For visitors exploring the ruined cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, nearby Minneriya National Park makes an excellent change of pace and scenery. At its heart stands the large Minneriya Tank, a huge 3rd century reservoir (for this region lies in the island’s ‘Dry Zone’). Its habitats are surprisingly varied, with forests, scrublands, grasslands and wetlands. Elephants – and safaris to see them at fairly close range – are the main attraction, particularly during the famous ‘Gathering’ of August and September when hundreds of pachyderms migrate to the park to graze and bathe in its cool waters.
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