Situated in one of Sri Lanka’s least visited wilderness areas, secluded Gal Oya Lodge offers visitors access to the country’s largest inland body of water – the Senanayake Samudraya Lake – and over 25,000 hectares of evergreen forest. The highlight of your stay here would be spotting Gal Oya National Park’s famous swimming elephants on a boat safari.
Gal Oya Lodge’s 9 spacious guest bungalows and family villa take inspiration from their environment, featuring high thatched roofs and walls made of locally sourced organic materials. Floor to ceiling windows let the outside in, whilst luxe bathrooms are open air. Private verandas offer a quiet place to relax. Alternatively, you can head to the airy, central dining pavilion for a cool drink and unwind beside the outdoor swimming pool.
Whilst boat safaris are a must at Gal Oya Lodge, other things to do include gentle walks in search of the abundant birdlife, cycling to a scenic reservoir or more active hikes such as to the top of Monkey Mountain. You can also ride a Jeep into the remote Nilgala sector of the reserve, where mugger crocodile, jackal, sloth bear and other rare species reside. A not-to-be-missed experience is an excursion led by a Veddha village chief. The Veddha are the last forest-dwelling indigenous people of Sri Lanka, who still lead hunter-gatherer lifestyles.