Gal Oya National Park was created in 1954 and is administered by the Department of Wildlife Conservation, it is a hidden unspoiled gem of a place . It includes 4 reserves that cover an area of 63,000ha of land, together with a number of mountains within it. The park is known to have some very special and rare medicinal flora.
The park consists of substantial savannah grasslands, and forest which includes a dam that has made Senanayake Samudraya into one of the larger reservoirs in the country. Where the Gal Oya (river) falls into the reservoir through a natural tunnel is known as the Makara Kata (the dragon’s mouth).
The Gal Oya subsists of a number of reservoirs and is a water catchment area with islands that hosts many nesting birds, particularly in ‘Bird Island’. It consists of over 140 species of birds which include the oriental dater, spot billed pelican, Indian cormorant, lesser whistling duck, white bellied sea eagles, grey headed fish eagle. Additionally, you will find one of the largest herds of elephants in the country and many other animals, such as leopard, axis deer, water buffalo, toque monkeys, wild boar, muntjac deer (barking deer). Many varieties of butterflies are to be seen, notable the endemic specie of the lesser albatross.
Close by in the Malwattai area there is the Buddhangala monastery with ruins of a stupa and other buildings. A further note of interest is that one of the last remaining Vadda (Indigenous people of Sri Lanka) communities in the country live in the area.