The small city of Habarana is located in the centre of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, making it an excellent base for excursions to several ancient historical cities such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. It is also very popular with animal lovers, as it is the starting point for safaris in the Minneriya sanctuary and the nearby Habarana jungle.
Minneriya is heavily populated by elephants and is located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa. It is home to the largest gatherings of Asian elephants in the world, which migrate from the surrounding jungles to the banks of the Minneriya reservoir during the dry season. Watch one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world here, where several elephants (ranging from 100 – 700) make the annual migration. The peak window to experience the elephant gathering is from July to mid October each year. Other interesting animals that you can spot at the Minneriya sanctuary include endemic monkeys, resident and migratory birds and endemic reptiles such as saltwater crocodiles and water monitors.
Another important attraction close to Habarana is the Ritigala mountain range. The range contains the famous Ritigala peak, which is the highest mountain in the north-central dry plains of Sri Lanka. Ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery, dating back to first century BC, are located on the eastern side of the mountain. Other noteworthy attractions near Habarana include Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla caves and Mihintale Mountain. In addition, Habarana gives you the opportunity to climb on the back of an elephant and go for a ride through the jungle!
One of the best hotels to stay at here is Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, which provides an exclusive hideaway for the entire family. With 137 luxurious and spacious chalets, this hotel provides intimacy and comfort.