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Gal Oya National Park

The Gal Oya National Park established in 1954, is situated in the Uva and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka and serves as the main catchment area for Senanayaka Samudra. The Senanayaka Samudra is one of the biggest reservoirs in Sri Lanka.  A significant feature of the Gal Oya National Park is the herds of elephants which roam the park and are seen the whole year through. Apart from what has been stated above, Gal Oya National Park is home for important herbs that are used as Ayurvedic medicines.

The mountains of the park are Danigala, Nilgala and Ulpotha with the park’s elevation varying from 30 mm to 900 m. An alternative method reaching the Gal Oya National Park is by way of crossing the Senanayaka Samudra is by boat from Inginiyagala.  Birds Island situated in the reservoir is an island where birds of different species nest during the year.

Vegetation in the forest is abundant and falls into three categories, namely forest, shrub and grassland. The park contains a vast area of savannah grasslands which is referred to in Sinhalese as thalawa and the pathana is the word for the mountainous grasslands,

Mammals such as the Sri Lankan elephant, Sri Lanka axis deer, muntjac, water buffalo, Sri Lankan sambar deer, Sri Lankan leopard, toque monkey and wild board are some of the mammals whose home has been the park for many years. There is also the reptile species who are the mugger crocodile and the star tortoise.  There are many varieties of birds as well.

Gal Oya Park is a major eco-tourism area. The best of times to visit the park is from March to July. It is during this time that tourists on the boat safari will be able to get a spectacular view of the herds of elephants swimming from one island to another from the Senanayaka Samudra Reservoir.

Apart from wildlife, Gal Oya is residence for a special Veddah clan in Sri Lanka. Veddahs are indigenous people in Sri Lanka and they are still resident in Nilgala area of the Gal Oya National Park.