The Ceylon Oak

Not an English Oak, but this Ceylon Oak (Schleichera oleosa) or “Kon” in the vernacular, was at least half a century old when Far Cry was born. It was among a handful of large trees on what when then an abandoned chena (dry zone farm).Through the years it has held its own as the forest regenerated around it. It is quite a lovely sight as the leaves colour and fall around February and March every year, giving an illusion of autumn in the tropical dry zone! The yellow and gold colours never fail to amaze and uplift. Squirrels play on its trunks and birds nest in the hollows of its gnarled old branches. The fallen leaves spread like a carpet beneath it, eventually nourishing the soil as it decays . It is truly a reminder that trees give succour to living things in more ways than one. 

Elephant fences.

Elephant fences are a necessary evil in the landscape around Far Cry, and many similar rural areas.  On the one hand, they protect farmers’ crops from marauding elephant herds, yet on the other hand they deny these herds their traditional rights of way, dating from time immemorial. Research has shown that elephants prefer to feast on tender young shoots and plants commonly found in human cultivations, rather than on the dry zone forest leaves and grasses which are difficult to digest. For us lovers of nature, the fencing ruins the beauty of the pristine natural environment as well.

The system installed around Galkadawala village is part of a large network of fences that “protect” an entire cluster of villages. It is powered by solar panels, and requires constant maintenance of the vegetation around it to ensure that the wires are not compromised through contact with the vegetation. Farmers organizations have undertaken this task.

At the time of writing it is reported that the fences have ceased to be operational after several solar panels were stolen. It is difficult to understand a mindset that would put lives and livelihoods at risk by such an act. However, herd incursions are now frequently reported, and farmers are resorting to the age old practice of guarding their crops through the night from the vantage point of tree houses.

In the midst of the current crisis, it is uncertain how quickly the authorities will react.

Alfresco dining at Far Cry

Alfresco dining is now possible at Far Cry with the this beautiful outdoor table made for us by a local craftsman.

Talented craftmen of every ilk can be found in the most unikely corners of remote Sri Lanka. Wherever possible, we offer work like this to the local community, and we are never disappointed.

The table and benches were made out of re-cycled teakwood, previously used for the wooden pool deck.

The rustic design is in keeping with the character of Far Cry. It is a sturdy piece of furniture designed to absorb the vagaries of sun and rain for decades to come.

Sharing a meal at this table on a moonlit night in the company of family and friends is one of the many treats in store for you at Far Cry!