Gal Oya National Park
lies in the southeast of Sri Lanka and to the west of
Ampara. It was established in 1954
by the Gal Oya Development Board
mainly to protect the catchment area of the 'Senanayake Samudra'
Reservoir, and then handed over to the department of Wildlife
Conservation in 1965.
Considered as a major eco
tourism venue, the national park is rich in flora and fauna. About 45%
of the park is covered by evergreen forest and a further 33% is taken up
by savanna areas. The 25,900 hectare park has about 32 species of
mammals including common langur, endemic toque macaque, leopard, sloth
bear, elephant, wild boar, water buffalo and 3 species of deer.
For birding enthusiasts, approximately 150 of Sri Lanka 's 430 species of birds have been observed in this region.
History and the Description of the Gal Oya National Park:
When one talks of the Gal Oya National Park , it is inevitably the Boat Safari that comes to the fore. This Boat Safari is made worthwhile and interesting by the presence of many small islands covered with forest and outcrops which are haven to elephants and birds. Elephants have made these islands their 'own' as they are the champion swimmers among the mammals present in the park. Often you may see these Elephants grazing happily and freely without any intrusions. They swim from island to island as they wish in search of greener pasture. You may even, during the safari, see the wonder of these mammoths swimming in the lake heading towards an island.
Apart from Elephant Lovers, this boat safari has many surprises awaiting the Bird Lovers too. The "Kurulu Dupatha" or the " Bird Island " and some of these islands are 'infested' with birds. A great many varieties of birds in their entire splendor swarm these islands. You can step on to this Bird Island and walk through the forest up to the outcrop. From here, you can see so many birds' nests: some with eggs and some even with fledglings who are unable to fly away even when they spot you.
talking about the Boat Safari, we mustn't entirely forget about the
Jeep Safaris. At present there two jeep tracks running up to two
campsites, one of which is about 5 km and other about 13km.