Aligama Village And Wasgamuwa
Trip Report By Ashan
It was just one of those times when one has to get away, and badly too. As we had never been to Wasgamuwa, we planned a 4 day trip to visit the National Park and also drive along two routes that we had not travelled before.
We were able to get a booking at Aligama Village. It was not a place recommended by anyone and it so happened that it came up on my Google search and we just liked the details on their web site. The main attraction was that it could accommodate only a small number of people, 2 cottages and 3 rooms, and we wanted “a quiet place that was green and away from all mankind”, so to speak. They responded very quickly to my email and the booking was done in no time.
Charges were very reasonable, Rs. 3,500 per day for the Cottage which can accommodate 4 adults comfortably and an additional Rs. 850 per person/day for all 3 meals. The route to Wasgamuwa took us via Kandy, Matale and Riverston.
Aligama Cottage is about 10 km after Hettipola. The road from Hettipola to Wasgamuwa along Minipe – Yoda Ela scheme is not in a good condition with large pot-holes but can be managed with a car.
The turn off to the place is before you reach Dunuwila tank and is marked. Aligama is great for birding. One wakes up to the raucous calling of red-wattle lapwings with their “did-heee-do-it”. It is pure bliss after that and if you are into photography, this is the place to be! You get a chance to see some village life too! There was a colony of Baya weavers just outside the premises and we spent many happy hours watching them. Aligama Cottage belongs to two brothers, Lakshitha and Luke Abeynaike. Luke was our host during our stay and you couldn’t wish for a better host. The food is typical village type and tasty. I just loved their egg curry with string hoppers.
Wasgamuwa National Park
“You will be disappointed with Wasgamuwa, nothing much other than elephants!” was what I was told by a friend who heard I was planning a trip there.
As only 10% of the park is open for visitors and the roads are also not very close to waterways compared to Yala, one has to work hard to see birds and other animals. But “nothing much”? It was life in every form at Wasgamuwa! What more could one want? Our driver Samitha was great. He was not used to people who “wanted anything more than elephants” as he commented to Luke Abeynaike after the first safari. He was quick to learn and respond to our requirements and the second safari was perfect. As the park is not so crowded and as Samitha drove slowly, we had two great game drives.
Our return was through Mahiyanganaya and the Daha-ata Wanguwa (18 bends) road to Kandy and then to Colombo. The road was a dream to drive. We had to make many stops as we just had to photograph the view. The bends are numbered, starting from Kandy and at the time we went, they had completed up to 10.
The view towards the East was great and I would give a lot just to be on that road at sunrise!
The only “negative” bit was the Kandy traffic! We spent nearly 2 hours trying to get to Peradeniya from Kandy.
Route > Colombo -> Kandy -> Matale -> Raththota -> Illukkumbura via Rivestone -> Hettipola -> Wasgamuwa / Aligama Cottage is about
11 km from the turn off from Hettipola / Return: Mahiyanganaya -> Daha- ata Wanguwa Road -> Kandy -> Colombo