Aside from sleeping and eating, you probably won’t be spending too much time in Habarana itself. Most visitors make a beeline for the surrounding national parks and attractions - and it’s not difficult to see why.
There’s no prizes for guessing what the most popular activity is here. You guessed it - a safari. Together with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa, Minneriya is part of the elephant corridor and you can see a high number of these gentle giants migrating through the parks from July to October. Often referred to as ‘The Gathering’, this unforgettable spectacle is the largest meeting point of Asian elephants in the world - an absolute must-see for animal-lovers.
Aside from elephants, you’ll get to see many other mammals on your safari, including sambar and spotted deer, purple-faced langur and macaque monkeys, as well as the less commonly sighted leopards and sloth bears. Bird-watchers won’t be disappointed either, with around 160 species nesting in the trees and circling the skies.
No trip to Sri Lanka is complete without visiting the spectacular Sigiriya, or ‘Lion Rock’. While the towering fortress is visually impressive from below, a trip to the top is well worth it for the panoramic views. The journey is certainly not for the faint-hearted though - you’ll have to climb a series of hair-raising staircases, passing a pair of huge paws carved into the rock and some striking frescoes en-route. If you’ve got any energy left, the nearby Pidurangala rock, home to an ancient Buddhist temple, is also worth a climb.
Another highlight is the remarkable Dambulla Cave Temples. Spread across five caves, the temples are brimming with Buddha statues and intricate murals of religious images. The complex is a designated World Heritage Site and offers the chance to see some of the country’s most remarkable Buddhist and Sinhalese art.
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The Dambulla Cave Temple is one of island’s most visited attractions. Inside five sacred sanctuaries lies some of the country's most impressive religious art - we’re talking more than 150 ancient Buddha statues and colourful paintings covering every inch of the cave wall. These shrines have a strong spiritual presence that needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. If this hasn’t roused your curiosity, nothing will.Discover more
Located in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, Minneriya National Park is a natural sanctuary of evergreen forests, lush grasslands and swampy wetlands. The focal point is the sparkling water tank, built by the great King Mahasen in 3rd century AD. While the scenery definitely has the wow-factor, the star attraction is the elephants.Discover more
It’s one of the country’s most awe-inspiring sights and attracts flocks of visitors every day to gaze upon the 200-metre high rock rising majestically from the jungle. At the flat-topped summit lies an unexpected enigma - the remnants of an ancient sky palace. There are some amazing views too, but you’ll have to break a sweat and scale a series of steep staircases first.Discover more
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