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  • Gal Oya National Park
    The 25,900 hectare Gal Oya National Park has about 32 species of mammals residing there; including the common Langur, the endemic Toque Macaque, Sri Lankan Leopards, Sri Lankan Sloth Bears, Sri Lankan Elephants, Wild Boar, Water Buffaloes and 3 species of Deer. The birdlife at the Park is far from disappointing birders with its 150 species of birds.

Boat safaris and swimming elephants at Gal Oya National Park

The Gal Oya National Park is the only National Park in Sri Lanka where it is possible to go on a boat safari. As it borders a reservoir, there are many little islands which can be seen. A highlight is the frequent sighting of elephants swimming from one island to another. Sri Lankan Elephants are strong swimmers and they use their trunks as snorkels. They can also travel long distances in water. In fact, it is believed that the first elephants to inhabit Sri Lanka actually swam all the way from India and took up residence on the island.



Mammals at Gal Oya National Park

Gal Oya Wildlife National Park Safaris are a Mahoora speciality. The 25,900 hectare Park has about 32 species of mammals including the common Langur, the endemic Toque Macaque, Sri Lankan Leopards, Sri Lankan Sloth Bears, Sri Lankan Elephants, Wild Boar, Water Buffaloes and 3 species of Deer. The large elephant population at the Gal Oya National Park has made many of these islands its own. Mugger crocodiles and the Lesser Albatross Butterfly can also be seen in Gal Oya while on either jeep or boat safaris.


Birdlife at Gal Oya National Park

The Senanayake Samudra Reservoir is dotted with many small islands which are home to an incredible diversity of bird species, including Sri Lanka's largest bird, the Lesser Adjutant and the Red Faced Malkoha. 150 of Sri Lanka's 430 recorded bird species reside in the Park – a haven for bird enthusiasts. "Kurulu Dupatha" or Bird Island is home to an immense number of birds nesting in the forest and in the elevated rocky outcrops.

Reptiles & Amphibians at Gal Oya National Park

The mugger crocodile, python and star tortoise have been recorded at Gal Oya National Park.

Flora at Gal Oya National Park

The Park has just three distinct flora types – forest, shrub and grassland. There is a substantial area of both low lying savannah grasslands, called Thalawa, and mountainous grasslands called Pathana. Three rare types of Ayurvedic plants can be found growing in Gal Oya.

Gal Oya National Park History and Geography

Gal Oya National Park Sri Lanka, located in the Uva Province which is situated in the south-east of Sri Lanka, was established in 1954 by the Gal Oya Development Board, primarily to protect the catchment area of the vast 'Senanayake Samudra' Reservoir which is the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. It was subsequently handed over to the Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1965.

The Gal Oya National Park is rich in both fauna and flora and about 45 percent of the Park is covered by evergreen forest while a further 33 percent is taken up by savannah areas. The Park spans over 25,000 hectares in total and has three mountains within its boundaries vis-à-vis Danigala, Nilgala and Ulpotha with the highest peak reaching 900 metres.

The Buddhangala Sanctuary, one of the four protected areas which make up the Gal Oya National Park, has ruins of a Stupa and other buildings dating back to the 2nd Century BC. It is believed that Lord Buddha visited here during his last time in Sri Lanka. In the hilly country to the West of the Park was one of the last strongholds of Sri Lanka's indigenous tribes, the Veddas.


Getting the most out of your Gal Oya National Park Safari

Any safari would not be complete without an expert naturalist guide who can correctly point out bird, plant and animal species. All the guides at Mahoora are experienced and familiar with the movements of the animals. Do not forget your binoculars, and if you have not got a pair of your own, you can count on us.


Climate at Gal Oya National Park

The elevation of the Park varies from 30m to about 900m. Rain is received during the North-East monsoon with an average annual rainfall of 1,700 millimetres.

The best time to visit Gal Oya National Park

The Gal Oya National Park can be visited throughout the year, but the period from March to July is recommended as this is when the elephants gather around the waterholes to drink and socialise.

How to get to Gal Oya National Park

The Gal Oya National Park lies in the District of Badulla, to the south-east of Sri Lanka and to the west of Ampara. The route from Colombo (300 km) is via Ratnapura, Pelmadulla, Udawalawe, Thanamalwila, Wellawaya, Moneragala and then north from Siyambalanduwa to Inginiyagala. If you opt to travel by helicopter then you can take off either from the Bandaranaike Airport or from Ratmalana and land in Gal Oya, and from there reach the Park by road. Unfortunately Air Taxi Services are not available to this part of Sri Lanka.

Mahoora Mobile Tented Safari Camps offer you the chance to experience an adventure which will dazzle, inspire and astonish. 
Choose from many locations and enjoy them with a team of individuals who set the benchmark for safari camping in Sri Lanka.


Mahoora Tented Safari Camps, 20/63,

Fairfield Garden, Colombo 08,

Sri Lanka  

T (+94) 70 2228222

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