After Independence, Sri Lanka’s first significant irrigation project was the Gal Oya Valley project. Within it was built the biggest reservoir in the country, the Senanayake Samudra which is considered the key feature of the Gal Oya National Park and one of the best parks in the country where boat safaris are also an option.
Sighting elephants swimming across the lake is one of most amazing aspects of the boat safari. There are also many little islands on the Senanayake Samudra and it is an eco heaven for numerous birds and other wildlife. During the drought due to reduced water levels some of these islands become more accessible to these elephants who then sometimes move from one to the other in search of food and as they are natural swimmers they do so quite easily!
It is also estimated that from 430 bird species on record in Sri Lanka at least 150 of them reside in the Gal Oya region – another reason for a visit!