Minneriya National Park
Drive northwards to the Habarana Junction to join the A11 to Polonnaruwa and the east coast. At the 32km (20-mile) marker, a car park on the southern side of the road marks the entrance to the Minneriya National Park .This is one of the loneliest roads in the area and it’s not unusual to see wild animals, including deer, monkeys and iguanas, along its length It is best to visit the park very early in the morning or after 3pm to see the most wildlife. The fascinating museum is also worth seeing for its wildlife relics, including elephant and lake-crocodile skeletons.
During the dry season, as rivers and lakes dry up across the surrounding areas and waterholes turn to baked mud, more than 300 elephants converge on the retreating waters of the Minneriya Tank at the centre of the park. This massive meeting of elephants – popularly known as ‘The Gathering’ – is the largest of its kind in Asia, as pachyderms from cross the region converge on one of the region’s last reliable sources of water, travelling from as far away as Trincomalee to drink, eat, socialise and search for mates. The Gathering takes place from July to October every year , although wild elephants can be seen year-round in the park – and even beside