Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

1. Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

With the grace of majestic giants and pristine tropical dry forest settings, Minneriya National Park is a perfect spot to spend a few hours witnessing one of the most astonishing wildlife spectacles on earth.  Renowned as a prominent stopover for wandering elephants searching for food during the August and September the dry season, Minneriya National Park attracts up to 300 giants from the neighboring national parks. Enjoy the flicker of monkeys swinging through the branches and search the forest for the sight of majestic elephants, leopards, sloth bears, mongooses, spotted deer, sambar deer, wild buffalo, porcupine and Indian pangolins. Do not miss out on this quintessential safari destination in a strikingly beautiful forest.

From Negombo: Minneriya National Park Safari Tour

2. From Negombo: Minneriya National Park Safari Tour

Your friendly driver will meet you at your hotel in Negombo at 8:00 AM. The park is a 30-minute drive away. Sit back and enjoy the ride and take in some of the stunning landscapes as you head there. At Minneriya National Park you'll enjoy a safari experience by Jeep as you explore the vast expanses of land. The park is famous for its Elephant population and hopefully you'll see many of them roaming by the lakes or exploring the jungles. You'll also likely catch glimpses of Wild Buffaloes, Boars, Spotted Deer, Sloth Bears, and even Leopards and Crocodiles. The park is also home to many amphibians, different kinds of reptiles and birds also. Your guide will point out the extraordinary wildlife to you. After the safari, you'll be taken back to your hotel.

From Colombo: Private Minneriya National Park Day Safari

3. From Colombo: Private Minneriya National Park Day Safari

Your tour begins with 8:00 AM pickup. Your friendly driver will meet you at your Colombo hotel and you'll start the 4 to 5-hour journey to the Minneriya National Park by car. Enjoy the ride there and admire the stunning landscapes along the way.  At Minneriya National Park you will enjoy a safari experience as you explore the vast area in a 4x4 vehicle. The park is famous for its wild elephant population and you will hopefully see many of them roaming by the lakes or exploring through the jungles. You might see wild buffaloes, wild boars, spotted deer, sloth bears, and even leopards and crocodiles. The park is also home to many amphibians and different kinds of reptiles and birds. Your guide will point out the extraordinary wildlife. After the safari, you will be transported back to your hotel in Colombo.

All-Inclusive Minneriya National Park Afternoon Safari

4. All-Inclusive Minneriya National Park Afternoon Safari

Begin with an afternoon pickup from your hotel or residence and make your way to Minneriya National Park to begin the safari.  Minneriya National Park comprises about 21,000 acres (8,889 hectares), and contains a vast abundance of wildlife species. Take the opportunity to observe the large herds of magnificent Sri Lankan elephants in their natural habitat at close range. Also, be on the lookout for two rare species of monkey endemic to Sri Lanka, namely the Purple-faced Langur Monkey and the Toque Macaque. Other rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan sloth bear inhabit the park, as well as saltwater crocodiles and Indian pythons, which you may be lucky enough to spot! After a 3-hour safari spotting these various rare animals, your transport will return you to your accomodation.

From Kandy: Sigiriya Rock, Village Tour and Minneriya Park

5. From Kandy: Sigiriya Rock, Village Tour and Minneriya Park

Start your tour at 6:30 AM with pickup from your hotel in Kandy. The first stop on your itinerary will be the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. which you will reach at approximately 9:00 AM. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization, where you will discover spellbinding vistas across mist-wrapped forests in the early morning. Climb a series of vertiginous staircases attached to sheer walls to reach the top of the ruins. Pass a series of frescoes and a pair of colossal lion's paws carved into the bedrock. Marvel at the surrounding landscape of lily-pad-covered moats, water gardens, and quiet shrines that surround the site. After visiting the fortress, proceed to a local village in Sigiriya to experience a village tour. Get a chance to go on an oxen cart ride, and experience the world from the view of a local farmer. Afterwards, take a relaxing catamaran safari through a calm lake. Stroll through the golden fields ripe with their harvest of paddy. Watch a traditional cooking demonstration, that teaches you the basics of Sri Lankan cuisine. Delight your taste buds with a home-cooked lunch; made over a wood-fire and served on fragrant lotus leaves placed over woven trays.  After experiencing the village life of Sri Lanka, travel onwards to Minneriya National Park to go on safari. See the famous Sri Lankan elephants, rare bird species, saltwater crocodiles, Indian pythons, and an abundance of flora and fauna. On completion of the jeep safari at approximately 6:00 PM and return to your hotel in Kandy, stopping along the way for dinner, at your own expense.

