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Gal Oyo Lodge is a boutique eco-lodge set in the heart of Sri Lanka’s largest and least visited national park. It’s a place to escape the crowds, enjoy the wildlife and nature, and experience the authentic rural life of the island. Each of the 10 bungalows has its own private garden, outdoor shower and veranda, as well as access to a swimming pool, a restaurant and a library. You can also enjoy delicious meals made with organic produce from the lodge’s own farm, or join one of their cooking classes or wine tastings. This is more than just a lodge: it’s a sanctuary for both humans and animals.
What makes Gal Oyo Lodge unique is its location and its ethos: this is a lodge that is surrounded by one of Sri Lanka’s most diverse and pristine wildlife habitats, and that is committed to protecting and enhancing it. The lodge works closely with the park authorities, the local communities and various NGOs to conserve the natural resources and the wildlife of the area, such as elephants, leopards, crocodiles and birds. The lodge also supports various social and educational initiatives, such as providing scholarships, training and employment opportunities for the local youth, as well as promoting organic farming, handicrafts and cultural heritage. You can learn more about the lodge’s work by visiting their conservation centre, joining their nature walks or attending their talks and presentations.
The lodge is located on the edge of a small village called Bibile, on a 20-acre estate that overlooks the Gal Oya reservoir and the mountains. The estate was once a barren land that was reclaimed and restored by the lodge’s founders, who planted over 2,000 trees and created a natural habitat for birds and butterflies. The estate also has an organic farm, a nursery, a dairy and a bakery, which provide fresh and healthy food for the lodge and the village. The lodge is also close to the entrance of the Gal Oya National Park, which covers an area of over 25,000 hectares and is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.
The lodge is designed to blend in with the environment and to reflect the local culture and architecture. The bungalows are built with local materials, such as wood, stone and mud, and are decorated with colourful fabrics, paintings and artefacts. The bungalows are spacious and comfortable, with king-size beds, ceiling fans and en-suite bathrooms. The bungalows also have large windows and doors that open onto private verandas, where you can relax on your hammock or enjoy your outdoor shower. The main lodge has a cosy lounge area with sofas, books and games, a dining area with communal tables and a bar area with a fireplace. The lodge also has an infinity pool with sun loungers, a spa with massage rooms and a yoga deck, and a library with books, DVDs and Wi-Fi. The lodge has a rustic-chic vibe that combines elegance and simplicity, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for its guests.
Gal Oyo Lodge is a pioneer of sustainability in the region, and has won several awards and certifications for its environmental and social practices. The lodge follows the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle, and uses renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and biogas plants, to power its facilities. The lodge also minimises its water consumption and waste generation, and uses eco-friendly products and materials, such as organic cotton, bamboo and jute. The lodge also grows its own food organically, and sources the rest from local farmers and suppliers. The lodge also educates its guests and staff on sustainability issues, and encourages them to adopt green habits and behaviours.
Gal Oyo Lodge is not only a place to stay, but also a place to make a difference. The lodge is actively involved in the development and empowerment of the local communities, especially the youth and the women. The lodge provides scholarships, training and employment opportunities for the local youth, who make up 90% of its staff. The lodge also supports various women’s groups and cooperatives, who produce handicrafts, honey, dairy products and other items for the lodge and the market. The lodge also promotes the cultural heritage of the area, by organising festivals, events and performances that showcase the local art, music and dance. The lodge also facilitates the interaction between the guests and the locals, by arranging village visits, homestays and cultural exchanges.
The lodge has 10 bungalows that can accommodate up to three people each. The bungalows are divided into two categories: Lake View Bungalows and Forest View Bungalows. The Lake View Bungalows have stunning views of the Gal Oya reservoir and the mountains, while the Forest View Bungalows have views of the forest and the estate. Both types of bungalows have similar amenities and features, such as king-size beds, ceiling fans, en-suite bathrooms, outdoor showers, private verandas and hammocks. The bungalows are also equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, bottled water, torches, umbrellas and insect repellents. The bungalows are serviced twice a day, and have 24-hour room service.
