So you’ve decided to do the morning jeep safari and therefore are waking up before the crack of dawn, at around five am. You walk from your bungalow to the main part of the lodge in the dark, as the jungle still sleeps. As you arrive in the bar area you are greeted and shown to a table where you receive tea and coffee, a necessary supplement before you begin your adventure. One of our keen, wild haired naturalists meets you at five thirty, and you are ready to set off. You’re guided into one of our safari jeeps and start the drive, the open sides cascading a breeze through the vehicle, and as you look out across the landscape the sun begins to slowly kiss the surrounding mountains with pink lush, and you know the dawn has come.
The drive takes you past small village lands where locals are beginning to rise, and after a short time you come to a very inconspicuous road that guides you down into the buffer zone of the park. You arrive at the Wildlife Department’s base and collect one of their officers to accompany the safari, and then enter Gal Oya National Park.
As you drive the jungle slowly begins to come alive amongst the fresh hues of sunlight gleaming through the foliage, with piercing birdcalls and buzzing insects. One of our skilled drivers turns off the engine of the jeep at certain points, which allows you to silently creep through, taking in all the noises of the magnificent, waking park. Your expert naturalist points out the inhabiting wildlife, including grey langurs, various species of deer, a plethora of birds, small mammals, elephants, reptiles and if you are super, super lucky, perhaps even the leopard.
After you have taken in all the wonders of the surrounding jungle during the initial drive portion of the safari, you reach the river, and it is almost definitely more magnificent than you imagined. As you walk out and down to the riverbank, imagines of Rudyard Kipling shimmer through your mind, and you might even start to look out for Mowgli. The river, vast, strong and beautiful, playfully entices you to take a dip if you so desire.
While you are admiring the breathtaking scenery, our team members set up an intimate picnic breakfast for you, and then leave you to enjoy in peace. When you are finished, the river may look too wonderful to not jump in, but there is also the option to walk along the riverbank, which we very much recommend. Your naturalist guides you down an intrepid path, through rock formations and stunning greenery, pointing out more wildlife along the way.
Eventually you come out to a view of an open savannah, another opportunity to see elephants taking their last gulps of water before they retreat back into the jungle to escape the beaming sun. To see the elephants in Gal Oya National Park is to see them truly wild, as they should be. You eventually make your way back to the river, perhaps for another dip, and then back into the jeep when you are ready.
As you drive back through the park you may notice a few different species than first thing in the morning, and by this stage the jungle has completely warmed up and beginning to prepare for the hot day ahead. You arrive back at the lodge generally around eleven or eleven thirty am, and are greeted with a cool face towel and a refreshing glass of ice tea, and one of our lodge hosts can hear about the wonders of your experience.