A remote property perched on the edge of Gal Oya National Park, this lodge has a glowing reputation that motivates people to return time and again. Set in a truly isolated part of the island, you are surrounded on all sides by lush countryside. The balance of comfort and connection to nature is phenomenal.
There’s a scattering of individual, lodge-style rooms around the 20-acre forest grounds, each purposefully designed to give guests a taste of the exhilaration of being in the jungle. The spacious, bright bungalows have high thatched roofs which increase the sense of light. They are locally designed and built, supporting the community and providing the perfect place to rest. The outdoor bathrooms are both totally private and tangibly connected to your surroundings, and the whole impression is luxurious and cooling. Imagine yourself reclining in an armchair in the open-plan main lodge, looking out over the pool, with the majestic Monkey Mountain in the distance...
Out east, in the middle of untamed wilderness within reach of some of Sri Lanka’s most fascinating wildlife, the Gal Oya is well worth making a detour for.
No Wi-Fi or phone signal
Boat safaris and jungle forays
Wildlife research station on site
Camera traps to track leopards
Gal Oya Lodge was just fantastic and the food was amazing. Damien, our guide, was so accommodating and made a very humorous companion on the safaris too!
Discover what to expect from staying at Gal Oya Lodge
This park and the lodge are so different from anywhere else, and the experiences are so memorable. The feeling of being in the wilderness is acute, even though the approach road to the lodge is actually one of the smoothest and newest in Sri Lanka. The jeep safari is a deep nature drive, with thick jungle on either side. Ford rivers, lunch by the riverside, and watch elephants in the water. Sense the elephants having passed where you stand just minutes before, and hustle a little to exit the park by nightfall.
Although the jungle safaris are wonderfully immersive, Gal Oya’s boat safaris are unique within the region, allowing you to see the wildlife from a totally different perspective. Head out onto the reservoir with one of the resort’s expert naturalists to discover water birds gathering, flocks of migratory birds taking flight, and catch glimpses of monkeys, crocodiles and other animals along the shoreline. The highlight, if you’re lucky enough to see it, is the sight of elephants swimming between small islands or basking in the sun at the water’s edge.
Enjoy the ambience and comfort of the lodge with its pool and fabulous food. The staff are extremely enthusiastic about what they do, and the casual, informal style, combined with exacting standards and fine cuisine, is an absolute winner. Make sure to include plenty of time in the park too. The boat safari on the reservoir is a must, and the deep jungle safari includes a delicious picnic lunch, river swimming and a walk or scramble over the rocks to the mouth of the river. For adventurous souls, a pre-breakfast hike up Monkey Mountain is unforgettable, if a little more challenging.
Due to its location, the lodge must be sustainable to operate, but this particular business is run by genuine naturalists. This is evident in all that you see, from the solar power, recycling and kitchen garden to the local staff and every building completed by local craftsmen. The fascinating research station is extremely significant, and visiting researchers use it as a base to gain a better understanding of the conservation situation in Gal Oya.
Combine the island’s top wildlife crowd pleasers with some magnificent hidden gems and cultural highlights before spending some time on the beach.