Gal Oya national park is one of the best national parks in Sri Lanka for wildlife safaris. It is one of Sri Lanka’s best-kept secrets, offering an off the beaten track wildlife safari experience. A Gal Oya safari is always a tranquil experience. The park is set in the Eastern province near the city of Ampara, which is well away from tourist towns. Only a few number of tourists visit Gal Oya, making it the most relaxed wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Despite its secluded setting, Gal Oya national park is home to a large population of elephants, making it the perfect spot to amble around wild Asian elephants without having to sidestep excitable tourists in begrimed safari jeeps. Another reward of visiting Gal Oya is the popular wildlife boat safari to Bird Island in the middle of the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. It is not rare to see elephant herds swimming near the bird island, where visitors alight to go on bird walks. A well-organised wildlife hike inside Gal Oya national park leads to the “Monkey hill”, which is a wonderful experience for both hikers and bird watchers. In addition, the jeep safaris at Gal Oya offer a naturalists perspective to the safari scene with in depth knowledge into Sri Lankan flora.
If you are looking for a unique experience, Gal Oya national park is the perfect choice for an unforgettable wildlife safari in Sri Lanka.
Gal Oya National Park Map
Gal Oya Safari Information
Gal Oya National Park Opening and Closing Times – 6.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m
Gal Oya Safari Types
- Jeep Safari
- Boat Safari
- Birdwatching Safari
Gal Oya Safari Duration – 3 hours (Extended safaris, full day safaris, and birdwatching safaris can be arranged.)
Major eco-systems inside Gal Oya National Park
- Dry Zone Evergreen Forest
- Riverine Forest
- Senanayaka Samudra Reservoir
Area in Gal Oya National Park
Total Area – 25,900 hectares
Other informations about Gal Oya National Park
Status – National Park, Important Bird Area (IBA), Catchment area for Senanayaka Samudra reservoir
Altitude – 30 metres to 900 metres
Annual Rainfall – 1700 mm
Average temperature – 280C
Closest Towns to Gal Oya National Park – Ampara, Bibile, Moneragala, Batticaloa, Arugam Bay
Nearest Hospital to Gal Oya National Park – Ampara District General Hospital
Access Roads to Gal Oya National Park
- Colombo to Gal Oya via Kandy (318 km)
- Arugam Bay to Gal Oya via Akkaraipattu (79 km)
- Batticaloa to Gal Oya via Kalmunai (71 km)
- Tissamaharama to Gal Oya via Buttala (179 km)
- Udawalawe to Gal Oya via Buttala (202 km)
Major Attractions of Gal Oya Safari – Sri Lankan Elephant, Fresh water crocodiles, Bird watching, Wildlife Boat Safari, Off the beaten track with low crowds, Gal Oya Lodge Luxury Hotel
Best time to visit Gal Oya National Park – March to July
Useful Tips for Gal Oya Safari
- There aren’t many accommodation options. The only decent one is the Gal Oya Lodge, which is a luxury hotel well worth the price.
- Boat safari is the better one. You will get to land on the “Bird island” in the middle of the reservoir.
- It will take the whole day to do both jeep and boat safaris.
- It is best to start early or late in to the afternoon when the animals come out of the shade.
- Vegetation is thorny. Wear long trousers suitable for rough trekking.
- In park hiking is arranged at the monkey mountain.
- Take enough bottled water. Don’t forget to stay hydrated.
- Take care of yourself and others. Never get out of your safari jeep or swim in the lake unless permitted by your tracker. Muggers and estuarine crocadiles are very common at Gal Oya. Do not feed the animals inside the park. Remember that you are in the wild.