From Dambulla: Private Polonnaruwa and Minneriya Day Tour

6. From Dambulla: Private Polonnaruwa and Minneriya Day Tour

Your day tour to Polonnaruwa and Minneriya begins in the morning with a 8:30 AM pickup from your hotel in Dambulla. Drive with your private chauffeur and guide to the first destination of Polonnaruwa. If you didn't have breakest already, stop along the way for some local fare. Arrive at Polonnaruwa at approximately 9:30 AM and spend the morning exploring the second capital of the ancient Sri Lankan Kings.   During your visit to the ruined city, see famous archaeological sites such as Gal Vihara, the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, Sathmahal Prasada, Medirigiriya Vatadage, Lankathilaka Image House, the Shiva Temple, Rankoth Vehera, Nissankalatha, Mandapaya and much more. If you have time, visit the Archaeological Museum. At about 12:30 PM take a break and enjoy lunch before going to Minneriya National Park. Leave Polonnaruwa at 1:45 PM to arrive at the park at about 2:30 PM. Minneriya is famous for its seasonal elephant gatherings where hundreds of elephants come together to socialize, feed, and play. Depending on the season, witness this phenomenon or at least get the chance to see the majestic animals during other times of the year. Take a 3-hour safari ride in the park to see other types of fauna. The safari concludes at 5:30 PM, after which you will be driven back to your accommodation in Dambulla. 

Colombo: 8-Day Private Cultural Triangle & Wildlife Trip

7. Colombo: 8-Day Private Cultural Triangle & Wildlife Trip

Discover the best of Sri Lanka on an 8-day private trip to the Cultural Triangle. Experience game drives in Wilpattu and Minneriya National Park, visit the ancient city of Anuradhapura, and experience the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple complex. Day 1:Get picked up from Colombo, Negombo, or Bandaranaike International Airport and admire the beautiful scenery of Sri Lanka's North Western Province as you drive to Chilaw. Arrive in the coastal town of Chilaw, known for its stretching beaches and tall coconut trees, and spend the night in a 4-star hotel. Day 2:Wake up early in the morning with the sunrise and drive to Wilpattu National park. Spend a full day exploring one of the largest and oldest parks in Sri Lanka, world-renowned for its leopard population. Benefit from the expertise of the safari team as you go on a game drive through the park, observing rare animals in their natural habitat. Keep an eye out for leopards, mongooses, and water buffalo. Leave the national park and set off for Anuradhapura, one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka. Check into your 4-star hotel when you arrive in the city. Day 3:Take a little more time to relax in bed this morning, before getting up for a delicious breakfast, traditionally made up of kiribath, hoppers, and pani pol. Depart from the hotel and set off into the ancient city of Anuradhapura, making a visit to the well-preserved ruins of a Sinhala civilization. In the afternoon, climb up to Mihintale, once a dense jungle that was reserved by the royals as a hunting ground. Learn why the mountain peak is now referred to as the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, as you enter a Buddhist monastery. Return to your hotel in Anuradhapura and settle down for the evening. Day 4: Tuck into another Sri Lankan breakfast in the morning and get ready for an adventure to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Polonnaruwa Ancient City. Arrive at the archaeological site and discover the monumental ruins of the stunning garden city, created in the 12th century. Drive on from Polonnaruwa, making a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress of great historical significance. Rest for the night at a 4-star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 5: Enjoy a late breakfast, then be driven to a rural village for an authentic experience of traditional Sri Lankan life. Take in scenic views on a short walk, before getting into a bullock cart for a ride across the countryside. Arrive at a picturesque lake and trade off the wheels for a sail as you cruise across the waters on a catamaran tour. Disembark from the boat in the afternoon and get driven to Minneriya National Park. See Sri Lankan wildlife in a different light on an evening game drive, with "oohs" and "ahhs" as Asian elephants stomp by the 4x4 in the sunset. Return to your 4-star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 6: Finish off your breakfast and make your way to Dambulla. Be absolutely blown away as you delve into the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple complex. Explore this cave temple complex, the largest and best-preserved in Sri Lanka, containing five caves with 157 statues and over 2000 meters of intricately painted walls and ceilings. Make a visit to Pidurangala, the tallest mountain in the country, and view the Buddhist monastery settled upon the slopes. Learn about the history of the monastery and how monks have made use of the sacred site. Return to your 4-star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 7: Try something new this morning at breakfast and fuel up for your day. Leave Sigiriya and drive to Matale to observe a wood carving demonstration at a local factory. Discover more local traditions as you make a visit to the spice garden. Watch a live cooking demonstration with fresh spices and learn about how they are grown. Join a guided tour of Kandy in the afternoon, home to many tea plantations, sacred Buddhist sites, and biodiverse rainforest land. Finish your tour and check into a 4-star hotel in Kandy for the night. Day 8:Think back on your memories of the trip over a final Sri Lankan breakfast. Say goodbye to your new friends and helpful guides, before being transferred back to your accommodations.

Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Safari

8. Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Safari

Explore pristine tropical dry forest settings on a safari through Minneriya National Park. See wandering elephants, spot swinging monkeys, and enjoy a view of the Minneriya reservoir. Meet your driver at your hotel and head to the Minneriya National Park. As you drive through the grassland, keep an eye out for the giant elephants who have wandered over in search of food from neighboring national parks. Enter the forest, and enjoy the flicker of monkeys swinging through branches. Search the woods for an astonishing array of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, sloth bears, mongooses, spotted deer, sambar deer, wild buffalo, porcupine, and Indian pangolins. Stop for a stunning view of the Minneriya reservoir before returning to your hotel.

