Monday, June 12, 2017

Gal Oya – The absolutely quiet National Park

The Boatman against the setting sun
It is an absolutely strange feeling to stand in the middle of the jungle and only hear the sound of nature. Without being interspersed with the sound of vehicle engines, loud music or the screeching emanating from the loud speakers of a religious institution.
As surprising and contradictory as this statement sounds this has been the sad reality of my life.
Until I landed in the beautifully quiet Gal Oya National park.
The Main Road leading to the park
Off the beaten track and off many peoples travel itinerary it is 252 square miles of pure perfection in the South East corner of our island. This park is so isolated on average it receives 4 jeep loads of visitors a week instead of the 400 a day like certain other parks do. 
But you will find the eight hour drive from Colombo absolutely worth it because this is the only park belonging to the Wild Life Department where the Safari's are done by boat. The boat service is operated by the Wild Life department itself, is roughly three hours in duration. If you are nice they will allow you to get off at certain points and track an elephant or get up close and personal with some of the amazing bird life.
You can see elephants and deer quite easily but Leopard and bear have been elusive even though they have made their presence known by the spoor and track marks they have left behind. To me it is a huge relief because sometimes the pressure of MUST seeing a bear or a leopard takes away ones attention from appreciating the true beauty of the jungle.
The Wild Life department operates two bungalows which you can rent. One is Ek Gal Oya and the other is called the bunt bungalow because it is right on the bund of the lake and offers some magnificent views.
Ek-gal-oya Bungalow
If you would you rather have your jungle experience in peace and tranquility? Without the traffic jams, rude drivers speeding recklessly and hoards of people climbing on top of one another to get a glimpse of the next trophy sighting? Then the Gal Oya Park is the perfect place for you.

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