Sri Lanka Travel News / 2019-12-05

Famously referred to as "the Elephant Crossing" this spectacle is a key highlight in the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. The elephant crossing at Gal Oya takes place from March to July when herds of Elephants swim across the largest reservoir in the island -the Senanayake Samudraya.

In an effort to conserve its wildlife & the reservoir, the park was established by the Gal Oya Development board in 1954. And to this date, it continues to serve as a protection to the reservoir and its habitat.

Blanketed by a dense forest and complimented by its savannahs, the 25,900-hectare park is home to over 30 species of mammals and 150 species of birds!

The Gal Oya national park is a wildlife photographers dream come true. The seamless combination of water, greenery and vast plains will make the perfect backdrop for some great shots of Leopards, Sloth Bears, Crocodiles, Deer and of course, our friendly swimming resident- the Asian Elephant!

A boat safari through this park, specifically as the sun goes down will be one of the most gorgeous sights you may ever witness. Prepare to be dazzled as you see the majestic silhouettes of Elephants appear from the thicket & descend to the water, paddling themselves to the little islands scattered throughout the reservoir.

In addition to this, a unique experience not to be missed would be an encounter with the "veddas" (translated as people of the forest). An indigenous tribe in Sri Lanka, proficient in hunting and plodding through the woods- a place they call home. Gal Oya may also be one of the few homes left for these clans as their existence and culture is rapidly disappearing with the modernization & evolvement of technology.

Another fascinating fact about the flora found in Gal Oya is that it houses the three most prominent herbs in Ayurvedic treatment namely Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica Officinalis.

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