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Best Wild Elephant Safari In Sri Lanka

If you want to observe the free life of wild elephants as one of the objectives of your holiday, Sri Lanka is the destination you should choose. There are 26 National Parks in Sri Lanka covering 5734 square kilometers and in most of these, it is possible to see wild elephants living in peace with other animals. Elephant safari in Sri Lanka operates in many parks and in this article, we will share with you what you need to know about going on an elephant safari during your trip to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Elephant Population

Elephant morning walk
Elephant morning walk

Sri Lanka is home to an estimated 7,000 Sri Lankan wild elephants, making it one of the best places in the world to encounter these gentle giants. These elephants roam freely in national parks and wildlife reserves across the island.

Best Places to Go Wild Elephant Safari In Sri Lanka

Minneriya National Park

Elephants at Minneriya National Park | The Best Asian Elephant-Watching Safari In The World
Elephants at Minneriya National Park

What is the average number of wild elephants that a human being can see at one time in one place? A lot of people say 50 or 60. But if you go to the Minneriya National Park you will think this is a complete lie. Because if you go to Minneriya in the evening, you can easily see 100 to 150 elephants. Minneriya National Park is the only place where you can see the largest number of Asian elephants in the world at one time.

The North Central Province, where Minneriya Park is located, experiences dry weather from July to October. As a result, many water sources in the area have dried up and elephants are facing a shortage of food and water due to the drying up of edible plants. However, as the Minneriya Reservoir retains a significant amount of water even during the dry season, almost all of the wild elephants in the park enter the Minneriya Lake to meet their water needs

When the reservoir’s water capacity decreases, the tank ground becomes covered with grasses that elephants love to eat. so that Elephants meet their food needs too on lake ground. It is reported that more than 300 elephants gather at one time in the Minneriya Reservoir searching for food and water. A large number of elephants ranging from tiny baby elephants to large tuskers can be seen in this place. more and more local and foreign tourists are attracted to the Minneriya National Park because This is a great place to do an elephant safari in Sri Lanka and a great opportunity to study wild elephants sitting in one place.

Udawalawa National Park

Baby Elephants at the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe | Wild Elephants Watching Safari Sri Lanka
Udawalawa Elephant transit home

Udawalawa National Park is the 6th largest national park in Sri Lanka and is fed by the Udawalawa Reservoir. As the park belongs to the dry zone, the entire area experiences dry weather from February to March of the year, and sometimes this condition lasts from mid-March to late September. During this period, small ponds in the forest and many edible plants dry up and due to water scarcity, elephants and many other animals migrate to Udawalawa Reservoir in search of water and food. During a safari in the park during this time, one can easily see large herds of elephants on the lake grounds in the evening.

However, Udawalawa National Park is suitable for elephant safaris at any season of the year, so tourists from all over the world have been coming to the park throughout the year.

Yala National Park

Elephant Mother and Baby Elephant | Yala National Park Sri Lanka
Elephant Mother and Baby Elephant

Yala National Park is a popular safari destination for both local and foreign tourists. This is because it is a place where you can see many species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Once you visit Yala for a safari, It makes you think about going on a safari again and again because of its far-view environment and diverse biodiversity.

Although It is common for wild elephants to be found in large numbers in a National park like this, In Yala park, Elephants are living scattered throughout the forest. Therefore, if you go to Yala for an elephant safari in Sri Lanka, it is a bit difficult to see big groups that have around 100 wild elephants but you can see many elephants roaming alone or with a small herd. The best time for elephant safari in Yala is in the dry season from May to August because many elephants roam around water spots in the park those days.

