Sri Lanka has many national parks and designated forest reserves that are home to a large number of endemic and other species of flora and fauna. If you are spending a few days in Sigiriya, you should definitely add a safari experience at Minneriya National Park or Kaudulla National Park to your itinerary. Although both parks are a little distance away from Sigiriya, they can easily be reached by car in about an hour. In most instances you can organize for a safari jeep to directly pick you up from your lodging.
Minneriya National Park is most famous for the annual ‘elephant gathering’ which is considered to be the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants. Every year, between August and September, 200-300 elephants congregate around the Minneriya reservoir where the grass is rich and fertile. It truly is a wonderful sight to behold, as you can see large herds feeding, bathing and socializing. If you happen to visit Minneriya at any other time of year, you can still see plenty of elephants at the park. This is in addition to a wide variety of other birds and animals including the endemic Sri Lankan jungle fowl, Sri Lankan grey hornbill, purple-faced langur and toque macaque.
Minneriya has become a hot spot for tourist activity, with many jeeps roaming around the park at any given time. If this is something that bothers you, it is best to head to the Kaudulla National Park instead. This park is not as popular as Minneriya, but it does have a large elephant population. A safari here will be much more peaceful.