Minneriya National Park (මින්නේරිය ජාතික වනෝද්‍යානය)

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Size8,889 hectares
Main attractionLarge herds of Elephants, Deer, Wild boar, Bear, Birds and Fish

Situated 182 km from Colombo, Minneriya National Park is dominated by the Minneriya tank. This is another park where you will find the Elephants in large numbers.

Located west of Polonnaruwa (20km), in the Polonnaruwa district and North Central Province, roads make up most of the boundaries of the park. They are the Habarana-Polonnaruwa highway, the Sigiriya-Moragaswewe road and the Kalukehiyawa-Diyabeduma road. The land area is well over 8889 hectares. The Minnerya tank built by King Mahasen in the third century AD with a capacity of 22,500 ha when full, and a catchment area of 24,000 ha, is within the borders of the park. The Elahera channel carries water from a divert of the Amban ganga to feed the tank.

The park which is encountered on the way to the cultural triangle was declared a sanctuary on July 29, 1938 and upgraded to a national park on August 12, 1997.

The fine vegetation to be found at Minneriya include weera, palu, milla, burutha, kone, beli, halmilla manilkaru, kalumederiya and rukurum. Eraminiya, cactus, keppetiya, wara, kaluuna and nidikumba grow in the abandoned chenas.

You can find 24 species of mammals in the park. It is estimated that around 200-300 elephants call the park their home. There are also leopards, bears, deer, wild boar and many others. The park is also home to magnificent birds such as parrots, selalihiniyas jungle fowl, peacocks, weaverbirds, hanging parrots, babblers, barbets, and bulbuls. Water fowl, pelican, cormorant, stork, crane and many other species of water birds reside in the tank, as do 26 different species of fish and the ever hungry crocodiles.

The entrance to the park is about 6 km from the Habarana. Ideal time to see the Elephants in park is the early morning before sunrise and late in  evening.  As all other animals they tend to move towards  shady areas way from the jeep tracks.  when the sun is up and The park opens at 6 am. It is best to be at the gate by this time.

You can hire a safari jeep from Habarana, Polonnaruwa or at the gate. They cost around Rs3500/- per half day and Rs 6000/- for full day. Vans are also allowed in to the park. They can travel on almost all the tracks on the dry season. But if you have a 4WD jeep you can go to the dried up lake bed during the dry season. This is where you will find most of the animals. Herds as large as 100 animals is not a rare sight in the dry season. A permit is required from the Ambagaswewa Wildlife Conservation Office (about 6 km from Habarana), to enter the Minneriya National Park.

There are no bungalows inside the Minneriya National Park. You will have stay either in Habarana or in Polonnaruwa. Some good star class hotels can be found in Habarana and Girithale.

You can also see elephants on the Habarana Road (Road connecting Habarana and Polonnaruwa) itself if you travel along this road after 6.30. Herds of elephants come to the road after dark. They are quite used to vehicles but sometimes get annoyed by the head lights.

Entrance Fees for Minneriya National Park

Local – AdultsLKR 60
Local – Children (6-12 years) – 50% of adult costLKR 30
Local – Children (below 6 years)FOC
Local – Group FeeLKR 300
Foreign – AdultsUSD 15
Foreign – Children (6-12 years) – 50% of adult costUSD 8
Foreign – Children (below 6 years)FOC
Foreign – Group FeeUSD 8
Taxes on total cost15%
Entrance Fee per vehicleLKR 250
Ticket Price Schedule as per time of publication

for example, for 2 foreigners with 1 child between 6-12 will have the cost of

2 x adultsUSD 30.00
1 x childUSD 8.00
Group FeeUSD 8.00
Total USD 46.00
Tax (15%)USD 6.90
TotalUSD 52.90
The Above cost are for entry tickets for persons. A ticket for the vehicle as given above has to be purchased separately

Payments can be paid in USD or equivalent LKR by foreigners. You can call 1919 (government information center) for the latest ticket prices. If you are hiring a private safari Jeep, the prices vary from LKR 11,000-15,000 for half day (4 hours) based on the park. For a full day, its double the cost of a half day.

Tickets could be purchased in LKR or USD

Also See

Map of  Minneriya National Park

ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින් – Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map –

The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Minneriya National Park

The park can be reached through Dambulla and is approximately 200km from Colombo. If you are traveling from Colombo You will have to reach Kurunegala through Kandy Road or Negambo Road. From Kurunegala take the Dambulla – Habarana Road. From the Habarana junction turn right towards Minneriya.

Route from Colombo to Minneriya National Park Ticketing Office and Entrance
Through : Ja-Ela – Kurunegala – Dambulla – Habarana
Distance : 200 km
Travel time : 4 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map

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