Enjoy a full-day private group day-trip exploring three amazing locations on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Visit is the beautiful Lunuganga estate, once the home of lawyer-turned-architect Sir Geoffrey Bawa. Then check out the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery before finishing with a boat ride on the scenic Madu River. Trip entrance fees and a private vehicle are included.
Your vehicle will pick you up from your hotel at 7:30 am. It will take approximately 1-1.5 hours to reach the Lunuganga estate in Bentota, where you will arrive around 9:00 am.
Spend the first part of your trip exploring Bawa’s estate in Lunuganga. Sir Geoffrey Bawa, the much renowned lawyer turned architect, made this estate his country home from 1947 till his death in 1998. During his sojourn there, he used the place as his experiment lab and made many architectural and interior additions. While visiting the estate you will get to see the beautifully designed gardens that are now open to the public. Some of the buildings of the estate are also now a country hotel. The tour of the estate will take two hours.
Then leave for the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery at 11am, arriving at 11:20 am. You will spend the next hour learning about the hatchery’s sea turtles and its conservation efforts. The best part of the hatchery are the touch pools, deep tubs of seawater with baby sea turtles swimming in them. Visitors are allowed to pick up and handle the turtles during this portion of the visit. There are also fully matured sea turtles of different kinds, receiving treatment for various ailments or wounds.
Then take a break for lunch after the hatchery visit, choosing an eatery that suits your preferences (lunch at your own cost). The lunch break will last an hour. You will leave for Balapitiya, home of the Madu River, arriving around 1:40pm.
Balapitiya is a little southern town lying in marshy wetlands. The area is rich in biodiversity thanks to the lagoon created by Madu River that flows into the Indian Ocean. Your safari will take you on a two-hour ride down the river. You will get to see the dense mangrove forest that grows along the marshy banks of the river and the various wildlife that live in the trees’ roots. You may also catch a glimpse of cormorants, pelicans, crocodiles and water snakes.
Your guide will also take you some of the larger free standing islands on Madu River. On one such island, you will find an old Buddhist monastery. Cinnamon harvesting is the main employment of the people of this area. In another of the slightly smaller islands you will be able to buy fresh cinnamon at bargain prices. Another attraction of the safari is the famous fish massage. This “massage parlor” is a hut standing on stilts in the middle of the river. A special netted area contains the massage fish. Sit on the deck of the hut with your feet in the water, while the fish “work their magic.”
After this relaxing two-hour boat tour, your will return to Colombo by 4pm, getting back to your hotel at 6pm.