The wildlife at Calamansi Cove Villas

7th March, 2019

Words from Eveline Cadell of Calamansi Cove Villas who, like the guests and the staff of the villa is fascinated by the wildlife that discreetly crosses the paths of the property situated amidst the beautiful Geoffrey Bawa designed tropical gardens, its serene cove and golden beach.

A hotel in Balapitiya and nature at it’s best

Recently our guests have commented that they have driven all the way round Sri Lanka, and then landed up at Calamansi Cove Villas to
recover from the miles around the island only to find that – short of elephants – they manage to see more wildlife here than anywhere else!!

That is because during breakfast – they suddenly find the gorgeous old man “Harvey” ( a Sri Lanka Water Monitor, Varanus salvator salvato) skulking across the volleyball pitch from his lair to join the fishermen on the beach for breakfast and then lunch – and then heads back for a huge siesta and to digest his food across our seafront back to his lair.

Harvey in his splendour!  Photo credit: Ms. Sarah Fielding

Now Harvey is no small thing. Most people would say he is more like a dinosaur than a monitor lizard. He is absolutely huge – and based on the incredible amount of fish guts he consumes every day – we are not surprised. But our guests race back to their villas to grab their Nikons and Canons as he is the most incredible sight and luckily, because he is very old and very fat – quite slow and so, absolutely perfect photography matter.

Charmingly Harvey has lots of children and grandchildren in the resort (pictures) and they seem to be multiplying. Often seen lounging around under the loungers at the seafront or digging for worms (yum!) around the volleyball court. You will get a great view of them from our sea-facing hammocks.

And then, there are the yellow spotted monitor lizards, who come up from the Madu river and occasionally sunbath on our pathways. We often stand around watching them as they are really very special – apparently they eat the mosquitoes!

Bird watching, from your villa rooftop or from the beach

We also have here a pair of soaring sea eagles (white-bellied sea eagle – Haliaeetus leucogaster ) which grace us with their presence every morning and then at sunset, they are absolutely magical. Not so easy to photograph though, so best you book at least one night at Calamansi Cove Villas to see them for yourself.

Most evenings, around sunset you will catch a view of the most amazing bats flying from one palm tree to another. They fly in a beautiful formation and then fly off again.

Regularly – there are the big black silver-bearded monkeys that come down on top of the villas – they don’t come inside, but would much rather steal our crop of bananas lurking in the organic gardens behind us. However, they are fun to watch as they fly from branch to branch, without ever missing one!

Kids staying at Calamansi Cove Villas are always charmed by the hermit crabs carrying huge seashells on their backs, which they try and collect then realise they move and have legs! They do leave us with higgledy-piggledy traces all along the beach which are quite fun to follow and one always wonders what they had in mind and where they are actually heading?

Our resident pets, as mentioned on Calamansi Cove Villas TripAdvisor

Having spoken at length about our wildlife at Calamansi Cove Villas, we can’t not say a word about our resident pets.

They have all come to us in different ways but each one is amazing and very special and our guests are always mentioning them on TripAdvisor or Booking.com, which really is lovely.

Our dogs, Tommie and Jimmy who look after us all every day, take us for long walks on the beach and of course, lie under the sun lounger of any guest who pets them for more than a minute!

Our pets on  our beach. Photo credit: Mr Chaminda Somarathne

Both have been incredible and actually quite often walk our staff working late, back to the Staff House…that is of course as they are the ones that feed them on the whole. Sri Lanka being a Buddhist country, means that animals are completely looked after, and so most of the staff give them left overs of their staff meals on a daily basis. Incredibly only Tommie seems to put on weight, Jimmy remains lean and races on to the beach as soon as he sees any other dog trying to make an entrance into Calamansi Cove Villas!

And then of course there is Garfield, who is still young, but we are all convinced will become the proper Garfield shape in no time. Quite particular in that he choses who he likes and is the resident pet of our Manager, Shalini Gamage’s son Tarul, who adopted him as a kitten.

Mr. Croc on the Madu River Lagoon Safari

We do realise that this is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular activities and there are often quite a lot of people visiting the Lagoon.
However, because of our position here at Calamansi Cove, we are very privileged to be able to offer a Madu lagoon safari where you are picked up by a fisherman called Duminda, right from our beach, and you won’t have to queue with the tourists!

This means you will be graced with the most spectacular views of the rocks, a virgin beach before going in to the lagoon
and sailing past hundreds of islands (it appears that the Madu Lagoon has the most islands on it of any lagoon in Sri Lanka)

Amongst these islands, there is tiny one, on which Mr. Croc occasionally sunbaths. We were very lucky last Christmas to see him and be able to photograph him at our leisure while he yawned away at us, clearly totally relaxed and appeared to really enjoy posing for us!

Try your luck, book into Calamansi Cove Villas to have a go at shooting a sunbathing croc!