Dare to cross the "˜B
Two friends on a pilgrimage to Kateragama went exploring into "˜Veddha Country'. They discovered two large rocks with a natural pool and a waterfall on the banks of Menik Ganga (Gem river) and Galapita (on a rock) was born. At first they slept simply on mats under the stars, eventually building a hut. This project expanded as friends joined for weekends.
Now this eco-sanctuary can accommodate up to 12 guests, depending how cosy you want to be! Ideal for solo travellers or families looking for adventure.
Acres of unfenced land where the rhythms of the forest and changing seasons dictate this harmonious life. Dreams of sleeping under the stars come true in the four riverside pavilions or you may prefer to climb to the tree house tower where only birds can be seen and heard.
Visit the garden safari and natural swimming pool/spa where ropes and swinging tyres have been added to create never-ending fun.
Occasional sapphires have been found rolling along the riverbed.
An element of western luxury has been added to the pavilions and outdoor bathrooms but there is no escape from the refreshing cold water showers.
The flat land is surrounded by hills visited by sloth bears, eagles, wild boar and flocks of peacocks.
Perched on the rocks beside the river are the four clay pavilions, open to the elements. They have one wall and three open sides but are raised off the ground with 1ft walls to keep away unwanted visitors. Rattan mats underfoot, ochre hues behind muralsof flowers and you have the choice of double beds, hammocks or cushioned floors. Mosquito nets are provided but airflow is natural.
Straw roofs and driftwood doubling as furniture combine nature with comfort. Spaced out to offer visual privacy but not the sounds of fellow travellers - snorers and noisy lovers beware.
Shared bathrooms are a short distance away, featuring Western toilets, mirrored vanity units and private cold water shower rooms. Swimmers may opt to shower under the many open and pumped tree showers.
If you're a solo traveller and would welcome company in the wilderness, Galapita can pair like minded souls in one pavilion.
Walk around the purple carpeted lily pond and cross the small bridge to the Tree House. Climb 15ft to the wooden platform where cushions and rattan flooring are the only home comforts. Far away from Galapita life and bathroom conveniences, you might just brave it out one night and enjoy a birds-eye view of this wilderness at night - a myriad of stars twinkling above and owls hooting around you.
The communal living pavilion is a riverside house party. Relax in chairs downstairs or sprawl on cushions on the mezzanine.
Guests sit around and chat by day whilst some prefer solitude in the many suspended beds and hammocks around the estate. The solar energy system maintains the paths' lanterns and occasionally the stereo, so bring your favourite CD's.
Galapita grow their own rice, vegetables and culinary herbs using organic methods. The fish and seasonal prawns come from the surrounding rivers and east coast. Meat eaters will not be disappointed as the flavours are awesome and Dhal provides plenty of protein. They serve a diverse array of Sri Lankan delicacies cooked using traditional cooking methods. The kitchen is open plan, for all to learn, featuring clay pots on wooden fires.
There is plentiful fruit and local buffalo curd and treacle (rather like Greek yoghurt).
Breakfast and lunch are more of the same really. Rotti (like pitta bread) and Dhal is a delicious breakfast.
Alcohol will need to be planned in advance. Local "Arrack' is easily sourced but you might want to source some Coca Cola/Sprite to soften the taste.
Galapita has no fridges.
For recommendations on places of interest, activities and local transport in the UVA province, click here.