Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hidden Treasures of Galle

Hidden Treasures of Galle

Beyond the colonial Dutch heritage which Galle is renowned for, this somewhat laidback city in the south of Sri Lanka has its own hidden treasures, in the form of vast stretches of lowland rain-forest in Sinharaja and Kanneliya. But the most awesome of them all, is the rain-forest bordering the Hiyare Reservoir.

According to Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne the internationally renowned wildlife celebrity, “Galle is the rain-forest capital of Sri Lanka, and is the richest of Sri Lanka's districts, in bio-diversity”.

When I visited Galle with my TV crew, to seek out the hidden treasures of Galle for my TV series ‘Discover Sri Lanka’, I invited Gehan to accompany us, because of his valuable insight into all things wildlife. His input was to add educational value to the series of programmes on Galle.

My crew and I were invited to stay at the famous Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel during or stay in Galle. 

Perched upon a rugged outcrop, along the famed south western coast of Sri Lanka, the Lighthouse Hotel, is the last unique architectural triumph, of Sri Lanka’s iconic genius, Geoffrey Bawa.

Gehan and the hotel’s Naturalist Anoma Alagiyawadu, had methodically mapped out our Galle tou,r based on the Lighthouse Hotel’s excursion programme. We started off with a boat safari down the Mahamodara River, and a visit to Jetwing Kurulubedda followed by the Rainforests of Galle -  Kanneliya and Kottawa Forest Reserves and the Hiyare Rainforest Park.

The next day we travelled to Mirissa in the deep south of Sri Lanka, to “Frolic with Dolphins & Whales”. Mirissa is regarded as one of the world's best locations, amongst the top two or three, for watching Blue Whales & Sperm Whales. Our Galle tour concluded with the Seashore Trail along the coastline.

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