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Experiences in Gal Oya

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Watch elephants swimming at this national park.

Gal Oya National Park in the south-east corner of Sri Lanka, created in 1954 around the Senanayake Samudraya, the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. As well as its large elephant herd which can sometimes be seen swimming across the lake at dusk, Gal Oya is famed for its flora, which includes three of the most precious herbs used in Ayurveda in Sri Lanka. The park is also home to axis deer, muntjac, water buffalo, sambar, leopards, toque macaque, wild boar, mugger crocodiles and star tortoise, as well as over 150 species of birds.

 There are many things to do in Gal Oya National Park, aside from taking jeep drives into the park in the morning or the evening. An experience unique to this park is to take a boat ride across the splendid reservoir as the sun goes down and look out for elephants swimming between the small islands which are dotted across the lake, as well as numerous migrant and endemic birds. Another unique and transient experience is taking a walk with the Veddas, the indigenous people of Sri Lanka who live in small forest communities utterly separate to urbanised Sri Lanka and its people – discover their hunting methods, which have been passed down for centuries, and listen to them chanting in their mysterious mother-tongue.

Individual Experiences

In order to conserve the secret and delicate nature of the Vedda’s culture, guests will only meet with the tribe leader and second-in command.

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Go on a relaxing boat safari on the Senanyake Samudra and look out for wildlife, including elephants swimming between the islands.

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Monkey Mountain offers a convenient and exhilarating two hour climb and offers beautiful views from the top.

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Accompanied by a naturalist, drive through the park in search of Sri Lanka’s big game and other wildlife. Dig into a delicious lunch afterwards.

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