The perfect location to explore Sri Lanka's deep south
Yala National Park --- Udawalawe National Park --- Whales & Dolphins at Mirissa ---- Turtles at Rekawa --- Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary --- Bundala Reserve --- Sinharaja Forest Reserve --- Mulkirigala Rock Temples --- Galle Fort --- Dondra Lighthouse
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The Hiriketiya-Dikwella Headland
The entrance to The Saffron House lies up a quiet lane 40 metres above sea level, the highest point on this small headland and sandwiched between two of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful beaches. Hiriketiya (Horseshoe) Bay, a 250 metres stroll, is idyllic, with safe swimming and a year-round surf break. 350 metres to the west of the house is Dikwella beach, a beautiful 2 kms stretch.
With Yala National Park (to the east) close enough for a day’s tour and Galle now easily accessible to the west, this is the perfect location from which to experience all Sri Lanka’s "deep south" has to offer; from elephants and leopards at Yala to leatherback turtles at Rekawa and blue whales at Mirissa.
Once around the southern tip of the island from the Galle coast, the main road is mostly set well back from a complex coastline, with small sandy bays, jagged rocky seafront and quiet, bird-filled lagoons. The road from Matara is quite new and a pretty drive through numerous tidy villages. The coastline is blessed with many kilometres of stunning, empty beaches and not far inland, serene paddy fields, cinnamon estates and wooded hills bursting with wildlife.
Sea & Beaches
Hiriketiya Bay has been “discovered” over the past few years and has developed a young, hip surf scene, but lost none of its beauty, a perfect horseshoe. 250 metres down the lane from the house to the east, the bay offers safe swimming and a useful year-round surf break; a sheltered beach break that’s great for beginners and a heavy left-hand reef that runs fast and holds well. Surf lessons and board hire are available. Check out Dot’s in the evening for good music and a lively atmosphere.
400 metres to the west of the house is Dikwella Beach which is 2 kms long and can have some big waves, although there is no good surf break, but fun for body boarding. It's also a great running beach. The water is usually very calm this end and is perfect for very small children. Dikwella Beach Resort lies at the far end and offers various water sports and also diving excursions.
Further afield, one of our favourites is Mawella Beach, about 5 Kms to the east, which is stunning, pristine, very long and usually deserted. About 10 Kms to the west is Talalla Beach. It is beautiful and worth a stop on your way to Galle or Matara and has a good surf break.
There's lots to see close to the villa. Dikwella has the largest sitting Buddha in Sri Lanka, and the local Saturday market is fun. We can organise guided moped trips into the hills inland or river trips from Matara. Dondra Lighthouse, 30 minutes' drive, on the southern tip of the island is worth a visit; climb to the top for amazing views. To the East of the villa, you can see turtles hatch in Rekawa and we recommend an evening boat trip at Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary; simply beautiful.
To the West, Galle Fort, just over one hour away, is a remarkable example of early Dutch and British colonial architecture with most of the columned residences now sumptuously restored, all set within the huge fort ramparts. From Galle we can organise bike rides inland through beautiful inland tropical landscape, with small reservoirs (tanks), magical paddy fields and low-land tea plantations. Or paddle board at Weligama, a huge stunning bay next to Mirissa harbour, where you can catch a whale & dolphin tour boat. Yala National Park is within reach for a day trip with an early start.