Swimming Elephants of Sri Lanka
Gal Oya National Park in eastern Sri Lanka was established in 1954 to protect the watershed of the Senanayake Samudra, the largest man made lake in the country created by a dam on the Gal Oya river. The park encompasses and protects a huge sanctuary for wildlife conservation and enjoying nature.
The main method of travel around the national park is by boat safari to observe wild animals in the open areas along the lake. This experience is the only one in Sri Lanka that enables travelers to spot wildlife from the water and be immersed in native habitats. There is an island in the lake famous for spotting the park’s abundant species of birds.
Jeep safaris can also tour this sanctuary that is home to 32 species of terrestrial mammals. The most common are crocodiles, langur and macaque monkeys, leopards, sloth bears, deer and wild elephants. There are trackers and guides available as the sloth bears and leopards are rare and difficult to see. The best time to visit Gal Oya is from March to July when herds of elephants take to the lake to swim from one island to another.
For more information about Gal Oya National Park and other places to experience Sri Lanka’s amazing wildlife diversity and nature sanctuaries, please contact at [email protected]