Some of the elephants in the Yala National Park are furiously angry and there have been reports of safari groups being attacked by elephants. It’s because male elephants show aggressive behavior during their Musth period. So, we suggest you beware of wild elephants and watch them from far enough

Wilpattuwa National Park

Elephant In The Water | Elephant Watching Safari In Sri Lanka
Elephant In The Water

Wilpattu is the biggest national park in Srilanka but 75% of the Park is fully covered with thick jungle and the rest is open ground. It is recorded that about 1300 wild elephants are living but it is not possible to see large groups of them such as at Minneriya National Park. Because there are a lot of small water ponds spread all over the park and even in the dry season whether they get water and food or not, animals don’t come to open places.

Most of the time can see elephants having food and getting bathed in the middle of the lakes. However, It is best to go on an elephant safari in the evening because wild elephants and sometimes leopards and sloth bears roam in the national park.

Wasgamuwa National Park

Elephant In Yala National Park
Elephant In Yala National Park

Wasgamuwa National Park is important among national parks in Sri Lanka because it is located in the middle of the dry zone and wet zone boundary. So the park shows signs of both the wet zone and the dry zone. Therefore, Wasgamuwa Park shows complex features in terms of biodiversity.

Anyway, when we talk about a national park, we are often reminded of wild elephants, aren’t we? Yes, There are elephants in Wasgamuwa and they are famous as the tallest living elephants in Sri Lanka at present. So this national park is a good place for an elephant safari in Sri Lanka where can watch the tallest Asian elephants.

The park is home to about 500 elephants Today. However, during the dry season, they migrate through the migration routes to the surrounding forests such as Minneriya, Maduru Oya, Kaudulla, Rivestern Pathana, and Somawathiya forests to get water and food. Due to this, there are only about 150-200 elephants always in the Wasgamuwa National Park. The best time to safari in Wasgamuwa Park is from June to September and you can visit the park every day from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm. The best thing about this park is there are 7 campsites inside the park where tourists are allowed camping.

Gal Oya

Galoya National Park is one of the oldest and least famous national parks in the country. Covering a vast area of ​​over 25,900 hectares, the centerpiece of the park is the picturesque Senanayake Samudraya Reservoir, which provides an essential water source for local wildlife.

Going on an elephant safari at the Galoya National Park is a popular activity where you can observe the elephants in their natural habitat by safari by jeep or crossing the reservoir by boat. The elephant safari in Gal Oya Park is a special thing because Gal Oya is the best place to see swimming elephants in the world.

Maduru Oya

Maduru Oya National Park is one of the most beautiful forests and a perfect place for an elephant safari in Sri Lanka. The size of the park is about 58850 hectares and a large number of elephants who migrate from the Wasgamuwa and Ginniagala-Nilgala forest areas during the dry season also live in this area.
The best time for safari is the dry season from March to September. In these seasons, wild elephants and other wild animals can be easily seen searching for water.

Jeep Cost For Elephant Safari In Sri Lanka

FULL DAY SAFARI | 6 am – 4 pm, Around 70 euros


MORNING | 6 am – 10 am, around 45 euros

AFTERNOON | 2 pm – 6 pm, around 45 euros

Reserve A Jeep For Safari In Sri Lanka

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Having an understanding of information and locations is very important when preparing a travel itinerary. We hope that our article will be useful for you when choosing a place to plan a wild elephant safari in Sri Lanka during your trip.


1. Are wild elephant safaris safe in Sri Lanka?

  • Wild elephant safari in Sri Lanka is generally safe when conducted by reputable tour operators who prioritize safety and responsible practices. Follow their guidelines for a secure experience.

2. Can I feed or touch the wild elephants during a safari?

  • No, it is essential not to feed or touch wild elephants during a safari. These actions can be dangerous and disruptive to their natural behavior.

3. What should I do if an elephant approaches our safari vehicle?

  • Remain calm and still. Follow the instructions of your guide. Do not make sudden movements or loud noises.

5. What other wildlife can I expect to see on a wild elephant safari in Sri Lanka?

  • In addition to elephants, you may encounter leopards, sloth bears, deer, various bird species, and the stunning landscapes of Sri Lanka’s national parks.



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