'Ceylon Safari - Phase 2 ' - 3 Days Exploring Southern Beauties
As written by Rtr Sachitha Bandara
The second phase of Ceylon Safari was to explore the Southern beauties of Sri Lanka. The journey started on 22nd of December from Panadura. Anna, Mariana, Sagar, Kalunde along with Rtr Nisal Matharage, Rtr Nalaka Gunathilaka and Rtr Sudhara Randombage left the lodging place early in the morning and traveled to Balapitiya hoping to go to ‘Madu river’, using public transportation.
We reached there at about 7.00 am and had the breakfast from a nearby restaurant. Then we went to the place where we had to take the boats for the ‘Madu river safari’ as we had planned. It was an amazing, very attractive place and the morning sun rise made the place more beautiful. The cinnamon plantation in the island gave our guests a different kind of an experience. Tour guides taught us about some cinnamon products such as cinnamon oil , cinnamon tea and some of us bought cinnamon products. We were also able to experience the taste of cinnamon tea. We landed to another island to have fish therapy. That was one of best parts of the safari and we came back with very beautiful photographs and memories.
After successfully finishing the Safari, we started our journey to Hikkaduwa. Our main aim was to do snorkeling. Both we and our guests enjoyed it very much. Kalunde, our guest from Kenya could spot an octopus too. After having a sea bath, some took sun baths also while tasting delicious king coconut. At the end of the day one of phase two, everyone came to Galle fort to explore the evening sunset from the fort.
Rtr Rahal Hettiarachchi, Rtr Sachitha Bandara started their journey on the same day by picking up two more of our guests, Stefania and Harry Charalambous. After picking them up from the airport, they directly traveled to Panadura, expecting to meet others in the evening at Galle fort. After 5 hours of exhausting, but interesting bus travel, they reached Galle fort and rested for sometime until others come. The time was about 8.00 pm, and everyone gathered at a nice tourist restaurant located inside the fort, where our foreign guests got to know our new guests, Stefania and Harry. Some of them tried an exquisite dinner at the restaurant.
After briefing things up there, we all travelled to the hotel where we planned to stay, using tour trishaws (famous as ‘tuk tuks’). The hotel was located near ‘Jungle Beach’ Unawatuna. There, everyone chatted for sometime and went to sleep, having a wonderful day.
On the next day, everyone slept at least until 8.00 am. After having breakfast and a very delightful tea, we went to the jungle beach nearby, which was our main event for the day. There we spent many hours (at least four hours as I remember) enjoying the tropical weather and untidy waves. Most of them had few minutes of sunbathe on the beach. We took a lot of photos there.they also tried some local king coconuts, which they appreciated so much. Everyone had a traditional lunch, back at the hotel where we stayed and after resting for sometime, we then departed from the hotel using trishaws, hoping to catch a public bus to Tissamaharama, to the hotel we booked to spend the night. The bus was very crowded and we had to try hard to get seats for our foreign guests.
After a three-hour journey, we reached to the hotel (more like a motel) and had our dinner from a local restaurant near the hotel, which they said was really tasty. The second day concluded after a little chat and everyone slept early as we had to wake up very early in the morning, for the last day of phase two.
We woke up at 4.00 am in the morning on the next day, to catch the beautiful scenaries of Yala National Park. TWe were able to catch some beautiful sceneries of wildlife in the country in our safari. We could also spend a few minutes at a beach inside the park. When the sun was getting brighter and hotter, we had to end the safari as wildlife was also hiding from the sun.
Having finished the safari, we went to an amazing hotel, located near ‘Tissa wewa’ to have the lunch. The place was so beautiful, that we could see the whole area from the rooftop. Some of us went for a little sightseeing, despite of all the exhausting activities we did in prior days. After a nice cup of tea, accompanied by an evening mack, everyone gathered at the rooftop to catch the scenario of thousands of birds (bats), leaving their habitats (Maara trees) at the same time, covering the whole lake area in black. That view was really rare and our guests were lucky enough to experience it.
After having that wonderful experience, we had to depart the hotel ‘Green Tree’ with the expectation of catching a bus to Colombo at about 6.00 pm. We could reach our hotel in Panadura around 11.00 pm and everyone was sleeping in the bus. That was the end of phase two of Ceylon Safari, which was a three day journey across the Southern part of Sri Lanka.