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Gal Oya National Park

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Best Time: March-July Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Bandaranayake International Airport Check Flights

"Ideal For Bird Watching And Boat Safari!"

Gal Oya National Park Tourism

Gal Oya National Park is near the town of Ampara, at the Senanayake Samudra reservoir. Founded in 1954, the less visited but wonderfully unique national park shelters numerous fauna, including an impressive diversity of birdlife. The highlight of a visit to Gal Oya National Park is unquestionably the boat safari across the reservoir; soak in the scenery amidst the waters and spot plenty of wildlife.

Spanning an area of 25,900 hectares, the fauna at Gal Oya National Park comprises 32 species of mammals such as Sri Lankan elephants, leopards and deer, and reptiles like star tortoises and mugger crocodiles. The elephant sightings are undoubtedly the best feature of the park.

The birdlife at Gal Oya includes ibises, cormorants, egrets, eagles and more. The folk of the indigenous Veddha tribe also reside at Gal Oya; you might even be offered an opportunity to interact with them and obtain insights into their way of life and the park. The park has a few campsites for anyone looking to stay for a night amongst the wilderness.

An unhurried exploration of Sri Lankan wildlife, coupled with beautiful vistas of the reservoir, make Gal Oya National Park a hidden gem among all of the wildlife hubs of the country.

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Wildlife Safari in Gal Oya National Park

Although one can choose to take the conventional jeep safari across the banks of the reservoir, the tranquil boat safari is recommended as it’s a rarely available opportunity in most national parks. The boat safaris include a local guide familiar with the park and the sites where wildlife sightings are more common.

Fauna in Gal Oya National Park

While not as popular, Gal Oya National Park has a plethora of fauna, typical and endemic, on par with the major national parks of the country. One can spot Sri Lankan elephants, mugger crocodiles, toque macaques, Sri Lankan leopards, sambar deer, barking deer and water buffaloes. Approximately 150 species of birds reside at Gal Oya; these include the spot-billed pelican, cormorants, grey-headed fish eagle and herons. The endemic butterfly lesser albatross are also seen here.

History of Gal Oya National Park

Gal Oya National Park was designated as a protected area in 1954 by the Gal Oya Development Board for guarding the catchment area of the lake. Gal Oya is a 108 km long river that flows in eastern Sri Lanka; Senanayake Samudra, the largest reservoir in the country was created when the river has the dam constructed. The Department of Wildlife Conservation took over the management of the park in 1965.

Restaurants and Local Food in Gal Oya National Park

There are a few small-scale restaurants near Gal Oya National Park, mostly serving Sri Lankan dishes. Most visitors to Gal Oya choose to stay at the Gal Oya Lodge, which has an in-house restaurant.

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FAQs on Gal Oya National Park

What are the places near Gal oya national park?

The top places near to Gal oya national park are Kandy which is 92 km from Gal oya national park, Nuwara eliya which is located 81 km from Gal oya national park, Galle which is located 190 km from Gal oya national park, Colombo which is located 180 km from Gal oya national park, Anuradhapura which is located 168 km from Gal oya national park

What is the best time to visit Gal oya national park?

The best time to visit Gal Oya National Park is during the summer, typically from March to July to catch glimpses of the elephants swimming from one island to another across the reservoir. If you are planning to come here for a birdwatching expedition, visit in December to April.

It is advisable to opt for a boat or jeep safari in the early morning or late afternoon for more frequent sightings of the birds and animals as they avoid the glare of the scorching sun in the midday; a safari at this time is also an immensely serene experience.
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