Gal Oya experience: climb monkey mountainBack
The Gal Oya area is resplendent with forest and lush with vegetation. Totally off-the-beaten-track and off-limits during the war, the area has avoided much development and the landscape is mostly unspoiled. Living within the deep forests surrounding the national park are the Veddas – Sri Lanka’s dwindling indigenous community, a mostly unheard of tribe who claim that this particular area has an unusually high density of medicinal plants that can cure any disease. This sense of mystery and mystique seems to be intrinsically linked with the landscape. From above one can’t see a thing through the thick bowers of the forest, cloaking the area in secrecy. But it is not only a rich range of plant life that you will find in these forests. Thirty-two types of mammals have been recorded in this area, as well as a notably wide variety of birds and reptiles. You are unlikely to see the larger mammals, but you will definitely come across some interesting birds, butterflies and reptiles. Climb to the top of Monkey Mountain for panoramic views of the surrounding forest.
Getting up at the crack of dawn to beat the midday heat, enjoy a quick cup of tea or coffee before you begin the climb with your naturalist. Monkey Mountain lies at the foot of the Gal Oya Lodge property and a swift twenty minute walk brings you straight to the base of the mountain. From there it’s an uphill climb, often hand-over-foot, towards the top. You’ll walk through forest, climb over giant boulders and hopefully spot some wildlife as you make your way to the mountain peak. It’s a tough two hour hike, but the views from the top will ease any aching legs on sight. Jutting out into the surrounding forest, the mountain offers phenomenal views of the Gal Oya area. It’s a serenely beautiful spot to spend an hour enjoying the views and the fresh air before you head back down towards the lodge again. Finish up with a well-deserved breakfast back at the lodge.