Asia, Sri Lanka, Travel

Elephants in the Wild: Minneriya National Park

March 6, 2017

Elephants Minneriya National Park

Seeing elephants in the wild has been one of my biggest dreams for a long time. All the elephants I have seen have been in zoos, which isn’t the same. When I learned there was a park in Sri Lanka where I could possibly see wild elephants, it became the must-see there. There are several national parks within Sri Lanka where you can see wild elephants. Make sure the park you are visiting is actually a national park with wild elephants and not an elephant amusement park. These parks do not always treat their elephants they way they should be treated. Minneriya National Park does not fence or chain their elephants. They are free to roam, but do get assistance if needed.

Minneriya National Park

Elephants Minneriya National Park

We bumped along the dirt road in the open top Jeep-style vehicle hoping to sight an elephant on the way in. I stood up despite feeling like I was being beaten up by the car. The driver had eyes like a hawk and kept spotting animals in the trees and on the ground. Eventually, he stopped as he spotted three elephants in the jungle. Two adults and a baby!

Elephants Minneriya National Park

After admiring them for a few minutes, we moved on. The road into where the elephants gather is a bit longer than I expected. I stood the whole way hoping to see more elephants in the green foliage. Then suddenly the jungle disappears and in front of you is the Minneriya tank, which if you didn’t know better you would think it was a lake. 

Turning towards the lake, we immediately spotted a herd of elephants! About 10-12 elephants were shading themselves under a group of trees. Several babies were running around the adults. A few times the elephants walked over to the tank to spray themselves with water and have a drink. Then they would meander back to the shade of the tree.

Elephants Minneriya National Park

Elephants Minneriya National Park

On a slow march from the jungle came more elephants from the left of us. At first, we thought it was just a few, but as they emerged, we realized it was a much larger group of about 25. There were much younger babies in this group. They were just grazing away and didn’t seem to be interested in the water.

Elephants Minneriya National Park

Elephants Minneriya National Park

We watched these two groups of elephants for awhile, but we wanted to see what else was around. This allowed us to get closer to all the many birds I had spotted hanging out around the elephants. 

Elephants Minneriya National Park

Elephants Minneriya National Park

Seeing the elephants was truly the highlight of my trip to Sri Lanka, and I could have watched them for hours. 

Getting There

Most people drive to the area around Minneriya National Park, such as Dambulla or Sigiriya. If you are staying in a hotel nearby, they may be able to take you on a tour, or you can hire a driver to take you. Once you arrive, you will have to hire an off-road vehicle and a driver. They vary in cost by comfort level. I suggest going in the morning as many people head there after going to Sigiriya Rock and when I left the park at one we passed twenty cars going in and the elephants might leave if they see that many people. 

 

You Might Also Like

36 Comments

  • Reply Sally Clark March 6, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    This is amazing and you captured them so well! They’re so cute even though they are so big ❤

  • Reply Janis March 6, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Wonderful pictures! And a great experience for you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Tiffany March 7, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      Thank you Janis! You’re welcome. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  • Reply Katy Clarke March 11, 2017 at 12:59 am

    I adore elephants Tiffany. They are such beautiful majestic creatures. We saw them in the wild in Sri Lanka too at Yala National Park. I’ve heard that’s very crowded now though so Minneriya sounds like a better option #FarawayFiles
    Katy Clarke recently posted…Faraway Files #21My Profile

    • Reply Tiffany March 11, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Oh yes this park was less crowded in the morning. Maybe less elephants though. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Hayley March 12, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Awesome! I’m so very jealous. I love Elephants. What a marvellous experience.

  • Reply Mel March 12, 2017 at 11:51 am

    What an amazing experience!!

  • Reply Emmalene March 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    They’re so beautiful! We were lucky to see lots of elephants in Kenya including some particularly cute babies 🐘
    Emmalene recently posted…Sssh..it’s a secret! Three hidden gems to put on your travel listMy Profile

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      I definitely want to see African elephants too!