Food and Drink The lodge offers a variety of food and drink options for its guests. You can enjoy your meals in the dining area of the main lodge, or on your private veranda or by the pool. You can also request a picnic basket or a candlelit dinner in a secluded spot. The food is prepared with fresh and organic ingredients from the lodge’s own farm or from local sources. The menu changes daily, and includes Sri Lankan, Continental and regional dishes. You can also join one of the cooking classes or wine tastings that are organised by the lodge. The bar area of the main lodge has a selection of wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks. You can also order hot drinks, juices and smoothies from the café. The lodge also caters for special dietary requirements and preferences on request.
Wildlife safaris: The main attraction of the lodge, these safaris are conducted in open jeeps or boats with expert naturalists. You can choose from morning or evening safaris, or full-day safaris with picnic lunches. You can also opt for night safaris or elephant safaris for a different perspective.
Nature walks: Another way to experience the wilderness, these walks are led by trained guides who will show you the flora and fauna of the area. You can choose from different trails and durations, depending on your interest and fitness level.
Birdwatching: The lodge is a paradise for birdwatchers, as it has over 150 species of birds in its vicinity. You can spot colourful birds such as kingfishers, bee-eaters, hornbills and flycatchers on your walks or safaris. You can also join one of the birdwatching sessions that are organised by the lodge.
Cycling: A fun and eco-friendly way to explore the area, cycling allows you to cover more ground and see more sights. You can rent a bicycle from the lodge and follow one of their suggested routes, or create your own itinerary. You can cycle through the village, the farm, the forest or the reservoir, and stop at places of interest along the way. You can also join one of their guided cycling tours, where you can learn more about the history and culture of the area from a local guide.
Boating: A peaceful and relaxing way to enjoy the water, boating allows you to glide along the Gal Oya reservoir and see the wildlife and scenery from a different angle. You can rent a boat from the lodge and paddle at your own pace, or join one of their guided boat trips. You can also try fishing or swimming in the reservoir.
Camping: A more adventurous and immersive way to experience the wilderness, camping allows you to spend a night under the stars and listen to the sounds of nature. You can choose from different camping options, such as luxury tents, dome tents or hammocks. You can also enjoy a bonfire, a barbecue and a night safari on your camping trip.
Cooking classes: A delicious and educational way to learn about the local cuisine, cooking classes are offered by the lodge’s chefs. You can learn how to make some of the dishes that are served at the lodge, such as rice, curry, roti and sambol. You can also learn about the spices and herbs that are used in Sri Lankan cooking.
Gal Oyo Lodge is a great base for exploring the wider region of Sri Lanka and beyond. You can discover the rich wildlife and biodiversity of the area, as well as the cultural and historical attractions. Some of the highlights include:
Gal Oya National Park: The main attraction of the area, this park is one of the largest and least visited national parks in Sri Lanka. You can spot elephants, leopards, crocodiles, deer and many more animals on your safaris. You can also enjoy other activities, such as walking, cycling, boating and camping in the park.
Maduru Oya National Park: Another nearby park that is known for its elephant population and its ancient ruins. You can visit the Vedda village, where you can meet the indigenous people of Sri Lanka and learn about their culture and lifestyle. You can also see the remains of ancient Buddhist temples and statues in the park.
Kandy: The cultural capital of Sri Lanka, this city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts many historical and religious monuments. You can visit the Temple of the Tooth, where the sacred tooth relic of Buddha is enshrined, or the Royal Botanical Gardens, where you can see a variety of plants and flowers. You can also enjoy the cultural shows, festivals and markets of the city.
Sigiriya: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this place is famous for its ancient rock fortress that rises 200 metres above the surrounding plains. You can climb to the top of the rock and see the frescoes, gardens and ruins that date back to the 5th century AD. You can also visit the nearby Dambulla Cave Temple, which has over 150 statues and paintings of Buddha.
The lodge is located in Bibile village, about 300 kilometres from Colombo, the nearest airport and railway station. You can take a flight or a train to Colombo from major cities in Sri Lanka or abroad. From Colombo, you can take a taxi or a bus to the lodge, which will take about 6 hours. The lodge can also arrange transfers for you on request.
- Limits plastic use
- Actively reduces consumption
- Sustainable build
- Solar powered or renewable energy
- Funds projects
- Local or organic food
- Up to 2
- Up to 4
- Wildlife watching
- Safari or wildlife
- Up to one day