We love how spontaneous and adventurous our guests can be! Chiya and Austin were staying in our Bamboo apartment in Hikkaduwa, and after some great chats about Sri Lanka, we arranged a tour to the East Coast!
We left Hikkaduwa at 11:30pm, with bags packed with supplies- where we camp there is no luxury, and there are quite long drives between each location so it's a good idea to stock up on basics like large water bottles and mosquito coils before you leave.
Because we left late in the evening and drove through the night, it was a great opportunity to spot some wildlife! The route takes you around the outskirts of Yala National Park so we crossed paths with elephants, foxes and deer who had come close to the road to feed in the cool of the night.
The other bonus was that we arrived in Arugam Bay with an incredible sunrise! As it's still the off-season there, it was pretty quiet, with just a couple of lone surfers to be seen from the beach-just how we like it!
During High season, you wouldn't guess that the area is covered in paddy fields-it's usually so dry! Due to the monsoon rains, these large wetlands are full of life, with herons, kingfishers and crocodiles visible from the road.
In spite of being tired from the drive, there was a real feeling of excitement as we drove into Kumana National Park, frequently stopping to get a better look at the amazing variety of birds around us.
We arrived in Okanda happy but in need of a sleep! In High season this remote fishing village is a great destination for experienced surfers, but the monsoon sea is pretty flat at the moment with small waves carrying in the fishermen with their catch. We have friends amongst the village and are extremely privileged to be able to camp there with them, especially as there is no accommodation in the area and they are excellent hosts! They emptied a hut for us to have an afternoon snooze on its soft sandy floor.
It's really special to be standing on a beach like this, knowing that you are close to elephants and other wildlife, with no building in sight apart from the palm leaf huts.
We watched quietly as the fishermen brined their fish which were butterfly cut then laid out on the hot rocks to dry. Eagles circled overhead but didn't get too close to the fish.
Our guests took the opportunity to cool down with a swim while we had a little walk to buy some of the village's speciality- Pol (coconut) rotti, and sambol-the perfect afternoon snack!
As well as being a surf destination in High-season (March-Oct) Okanda is also the site of a Hindu temple- Okanda Devalaya, where in February a feast is held, attracting pilgrims from across the country. At this time however, we only saw a few people around the entrance, along with some extremely tame deer.
Dozing in the sun outside our hut, we could see some beautiful birds up-close. Just above where we were lying was a stunning green Bee Eater that was completely undisturbed by our presence. (We are lucky enough to have had some really kind guests recently who gifted us their copy of a book of Sr Lankan birds which helped us identify them! You can find it HERE )
I'll round this off here, as we have more to show you and this post is getting a bit long! -We got carried away with having a decent zoom lens on this trip and plenty to photograph! Next installment coming up shortly..