  • Reply Matt March 12, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Such amazing photos…..how great!

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks! I know this will be one of the highlights of 2017!

  • Reply Traci York March 12, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    WOW! What an amazing experience! Love the pictures – thanks for sharing!
    Traci York recently posted…Two years later, Sir Terry Pratchett lives on in the clacksMy Profile

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Thank you! I had a blast.

  • Reply Lisa Orchard March 12, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I love elephants! They’re one of my favorite animals. They are so family oriented. It’s amazing!

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      It was so great to see all of them together. It made such an impact.

  • Reply Tasha @ Cookie Crumbs March 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    How amazing! Seeing Elephants in the wild is one of my big dreams too. Every time I see an elephant in a zoo I feel so sad for them. Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      I hope you get to see them one day wild! Thank you!

  • Reply Maja Asgautsen March 12, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Beautiful! Such an adventure.
    Maja Asgautsen recently posted…Goodbye to a good companionMy Profile

  • Reply Gabe March 12, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    These big beautiful creatures look so serene and innocent. Thanks for letting us join you on this expedition!

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      They were very serene! Not bothered by us at all. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) March 12, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Fantastic that you got to see so many elephants in the wild, Tiffany! I’ve seen elephants in Tanzania – it’s such a special experience. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…A Photo Tour of AmsterdamMy Profile

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      I want to African elephants now! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply Lilian @ Lil' Hidden Treasures March 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Wow! Those elephants are amazing! And so are the photos! It must have been such an fantastic experience to see the elephant in their natural environment rather than in a zoo. I especially like the additional information that you have included on how to get there. That is nice to know if I EVER make it to Sri Lanka. Thanks for sharing and allowing us to join with you on your adventures!

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Thank you! So glad you found it helpful. I hope you get to go one day!

  • Reply Ritu March 14, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Elephants are just magnificent, amazing creatures! Love your post!!!
    Ritu recently posted…Day 14 – #musicalmarch🎵My Profile

    • Reply Tiffany March 14, 2017 at 10:19 am

      I love them! Thank you!

  • Reply Becca @ The Married Cat Lady March 15, 2017 at 12:24 am

    What an unbelievable experience– one I’m sure you’ll never forget. I LOVE elephants and am of course very jealous. You got some great shots! Thank you for sharing. This is definitely something on my bucket list.

    • Reply Tiffany March 15, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Definitely a lifetime memory! Thank you!

  • Reply Rowena March 26, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I’m so pleased I spotted this on the Sunday Blog Share. My late mother-in-law love and collected elephants and I continued this with my children to nurture their connection with her. So, I began to notice and love elephants more. You’re photos and passionate commentary were so moving. Thank you for sharing. I thought you would enjoy this photo of a stampeding elephant by one of Australia’s best photographers, Ken Duncan: http://www.kenduncan.com/gallery/overseas/the-power-of-one-africa-zwx092-detail
    xx Rowena

    • Reply Tiffany March 26, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      I am so glad you loved the post. I love elephants as well. I will definitely check out the gallery. Thank you!

  • Reply Hayley Mitchell March 29, 2017 at 10:41 am

    This post is great, I too adore elephants 🐘 Would love to see them in the wild someday, but I did see many rescued elephants in Thailand. I went to an elephant rescue centre where they save elephants from riding, circuses and even ones that have stepped on land mines. It was an incredible experience, one I’ll never forget. Great blog post!

    • Reply Tiffany March 29, 2017 at 10:49 am

      Thank you! I do too. So glad to hear about the elephants you saw in Thailand.

  • Reply Hayley Mitchell March 29, 2017 at 10:48 am

    This post is great, I too adore elephants 🐘 Would love to see them in the wild someday, but I did see many rescued elephants in Thailand. I went to an elephant rescue centre where they save elephants from riding, circuses and even ones that have stepped on land mines. It was an incredible experience, one I’ll never forget. Great blog post!

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge

    %d bloggers like this: