Embark on a mesmerizing journey through two distinct wildlife sanctuaries, each offering a unique tapestry of terrain and remarkable wildlife encounters, especially the iconic Sri Lankan elephant that gracefully traverses these pristine Parks.
Nestled near Polonnaruwa, the Kaudulla National Park unfolds its beauty around the ancient Kaudulla Reservoir, a sprawling 26km (16mi) dam that nurtures a flourishing ecosystem. This dry evergreen forest, adorned with vast grasslands and scrubby forests, serves as a haven for diverse wildlife. Marvel at the sight of massive herds of elephants, alongside wild boar, sambar deer, leopards, rusty spotted cats, and elusive sloth bears. Immerse yourself in the symphony of birdwatching, with over 160 species, including the Asian spoonbill, grey-headed fish eagle, black-headed ibis, and an array of reptiles, from the Indian black turtle to freshwater turtles. Experience the enchantment of pelican scoops at sunset, drawn to the expansive Reservoir. For a different perspective, glide along the serene waters in a paddle boat or catamaran.
Close by, the Minneriya National Park, steeped in historical significance with a tank dating back to the 3rd century AD, offers a landscape adorned with grasslands, tropical forests, and wetlands. Traverse this vast expanse inhabited by toque macaque, purple-faced langur monkeys, and elegant spotted deer.
A highlight not to be missed is the awe-inspiring 'Gathering of Elephants' at the Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks, a breathtaking spectacle unfolding from June to October each year. Witness hundreds of elephants converging at the water's edge of the Minneriya and Kaudulla reservoirs during this extraordinary event. It's a remarkable opportunity to observe the intricate social dynamics of Sri Lankan elephants in their natural habitat.
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