Mahamodara River - Nature’s playground | Daily News

Mahamodara River - Nature’s playground

Exploring the stunning tropical gardens of Brief by Bevis Bawa are enough to whet any nature lover’s appetite to go out and explore more of the islands remote and special spots. So whether it is staying in a tree house drinking fresh kirayala fruits for breakfast or hiring a boat and exploring the Mahamodara River to learn about the islands ancient river traditions. You don’t have to be a jungle Jane or Jim to enjoy the many incredible tropical landscapes that have beguiled visitors from all over the world to fall in love with the island over the centuries.

So go on immerse yourself in nature playground and find a place to stay whether it is on the Mahamodara River or camping in Yala National Game Park. Where ever you decide to get off the beaten track there is always an orchestra of birdlife, acting as your early morning wake up call, and colourful dragon flies adding magic to your daily breakfast routine as they flit across the water lily ponds, while insects serenade you from the eaves of the buildings, and monkeys call for us all to join in the fun. After all what better way to start the day than swinging from tree to tree or just sitting on one doing a spot of Yoga absorbing the beauty of natures bounty.

The best nature experience in Galle is booking a half day boat safari with local eco expert of over twenty years Krishan at 6 am. His trips are always unforgettable on his daily river boat tours as not only did we see loads of different insects, plants and birds at sunrise, which is when they are the most active, but we also learnt first hand about the true village life and culture of the area. This trip can also be done again in the evening at 4pm when you will see lots of other types of wildlife towards the sunset and even a chance to capture images of the local one-meter rare river crocodiles.

In addition to being an excellent guided river trip due to Krishan huge knowledge of bird life growing up with his family along the banks of Galle’s rivers, it was also the more memorable learning about the changing history of the area. Superb at personal added value details as on hearing it was my birthday he turned the national flower, the blue water lily into the most stunning necklace by cleverly snapping the stem into sections and making a loop around it and the result was stunning. He also showed us many secrets like the wild hibiscus, which is mountain yellow in the morning and by evening it has turned into a fiery red colour. I learn how the incredible iconic Sri Lankan masks are made from the Balsa wood trees in the area, due to being soft wood when cut it acts like clay so you can carve it and then dry it out in the sun during the day before painting it with natural forest dyes collected from plants and then decorated the following morning.

On the trip you can see ten different types of lizards and a chameleon that changed its colour as it moved through the undergrowth, and even a catfish if you are lucky. My favorite birds were the King Fishers that followed the boat diving and catching small fish that wiggled in their mouths as they flew behind us enjoying how the swirl of the boat made catching fish all the more easy. We saw different coloured bugs and the best spot is the snake like mangroves that give the place a Jurassic feel and a chance for my sons to monkey around in the branches and feel like they are entering a lost world. However we are not the only ones who want to swing on the intertwined branches as we discover hiding in the pala look out point, we watch a troop of 12 purple leaf monkeys playing together without disturbing them they groom each other and cradle the baby just as humans do. We also observe several types of crab scuttling in and out of the mud and realize that the closer you look at everything from branches of trees to beneath the surface of the water the more you see of the natural world. Ditch your phones for the day and take only binoculars and cameras and you will find your children return much happier and at peace with their environment.

Following the butterflies we discover a plant shampoo can be made from, the Gobapara plant and also learn how to make conditioner from the olive tree leaf. We also learn how to cure sun burn useful in the tropics although do be careful with the wild Aloe Vera spiky leaves, and are also taught how the Areca Nut is good for teeth cleaning and the palm tree makes oil some people cook with, but actually is not a great thing to use for the environment. As we try sugar cane to give us a quick energy buzz before checking out the lively local frog life, which is natures indicator that all is well. Lots of different varieties popping up from time to time only vanishing into the mud or leaves, when birds came to have a bird bath or we made too much noise taking pictures from the boat.

Krishan Madhusanka is a unique local eco nature tour guide and warrior as you will see from his many years of reviews and excellent service record. He runs superb Eco Friendly Mahamodara River safaris, which include being picked up and the excellent jungle water safari that includes seeing crocodiles, different types of monkeys, monitor lizards pretending to be logs on the tree to catch unsuspecting birds, the many fascinating species of trees and vegetation each with a story to tell, twenty types of butterflies, water birds and, if you are very lucky, the fishing cat on a evening safari. His passion for spotting wildlife is infectious and despite my many trips around Galle I had no idea that this area has 17 different varieties of mangroves and over sixty types of birds can be found nesting in this jungle Jurassic like paradise for birds, of which 20 are migrants and right now is the best time to see them in January and February.

Splashes of colour from purple lotus at the entrance of the boat trip floating on the river reminded us all of a Monet painting it is so picture perfect and idyllic and only fifteen minutes away from the old city of Gallle Fort making it an easy trip to do. Krishan will happily complete any special trip by plucking a lotus out of the water and turning it into an ornate necklace or hair piece, which is a wonderful way to complete a lively river trip of the island.\


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