Explorer by Mahoora Camps - Gal Oya

Explorer by Mahoora Camps -
Gal Oya

Welcome to the most authentic “roughing-it in great style” experience Sri Lanka has to offer. Your private camp in the wilderness of the Gal Oya National Park, is a return to the simplicity and authenticity of safari life, save for a few 21st century comforts.

It’s camping but without having to let go of the creature comforts or attentive service that is intrinsic to a Mahoora Experience. Explorer by Mahoora is particularly appealing to those in search of an opportunity to connect up-close with the earth and wildlife in a way they have never done before, in wonderful seclusion.

Isolation lends itself to privacy for an intimate experience with nature, making it really just you and nature, with no traces of civilisation. Only 3 tents can be constructed for guests, with a maximum of 3 guests per campout.

With a private naturalist, chef, and camp staff, excursions can be arranged at any time, where jeep and boat safaris may be as long or as short as you choose, and adventurous experiences await.

map of Gal oya national park in sri lanka
the view of tent at explorer by mahoora gal oya campsites in sri lanka

Return to real safari camping

Escape into a 25,900 hectare evergreen forest and savannah wilderness at the Gal Oya National Park. Your surreal journey here shows you the possibilities of shades of green in grasses at different stages of life, magical sunsets washing over the world in almost tangible colours, and a moon so extraordinarily large that you somehow feel closer to the universe.

An experience of a lifetime awaits over tea by the lake at sunset, on a boat safari to meet mugger crocodiles and elephants swimming from island to island, deliciously local picnic breakfasts by the shimmering lake, and BBQ bonfire nights with a jackal choir giving you dinner and a show. Your ultimate safari holiday awaits.

a girl experiencing the high tea with our mahoora staff member at our campsites in sri lanka

Living Experience

Explorer by Mahoora is a highly unique and immersive experience of living with untamed Sri Lankan wildlife inside National Parks and Nature Reserves across the country. Our Private Tented Safari Camp Experience in Gal Oya isolates you in the grasslands of the 25,900 hectare Gal Oya National Park.

Divided between an evergreen forest and a dusty savannah, you are invited to live amongst swimming elephants and elusive leopards, plus, over 180 other species of mammals and birds. Besides the wildlife, Gal Oya is home to an old Veddha clan. Veddhas are the indigenous people of Sri Lanka and this tribe still lives in the Nilgala area of the Gal Oya National Park.

accommodation at explorer by mahoora gal oya in sri lanka

The Explorer by Mahoora Living Experience combines rustic with modern. Enjoy a spacious, safari camp tented accommodation which includes:

  • A fully-sealed tent (15.6”x 8”) with ventilation nets for added comfort

  • A cosy bedroom with mattresses and raised double beds

  • En-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries, showering facilities using pipe-borne cold running water, and a flushable toilet

  • Freshly laundered bed linens and towels

  • Private veranda / porch outside the tent

  • Flashlight / torch, slippers and an umbrella

  • A shoe rack, 2 foldable arm-chairs and a coffee table

  • Unlimited glass-bottled water

Due to the nature of the jungle environment, a standby generator is available for charging laptops and cameras on request. There is no electricity in the tent.

Your stay with us will always be eco-friendly and carbon neutral.

the table arrangemnet for dinning at explorer by mahoora gal oya camps in sri lanka
Dining Experience

Dining, too, is an adventure with Explorer by Mahoora. While you enjoy a quiet cup of tea at sunset or wait for a hot meal to cool under the stars, not too far away… the grey langur monkeys, sloth bears, elephants, wild boars, water buffalos and leopards roam for their own supper.

At nightfall we make your wild dinner experience a little extra special. Listen to the campsite come alive with nocturnal animal whispers carried by the wind, and follow the flaming torches to your private starlight supper by a crackling campfire.

Your wild dining is set up within the campsite, and meals are freshly prepared on-site by our executive chef using the freshest fruits and vegetables from the local community. Fish and meat items are purchased from local fishermen and a reputable food supplier respectively. A BBQ Dinner takes place on one night while à la carte meals – both Sri Lankan and Western – are served at other times. The camp has a fully-equipped kitchen complete with modern cooling and freezing facilities. Special dietary requirements can be catered to upon prior notice. Menus are deliciously local and carefully designed for your palate, so your culinary journey complements the rest of your safari vacation adventure.

a crocodile at explorer by mahoora gal oya camps in sri lanka
Game Drives & Boat Safaris

There are 2 Sri Lanka Wildlife Safaris available each day. The early morning safari starts at 6am and ends at approximately 10am, whilst the late afternoon / sunset safari takes place from 3pm until approximately 6pm. Unlimited safaris can be arranged upon prior request for special photography / filming purposes. The aforementioned Sri Lanka safari tour times are the best viewing times for wildlife in the parks, as most animals retreat inside the forests from mid-morning until mid-afternoon.

The Gal Oya National Park is the only National Park in Sri Lanka where it is actually possible to go on a boat safari. As it borders a reservoir, there are many little islands which can be seen, but the real highlight are 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!

We use special customised Mahoora jeeps with front facing, cushioned seats on three different levels* for maximum animal viewing and photography opportunities. A complimentary picnic basket with sandwiches and hot & cold beverages is provided on the morning safari, and complimentary hot & cold beverages are provided on the afternoon safari.

Ready for the best safari in Sri Lanka? This is no ordinary wildlife tour; game drives and boat safaris let you explore your new home at the Gal Oya National Park, by land and water. Jeep or Boat Safaris let you experience everything from an elephant roaming the savannah, to swimming from one island to another.

Are you game for your wildest fantasy to become a reality?

* A range of Mahoora Jeeps, both 2WD and 4WD are available. Depending on the National Park / Reserve and the safari routes used, the appropriate vehicle is chosen; it is not always necessary to use a 4WD vehicle. If guests require certain kinds of jeeps on special occasions such as a honeymoon safari or photography safari, prior notice must be given before confirmation of booking.

Included in your package:

  • A personal chef and naturalist.

  • All meals; breakfast, lunch, high tea, and dinner. This includes snacks and juices.

  • Experienced, uniformed, professional and discreet staff.

  • A wealth of knowledge backed by over 20 years of experience as pioneers in the field of operating mobile camping.

  • All National Park / Nature Reserve fees, tracker's fees, taxes and service charges.

  • A unique lunch and dinner setting within the camp area i.e. beside a river or lake, under a canopy of jungle trees, on sand islands with floating candles etc.

  • Atmospheric lighting with a campfire, traditional oil lamps, and hurricane lamps.

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. Experience wildlife in Sri Lanka at its most untamed. 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.

boat safari at with our mahoora team member at explorer by mahoora gal oya camps in sri lanka
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.

Starting from USD 490 per person

per night (minimum 2 persons.Need to book for 2 nights minimum )

All- inclusive with 4 safaris. Special rates are available for 3 to 6 persons.

Distance from cities - by road

Kandy - 170 km - travel time: 4 hrs

Mahiyanganaya - 73 km - travel time: 2 hrs

Ella - 149 km - travel time: 3 hrs 40 min

Nuwara Eliya - 139.2 km - travel time: 3 hrs 10 min

Belihuloya - 146 km - travel time: 4 hrs 10 min

Udawalawe - 196 km - travel time: 3 hrs 40 min

Passikudah - 116 km - travel time: 2hrs 45min

Arugam Bay - 133 km - travel time: 2 hrs 30 min

Polonnaruwa- 125 k.m - travel time: 3 hrs

Best Rates Guaranteed

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.