Image: Elite Havens Magazine
Few things are more incredible than seeing creatures as majestic as Sri Lankan elephants playing, grazing and bathing in their natural habitats. Seeing hundreds of them will be an even more incredible experience, and such an experience is not an uncommon treat for people travelling to this beautiful island. These magnificent creatures will compel you to keep returning to the island and you will love Sri Lanka more and more after each visit.
There are many big and small National Parks in Sri Lanka where you can see wild animals. Sri Lanka boasts more than 50 nature reserves and national parks. One of the most stunning thing about these places are the endless jungles which stretch for miles and miles in every direction, and has a beautiful variety of landscapes from forests, grasslands, lagoons to beaches. You will also see loads of ponds where wild animals gather for a bath.
Visiting national parks and watching elephants and other wild animals are one of the top tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The most famous national park in Sri Lanka is the Yala National Park but Minneriya National Park is the preferred destination for most tourists who prefer to see wild elephants. Yala, Wilpattu, Minneriya, Udawalawe, Singharaja, and Gal Oya are a few of the famous national parks in Sri Lanka and Udawalawe, Minneriya and Gal Oya National Parks are the popular choice among elephant lovers. The ‘Gathering of the Elephants’ in Minneriya is the largest gathering of elephants in the world. Hundreds of elephants gather around the park’s main lake generally between July and October.
The Sri Lankan elephant happens to be the largest and the darkest of the Asian elephants, though still smaller than African elephants. They reach a height of 8-10 feet and weighs between 2000 and 5500 kg, with a darker skin tone. The females are typically smaller than the male and females don’t have tusks with about 2% of the male populations being tuskers. It is believed that the Sri Lankan Elephant with its distinct physical characteristics is better looking when compared to its Asian cousins.
If you have few days to spare you can even visit camping sites or bungalows inside the national parks and spend a night watching these beautiful creatures.
There are many wild elephants in the central province, in the Dambulla and Sigiriya areas. Many hotels and luxury hotels in Dambulla have many elephant-centric experiences, such as tours, elephant-themed designs etc. Indeed, the Sri Lankan elephant is very much an unofficial national symbol of Sri Lanka.