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Jungle of birds – Jetwing Kurulubedda an oasis of contemplation

Jungle of birds – Jetwing Kurulubedda an oasis of contemplation

By Juliet Coombe
We followed the golden sparkles of the fire fly as they flew over the brow of the hill that took us to Jetwing Kurulubedda a haven for wildlife and a wonderful tropical sanctuary for more than fifty species of birds. Only a short distance away from Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site and yet a world away from city living and stress. It’s a breathtaking spot to stop and enjoy a supernatural lifestyle, detox from buzzy city life and be at one with the elements. A place that is particularly stunning on the night of a full moon, fanned by the paddy fields cut out of the surrounding jungle, where dragonflies dance around the lotus flowers, insects sing, lizards change colour as they clamber through the canopy, and monkeys call out from time to time, in what can only be described as a true orchestra of nature.
A simple wooden planked walkway to and from the river takes you past splashes of colour from purple lotus flowers, floating in the village style pond, with frogs popping up from time to time and birds bathing in the pool. Sitting under a Kaduru fruit tree, used to make ornaments, one can take dips between birdwatching sessions in the early morning or late afternoon, enjoying meals of sumptuous fish and devilled prawns. Krishna, a local boat guy, will pick you up in a motorboat if you want to explore more of the river wildlife and show you crocodiles, different types of monkeys, jurassic style python like intertwined mangroves, some of the forty species of trees, twenty species of butterflies and, if you are very lucky, the fishing cat.
The main dining area, set on a pontoon made from natural fibres called Ilk, is like a giant look out point, yet cocooned in five star luxury, is an idyllic place from which to sip tea, eat delicious and watch the wildlife without disturbing them. Besides the laughter of passing village children on their singer bikes, and one or two boats on the Kepu river, the sounds are mostly made by twittering birds or a splash of water when a frog jumps into the pond. Two plunge pool villas are enjoyed by honeymoon couples, as they are more private, set away from the main quad of four stunning rooms with huge bird watching platforms or walk-out paddy field look outs. Mr. Nalaka Prabhath, who superbly manages the place, brings the Galle area traditions to life with his wonderful storytelling, cooking classes and eye for spotting wildlife as you going on daily walks with him or one of his wonderful staff. He provides a calm and rejuvenating environment that has made it one of the top five places to stay in Galle and we think the best place to eat, with delicious plot-to-plate tailor-made meals that are always sizzlingly good.