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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 26, 2023
Headline for 10 Facts to Know About Gal Oya National Park – Discover the Unparalleled Natural Beauty of Sri Lanka
Joanna James Joanna James
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10 Facts to Know About Gal Oya National Park – Discover the Unparalleled Natural Beauty of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is home to a wealth of natural attractions. Gal Oya National Park is one of those attractions that promise you a memorable experience. Here’s what you need to know about the park.



Located in the southeast region of Sri Lanka, Gal Oya National Park is a hidden paradise that calls for adventurous hearts. Approximately 314 kilometres from the bustling capital of Colombo, the park awaits your visit, away from the noise and hustle of city life. Within its expansive geographical spread, the park features an assortment of terrains, from dense forests and grasslands to mountains and bodies of water.


Best Time to Visit

The ideal window is between March and July, which is the dry season. During this period, the chances of witnessing wildlife are quite high. Animals, particularly the bigger mammals, congregate around watering holes to quench their thirst.


Nearby Accommodation

If visiting the park is high on your priority list, you should stay at one of the hotels near Gal Oya National Park. You have plenty of choices, including the likes of Wild Glamping Gal Oya. Remember to research and book your accommodation as early as possible for the best rates.


How Big is Gal Oya National Park?

Gal Oya National Park is no ordinary sanctuary. It spreads across a humongous area of 259 square kilometres. But that's not all. It holds the distinction of being the only national park in Sri Lanka that offers boat safaris, thanks to the enormous Senanayake Samudraya, Sri Lanka's largest reservoir nestled within its boundaries.


Flora and Fauna

The park is home to an impressive array of wildlife, including majestic elephants, elusive leopards, and curious sloth bears. Also, more than 150 species of birds are known to grace the park's skies and tree canopies. As for the flora, it's a delightful mix of tropical evergreen forests, grasslands, and savannas.


Safari Experiences

Gal Oya takes the safari experience up a notch by offering boat safaris. This is a unique opportunity to explore wildlife from a different perspective. As you glide on the waters of the Senanayake Samudraya, don't be surprised if you spot a herd of elephants swimming between islands or see crocodiles basking in the warm sun on the riverbanks.


The Veddas

Another fascinating aspect of visiting Gal Oya National Park is the chance to interact with the Veddas, Sri Lanka’s indigenous people. These folks have been living in settlements around Gal Oya for generations, maintaining their traditional lifestyle and coexisting with the forest and its creatures. Keep in mind that their culture deserves the utmost respect and appreciation.


Navigate Your Way

Getting to Gal Oya can be part of the adventure itself. If you fancy a road trip, a picturesque drive from Colombo will take you there in approximately 7 hours. If flying is more your style, domestic flights land at Ampara Airport. From there, it's about an hour's drive to the park. You can hire a local taxi or use a pre-booked shuttle service for convenience.


Sustainable Tourism

When you visit Gal Oya National Park, you are not only signing up for an unforgettable experience but also supporting sustainable tourism. The park authorities make continuous efforts to maintain the ecological balance, minimise human impact, and conserve the natural beauty of the park.



Gal Oya National Park is a haven for photographers. Whether you are an amateur seeking to improve your skills or a seasoned professional in search of captivating shots, this place won't disappoint. From the dynamic landscapes and mesmerising sunsets to the chance of capturing a rare wildlife moment, every second spent here is an Insta-worthy opportunity.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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