Saturday, June 22, 2024

Overview: Gal Oya Lodge, Galgamuwa, Sri Lanka

Three hours south-east of Kandy, Gal Oya Lodge is the gateway to a Nationwide Park that features Sri Lanka’s largest lake, Senanayake Samudraya. It’s the solely place in Sri Lanka the place you may take a ship safari to see elephants swimming between among the lake’s 47 islands.

Past cell phone reception, past wi-fi and definitely past tv, Gal Oya Lodge has one foot up to now. You may stroll with a Veddha Chief studying how his tribe lived in bygone millennia. But, Gal Oya’s environmentally accountable tourism additionally has one enlightened foot sooner or later.

Elephants are in every single place. Printed on cushion covers. Carved into faucet heads. Threaded via the mattress throw. Embossed on the serviette holders and wild elephants amble via the Lodge’s 20 acres. Even the restaurant menus are printed on elephant poo paper.

The welcome

A cool flannel and a glass of lime juice welcomes travellers whist baggage is whisked away to their bungalow.

The bungalow

Inside the rooms there are hand-drawn maps of the Gal Oya Lodge’s 20 acres and likewise the park as a complete.

Round a dozen polished teak tree trunks assist a roof thatched with illuk grass to create a charmingly rustic suite.

Craftsmen labored with regionally sourced supplies to create a grandly spacious suite. A slab of a tree trunk serves as a espresso desk in entrance of a in-built L-shaped couch, massive sufficient to seat a gathering of village elders. Gal Oya is robust on sustainability.

Beneath a whirling ceiling fan, a large and netted four-poster is the visible centre piece of a easy bed room. And what might be extra applicable for the toilet than a rainfall bathe?

Two chairs on a patio look out into the luxuriant bush the place the cicada chorals by no means ceases, the place the frog orchestra often competes.


Cooling breezes blow via the open sided A – framed timber constructing that’s house to reception, bar and restaurant.

A small nook of a mezzanine flooring hosts the library and a choice of board video games. Information books on birds, butterflies, flowers and wildlife assist establish sightings.

With company coming and going all through the day, the restaurant is versatile: early breakfasts, late lunches and late dinners are all cheerfully catered for.

A breakfast glass of ginger, tamarind, bees honey and turmeric captures the tropical feel-good temper. Hoppers, a Sri Lankan custom, high the breakfast menu although an English breakfast is an possibility too. Lunch is likely to be river fish or a rooster Caesar salad or a pork curry.

Keep in mind that that is Sri Lanka, the place folks eat curry and rice thrice a day. Each evening there’s a chance to pattern a basic curry served with rice, dahl, greens and poppadoms alongside fish, pasta and vegetarian choices.

A swimming pool framed by flourishing buffalo grass has views in the direction of towering craggy Monkey Mountain.


Take a stroll with a naturalist from the Jim Edwards Analysis Centre to discover the Lodge’s acres the place digital camera traps are set to seize wildlife photos.

Just lately 20 leopard have been caught on movie in addition to many elephant, peacock, porcupine and a solitary sighting of an exceptionally uncommon pangolin.

The resident naturalists additionally lead bike rides via the forest savannah earlier than taking company on after-dark wildlife-spotting missions. While the tremendous match try and scale Monkey Mountain.

The native Veddha Chief leads a stroll via the forest explaining how his hunter-gatherer tribe thrived for millennia with their intimate information of obtainable meals and vegetation’ medicinal properties. Their animist beliefs and respect for the pure world forbid them from even selecting a single leaf until they’ve a use for it.

Different good touches

A night turndown companies pulls the online curtains across the 4 poster mattress and freshens up the toilet.

Gal Oya Lodge provides a cookery course, in an out of doors kitchen, run by a locals. They decide their fruit and veg on the stroll via to the Lodge, utilizing their information to create curries and different native favourites.

Don’t miss the casual and memorable exhibition of intricate birds’ nests on the Analysis Centre. Tailorbirds use effective grass to stitch two leaves collectively after which set up cobweb bedding for his or her hatchlings.

The most effective bit

As daybreak breaks, a safari jeep departs for Senanayake Samudraya, Sri Lanka’s largest lake, named after the teardrop island’s first president. Again in 1947 he ordered the creation of the lake as a part of an irrigation and vitality programme.

Solely 4 boats have a license to serenely cruise via the lake. This safari might embrace elephants swimming with their trunks raised snorkel-like above the water, hugger-mugger crocodiles and complete islands colonised by birds as their maternity wards. White-bellied eagles, gray heron and comorants scan the lake for his or her subsequent meal.

Then the boat moors up for an idyllic breakfast or lunch unpacked from an Indian tiffin container.

The fee

Double rooms, together with breakfast, start from US$ 290. This charge consists of taxes and repair cost.

The ultimate verdict

Removed from Sri Lanka’s chaotic cities and cities, Gal Oya is Sri Lanka’s seventh largest park however the least visited. A spot of tranquil magnificence.

Combining with the Jim Edwards Analysis Centre, the Gal Oya Lodge has naturalists readily available to supply Attenborough moments as company discover the park.

Disclosure: Our keep was sponsored by Gal Oya Lodge.


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