, Mornings are generally best for birds.

Minneriya National Park Opening Hours – 6.00 am to 6.30 pm

Do I have to buy a ticket to enter the Minneriya national park?

Yes, you have to buy a ticket, to enter the park.

If you have your own off-road vehicle

  • adult/child US$15/8
  • service charge US$8
  • charge per vehicle Rs 250, plus 15% tax

If you don’t have your off-road vehicle and if you are planning to rent one. You can rent a safari jeep for about $60 – $100 USD depending on the condition of the jeep, and the Safari Tour Guide will take the tickets for you. So, you don’t have to pay anymore.

Minneriya National Park Opening Hours – 6.00 am to 6.30 pm

More Details ….

Do you have to Reserve Tickets in Advance?

No, you don’t have to reserve tickets in advance. You can buy tickets at the entrance of the park.

Minneriya National Park Wild Life

This National Park Shelter to 24 species of mammals 160 species of birds, 9 spices of amphibians and 25 species of reptiles and 75 species of butterflies. Large heard of elephants on grass fields of the tank is a common site here. In the Dry season, Elephants from the Other jungles around the park come here to find water and fresh grass on the banks of the ancient tank. The Park is a habitat for two endemic monkeys of Sri Lanka. you can see them almost anywhere at the entrance of the park. Large herbivorous such as Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan wild Boar, and Sri Lankan axis deer frequent in the park. And If you are lucky, you will be able to see Leopards and Sri Lankan sloth bear too.

Other Places to Visit and See

Polonnaruwa Ancient City

Polonnaruwa is an ancient city of Sri Lanka 800 years ago. At that time it was the commercial and religious center of the country. Archeological sites and ancient ruins of this magnificent city will make you amazed. The Craftsmanship and the technology of these monuments and structures are truly remarkable. There you will find a city of ruins, hundreds of temples, tombs and many more. We have a detailed guide to Polonnaruwa here.

Sigiriya – The Lions Fortress

Sigiriya or The lions Rock is Perhaps Sri Lanka’s Single Most Dramatic Sight. If you visit Sigiriya, You can see the ruined fortress rising above the forest from miles away. This Rock fortress tangled with the story of a king who murdered his father and brother to take the kingdom. This short-lived kingdom attracts tourists from all around the world due to its archeological value and dramatic sight. If you are nearby Pidurangala, You can also check out the Sigiriya too. We have a great article about Sigiriya. Check it here.


Pidurangala is Adjacent Rock to Sigiriya Rock and best viewing spot of Sigiriya from distance. Pidurangala Is Famous for its 360-degree views when the sunrise. When the sun rises you will see an unforgettable scenic view of Sigiriya and the valley below. Check More details here.

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