The Galoya National Park located 314 km south east of the city of Colombo is situated in the district of Ampara in the Eastern Province of the country. The park was established in 1954 as the main catchment area of The Senanayake Samudra, the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka which was built damming the Galoya at Inginiyagala, as part of the Galoya Development Program. The park is scenically located by the reservoir at the Inginiyagala entrance affording visitors the opportunity to enjoy a boat ride across the scenic reservoir; certainly a good way to take a peek at the park and its numerous islands. The park which covers an extent of 25,900 hectares is most famed for its Elephant population, witnessed right through the year. While taking a boat ride visitors can observe herds of elephants swimming across the reservoir from island to island to feed on the dense greenery of the islands. This magnificent spectacle is best observed between March and July each year. The boat ride will also afford visitors to observe flocks of birds nesting on “Bird’s Island”.
What is the best time to visit and go safari in Gal Oya National Park
It is suitable to go safari in Gal Oya National Park throughout the year, however, the dry season in the area is from April to September, which is a good window to see Elephants in the banks of Senanayake Samudra reservoir which is surrounded by Gal Oya National Park.
How to get in to Gal Oya National Park?
Gal Oya is 6 ½ hours drive from Colombo while from Kandy it is only 3 hours approximately. Ella is the closest touristic town to Gal Oya National Park with 2 hours and 40 minutes’ drive. Privately hired car is the only preferred way of driving to Gal Oya as the area is a very remote and isolated.
How to Explore Gal Oya National Park?
Only mean of visiting Gal Oya National Park is by a Jeep safari or by a boat safari in Senanayake Samudra reservoir which is surrounded by Gal Oya National Park. An experienced Jeep safari driver will ensure you are at the right place on right time for best game viewing opportunities.
Opening times of Gal Oya National Park
Gal Oya National Park is opened from 6 AM to 6 PM every day of the year.
Wildlife of Gal Oya National Park
The vegetation in the park consists mainly of shrub, grasslands and forest which is known to be rich in valuable medicinal herbs used in Ayurveda (A form of native medicine). 32 species of mammals have been recorded in the park which includes Elephants, Leopard, Langur, and endemic Toque macaque, Sloth bear, Wild boar, Sri Lankan Sambar deer, Axis deer and Water Buffalo. Amongst the reptile species visitors can witness the Mugger crocodile and Star tortoise with close to 150 species of bird species, both migratory and endemic. Amongst the endemic species are the Lesser adjutant, Spot billed pelican and Red faced malkoha. Some of the water birds that frequent the tank includes the Lesser whistling duck, the Indian cormorant, Orient darter and the Grey heron and a diversity of butterflies, amphibians and raptors.
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