Away from the crowds that gather at some of Sri Lanka’s more famous parks, visitors to Gal Oya are rewarded with spectacular vistas and unique wildlife experiences.

With a rugged mountain backdrop and the mighty Senanayake Samudraya reservoir flowing through it, this is a truly jaw-dropping place. The park is spread over more than 25,000 hectares of land, with more than half of this blanketed in evergreen forests. A further third of the park is classified as savannah, and the wide variety of landscapes here fosters a rich habitat for a range of wildlife.

There are more than 30 species of mammal within the park, including some of Sri Lanka’s most iconic animals. On game drives here you might be lucky enough to spot sloth bears, water buffalo, elephants and even leopards. Gal Oya is also a haven for bird enthusiasts, with almost 150 different varieties having been observed within the park.

Gal Oya is also famous for boat safaris; keep your binoculars trained to catch a glimpse of elephants and other wildlife swimming through the reservoir.


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  • Time zone: +5.5 GMT
  • Flight time: 10-13 hours
  • Recommended airlines: Emirates, Qatar Airways, SriLankan Airlines, Etihad Airlines
  • Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
  • Tipping guideline: Discretionary
  • Health considerations: There is a risk of dengue. There is no risk of yellow fever in Sri Lanka, however, yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
  • Capital: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (administrative), Colombo (commercial)
  • Population: 21,930,455
  • National languages: Sinhalese, Tamil, English
  • Electricity and plugs: Type D, M, G, 230V
  • Mobile phone coverage: Good
  • UK passport visa requirements: You need an ETA for Sri Lanka if you have a British passport - apply online

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