From Colombo: 8-Day Private Tour of Sri Lanka with Transport

9. From Colombo: 8-Day Private Tour of Sri Lanka with Transport

Day 1: Airport to Sigiriya / Dambulla welcome by our English-speaking driver from hotels at Colombo and drive to Sigiriya on the way Visiting Dambulla Golden cave temple Evening Minneriya, Kaudulla, or Hurulu Eco national parks 4x4 safari according to Elephant’s availability Overnight at Sigiriya Day 2: Sigiriya to Kandy Earlier morning climb Sigiriya Rock before sun become rough which is suitable for pictures and climbing to the top and back to the hotel for breakfast after driving to Kandy on the way, Nalanda Gedige, Mathale Spice garden (only for a visit), Gem Museum and Workshop, & Hindu temple later Kandy city tour Evening View the traditional Kandyan Cultural Dance Performance and Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic Overnight at Kandy Day 3: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya After breakfast, drive to Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya (Kandy) Later to Nuwaraeliya on the way Ramboda Falls, Tea Plantation, and Tea Factory after that Nuwara Eliya City Tour Overnight at Nuwara Eliya Day 4: Nuwara Eliya to Ella After Breakfast Drive to Visit Gregory Lake and Victoria Park Garden after 12.40 train ride to Ella do the gorgeous panoramic view train Evening Climbing Little Adam’s peak Ella Overnight at Ella Day 5: Ella to Tissamaharama / Yala National Park After Breakfast Drive to Tissamaharama on the way visiting Rawana waterfall and Buduruwagala Rock Temple Evening 4x4 Safari in Yala National Park Safari (most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka, bordering the Indian Ocean) Overnight at Tissamaharama Day 6: Tissamaharama to Mirissa After breakfast drive to Mirissa on the visit snake farm Evening Leisure at the beach resort. Overnight at Mirissa Day 07: Mirissa Earlier morning 6.30 AM whale watching from Mirissa. come back to hotel and travel to Bentota and visit Sea Turtle Hatchery & Rescue Center and Later visit Galle Dutch Fort (Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards) and Madu river boat safari Leisure at the beach resort. Overnight at Mirissa Day 8: Time to Say Bye Mirissa to Colombo or Negombo Wake up to a freshly-prepared breakfast at the hotel and then get ready to check out as it’s time to say ‘Goodbye’ to Sri Lanka. You will be transferred to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo or Negombo for your onward journey back home

From Kandy: "Ethos of Ceylon" 2-Day Cultural Triangle Tour

10. From Kandy: "Ethos of Ceylon" 2-Day Cultural Triangle Tour

Embark on a 2-day guided tour of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle as well as one of its most famous National Parks. Immerse yourself in the ancient history of this region and get to know life as a villager.    Day 1: Kandy – Polonnaruwa – Minneriya – Sigiriya Start your journey with pickup from your Kandy hotel at 6:30 AM in an air-conditioned vehicle and head to Polonnaruwa to visit the Ancient Kingdom. Walk through the ruins of this city that flourished between the 10th and 13th century AD. View important monuments such as Gal Vihara, Vatadage, the lotus bath, Lankathilaka Temple, and the statue of King Parakramabahu, whose reign was considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa. Get to know more about Sri Lanka’s ancient history before heading to Minneriya National Park. In the park, take a 3-hour safari to catch glimpses of over 150 elephants, who congregate in one place during the dry season (May to October). As well as elephants, you’ll see many other mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in the scrublands, forests, and other areas. Head to your hotel in Sigiriya to check in.   Day 2: Sigiriya – Kandy After breakfast at the hotel, check out and visit Sigiriya’s “Lion Rock” Fortress. Climb to the 5th-century rock fortress where King Kasyapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion and view the beautiful unfaded murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. As you walk through the tunnels leading to the palace you’re sure to get a feeling for times long past.  Afterwards, go on a village tour to experience the world from the view of a village farmer. Go on an oxen cart ride and enjoy a relaxing catamaran safari across a calm lake. Walk through the golden fields, ripe with their harvest before enjoying a home-cooked lunch, made over a wood-fire and served on fragrant lotus leaves. After this unique, immerse experience, you’ll be taken back to your hotel in Kandy.

Other Sightseeing Options in Minneriya National Park

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What people are saying about Minneriya National Park

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 7 reviews

Earlier this month myself and my wife took a day trip to see elephants at the Minneriya National Park whilst away on our honeymoon. We were delighted with the day we had after being picked up early by Visagen & Lathushan for the long drive to the national park from Colombo. We could not recommend this trip enough and it was made even better with our hosts. They were fantastic throughout the whole day and we will be sure to use them again when we return to Sri Lanka in the future. The trip was good value for money, it is a long day but it was well worth it with the experience that we had. Visagen and Lathushan even took us to see Sigiriya Rock as well which really added to our experience. Thank you ever so much to Visagen and Lathushan for making our honeymoon extra special!!

We attended the afternoon safari and had the most amazing time. We were fortunate enough to see over 120 elephants, including lots of babies at the watering hole. Jeeps were fantastic for viewing.

great day, had a very knowledgable driver, great food and learned a lot about the people and the country.

saw sooooo many elephants!!! worth every penny! memories for a lifetime