Koggala is a small, quiet, and peaceful beach-side town found along the breathtaking southern coast of Sri Lanka, a perfect destination for those seeking a bit of adventure while enjoying a relaxing vacation by the beach. Until recent years, the residents managed to mask away most of their valued places and activities from the world. With many curious and adventurous travelers visiting Sri Lanka, Koggala has now became a must-visit destination.
Here are the top 5 reasons you should visit or re-visit Koggala if you did not experience them during your previous stay in our small town.
The man on a stick with a trick – Stilt Fishing
If you have stayed at Fortress, you undoubtedly already remember the famous ‘Stilt Fisherman’ tradition. You must have seen the sticks perched along our beach or must have lucked out and even seen them in action. Though it is a dying tradition, the fisherman in Koggala still practices this unique style of fishing. The fishermen gather to fish mainly during the low tide, which is usually between November and March. The skilled craftsman of the town first erects a cross-shaped wooden pole out of mahogany wood. The fisherman then carries the structures out to the ocean yanks them deep into the sand. The cross-shaped sticks are kept untouched for a few days to ensure that they can withstand the waves and not wash off. Once the fisherman is happy with the positioning of the structure, they would walk or swim, depending on where they placed it, and start fishing. Despite heat or rain, most of the fishermen continuously work around 10 to 12 hours a day. It truly is a fascinating activity that one must see.
The Endangered Oceanic Turtle nesting grounds
Yes, we are talking about the magnificent Sea Turtles that visit our coastline frequently. Did you know that sea turtles can live up to 50 years? Pretty neat, wouldn’t you agree? Sea turtles are beautiful creatures, and sadly because of human interference population of sea turtles is shrinking 5.6% every year. Unethical and harmful fishing methods, harvesting sea turtle eggs, poaching, contamination of seawater, beach pollution, construction on coastal areas like nesting grounds are just a few threats that sea turtles face because of humans. One of the Fortress Sustainable Movement projects is to protect the sea turtles that visit our coast for nesting. Guest who stays at The Fortress Resort and Spa, especially between November and May, get the chance to see at least ten different sea turtles swimming by the beach looking for a perfect nesting area. Seven sea turtle species exist currently in our oceans: Green Sea Turtle, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, and the Flatback Sea Turtle. Five of them visit Sri Lanka. During your next stay at Fortress, ask our Turtle Ranger/ Lifeguard, Laksiri, for details about these majestic oceanic reptiles, or click the link here to read more about sea turtles.
The Virgin White Cha Leaves
What is Virgin White Tea? In the 05th and 06th century B.C., tea played an important role in Eastern culture. As a tribute to the Chinese Emperors at the time, tea connoisseurs sought luxuriously brewed tea that were fit only for royals. During the Tsong and Tsang dynasties, the Virgin White Tea ritual was born. The tea is picked and processed completely untouched by hand. This delicately prepared tea is rich in antioxidants and is known to be the healthiest tea in the world. The Handunugoda Tea Estate, located a few minutes away from The Fortress Resort and Spa, the Virgin White tea ritual is still practiced. You will notice tea pluckers suited in protective gear carefully with a keen eye sniping leaves for the preparation. The tea estate is around 200 acres, of which tea is grown on 150 acres. You can speak to one of our team members to plan and explore this grand plantation, join in on a tea tasting experience and learn more about the making of Virgin White Tea during your stay at Fortress. You can find information about the estate by clicking on the link here.
Explore the Enchanted Cinnamon Islands
Covering an area of 4.8 km in length and 2 km in width, The Koggala Lagoon is well known among travelers for several reasons. One of the key features is the lagoon is its rich ecosystem and biodiversity. There are seven small islands scatted in the lagoon that you can reach by boat. The islands are home to many wild animals such as tropical birds and reptiles such as crocodiles and monitor lizards. The natives on these islands have adapted to coexist with the wild animals. Most of them have found ways to sustain their way of life through the cultivation of cinnamon. The locals grow the cinnamon crops across the islands without disturbing the wildlife. When the cinnamon is fit to harvest, the cultivators cut the branches carefully, and the inner barks are separated, then dried to be prepared as cinnamon. When you take a tour of the islands, one of the island elders will show and teach you the various preparation methods of cinnamon. It truly is an exciting tour that you must experience when in the Koggala area.
Freshly served Seafood
Most of the local community in Koggala are fishermen. Daily the fisherman sets sail in hopes of catching fish. Restaurants around the area buy these fish and serve them to their guests. It is also common to see small fish markets operated by two fishermen along the roadside selling freshly caught fish. One of the fishermen catches fish, and the other sells them. The locals don’t just depend on fishing in the sea but also the lagoon. From small-size fish such as Goldstrip Sardinella and Seer to lobsters and tuna are caught and sold in the area. When visiting Koggala, you must stay and enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dish at our specialized outdoor seafood restaurant. Our award-winning chefs will surprise you with our wide selection of seafood dishes cooked to excite your tastebuds with every bite you take. You can make a reservation now at our Salty Snapper Seafood Restaurant by clicking the link here.