Witness the 'Elephant Gathering' in Minneriya, Sri Lanka
Before the monsoon season begins, when the sun is at its hottest over the dry Sri Lankan plains, elephants from far beyond the borders of Minneriya National Park journey to the park’s vast ancient reservoir to quench their thirst and take shelter under the trees, which thrive in this lush oasis. This extraordinary event is The Gathering; the greatest assembly of Asian elephants anywhere in the world. This is a unique opportunity to encounter so many of these powerful and majestic animals in the wild, and an experience that you will never forget.
What to expect at the Elephant Gathering...
Minneriya National Park features, at its heart, an ancient man-made reservoir with a lush green landscape flourishing around its shores. Many animals congregate here each year when water elsewhere becomes scarce, including hundreds of elephants, who are drawn to the park from many miles away to drink and to take advantage of the plentiful plant-life that springs up as the reservoir waters evaporate.
This fascinating phenomenon, known as the Elephant Gathering, is not strictly a migration but simply a meeting of elephants who've walked many miles along Sri Lanka’s famous Elephant Corridor to reach the sanctuary of the watering hole.
Getting close to elephants in their natural habitat - a lifelong dream for many people -features prominently on travellers’ wish lists. There are several places throughout Asia where you can see elephants in the wild, but The Gathering in Sri Lanka is very special. Nowhere else in the world can you see so many wild Asian elephants socialising and moving together; it is not unusual to see as many as 100 elephants in a single afternoon!
The Gathering happens during the dry season, with the first elephants arriving in May and the last few around November, peaking during August and September when there are often many babies in the groups too.
Driving out with your guide for an hour or two each afternoon gives you plenty of time to discover where the elephants are congregating that day and to spend time appreciating what you find.
This extremely popular activity attracts many visitors, having become something of a pilgrimage for those who study these remarkable mammals, so there are always plenty of fellow travellers to share photo tips with and to point you towards the best locations.
At each stop you can just relax and take time to quietly admire the serene strength of the elephants as they wander past.
Location: Minneriya National Park, Sri Lanka
Duration: 1-2 days
Accommodation: ask us about accommodation within the Cultural Triangle
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'One of the best opportunities you'll ever have to see a lot of elephants in their natural habitat.'