Visitors to Samakanda are welcome at any time. Please come and walk the trails, pick your own salads and herbs, bring a picnic, stay for lunch, lie in a hammock, go bird-watching, swim in the river…
Samakanda has three buildings available for accommodation – the Top Bungalow, the Lower Bungalow and the Mud Hut.
At the heart of Samakanda, The T-Shed is a multi-purpose structure built on the site of the original ‘weighing shed’ used when the property was a conventional tea estate. Constructed purely from natural materials found on the land-mud, timber and palm frond cadjan thatch - the T-Shed serves as a large central gathering space, suitable for workshops, yoga, seminars, film screenings, exhibitions and celebrations. For details on events and courses.
THE BUNGALOW RIDGE
The old 1920s Planter’s Bungalow has been fully renovated, while retaining its original charm. Consisting of two double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, one adjoining children’s room, kitchen and sitting room, the Bungalow provides self-catering accommodation available for rent.
The Bungalow is the only building on-site connected to mains electricity and comes equipped with fridge, gas cooker, blender, telephone, Internet and solar hot water. One adjoining room, with separate access, offers an extensive ' library of ecological books, magazines and DVDs.'
Behind the bungalow is a secluded and partially shaded cooking and dining area, complete with barbeque and wood-fired pizza oven. Guests are welcome to pick fresh salads and herbs from the extensive vegetable gardens and can be supplied with a steady stream of fresh, seasonal fruits, from papayas, passion fruits and bananas to drinking coconuts and rare delicacies like the anoda (soursop).
The ridge behind the Bungalow is isolated from the rest of the property, with private paths, gardens and shady secluded spots for quiet contemplation. Guests in the Bungalow have exclusive access to Samakanda via the private entrance.
Between the T-Shed and the Bungalow, the Ambulama is perched dramatically above the Bowl. Also constructed from natural materials sourced on-site, this open pavilion provides a central gathering space for smaller groups.
Perched on the edge of the ridge above the T-Shed, with spectacular views back south to the coast and up north towards Sinharaja rainforest, the Fire Pit provides the perfect location for soaking up the landscape by day, or star-gazing and bathing in moonlight by night. A large mango tree and jak tree offer shade during the day, with cooling breezes wafting from either direction. The Fire-Pit itself can also be used as a barbeque cooking area, surrounded by low tables, mats and cushions to create alternative areas for drinks, meals and relaxation.
Shaped like a natural amphitheatre, complete with original stone terracing, the Bowl is the core agricultural zone at Samakanda. Blessed with nutrient-rich topsoils, washed down from the ridges above, along with pristine water sources from a series of wells, the natural topography also creates a sheltered microclimate suitable for a wide variety of crops. Two acres of old tea have been replaced with new bushes, then intercropped with over 1500 fruit trees, including mango, avocado, mangosteen, rambutan, papaya, wood apple, lime and orange, along with spices like clove and pepper vines.
The swampy area at the bottom of the Bowl has been excavated as a fresh-water lake and swimming area, surrounded by a series of aquaculture ponds with flowering lotuses and water chestnuts. A series of terraced paddy fields stretch from the lake up towards the Lower Bungalow, surrounded by beds of rocket, basil, tatsoi and various other ayurvedic herbs and rare vegetables, like Egyptian spinach and rosella.
Overlooking the Bowl is the Lower Bungalow, another self-catering option for accommodation. This is made available on the same terms as The Bungalow .
The Lower Bungalow was an existing building now rendered with mud on the exterior and extensively refurbished, providing one double bedroom and one single, kitchen, bathroom, sitting room, dining area and wide verandah, with fine views over the Bowl. The building is equipped with solar hot water and solar electricity.
A ‘herb spiral’ winds up and over rocks to one side and a kitchen garden at the back allows easy access to various fresh salads. A spiral of banana and papaya trees encloses another outdoor shower, fed by a bamboo pipe. Like the Bungalow, the Lower Bungalow is equipped with a wood-burning pizza oven outside.
THE SPICE GARDEN
The Spice Garden is the central arrival area for visitors, with car park, 'reception' visitor information centre, the Samakanda shop and main office. The various walks and tours are all designed to start and finish from this point. Less developed at present than The Bowl, the Spice Garden will integrate existing tea with inter-cropped spices, various bamboos and traditional local vegetables, like cassava (manioca), snake gourd, bitter gourd and wing bean.
Areas have also been demarcated for cultivating ornamental flowers, a work-zone consisting of pottery studio, creative office space and crafts centre, plus additional land for commercial vegetable production protected by shade-cloth.
Heading west from the office building, the main path takes one into the Bowl and towards the T-Shed, Bungalow and western end of the Ridge. Heading east takes one past the old Workshop, a large example of traditional mud building, where timber was once stored and seasoned for building but is now being converted into accommodation for volunteers, providing three double bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and an open sided living space. The path then forks, dropping down to the River Walk on the left, or up to the Banyan Tree and Ridge Walks to the right.’
THE RIVER WALK
This rambling walk takes one down a steep path to the Polwatta Ganga, a river that borders the eastern boundary of Samakanda and ultimately flows into Weligama Bay on the coast. For most of the year, the river is suitable for bathing, with a series of rapids and rock pools.
The path takes one through the zone filled with most of the rare and endemic rainforest flora, following a small stream that twists and turns between stone terraces and grottos of large boulders. Remnants of the old tea estate are still visible beneath the jungle, with overgrown tea bushes turning into trees over perfectly preserved stone terraces, steps and drains. The hike back up from the river is quite steep and strenuous, so allow at least one hour for the round trip.
THE BANYAN TREE
The Banyan Tree zone was only revealed after some months of work on the land. A small clearing has been made around one banyan and paths opened up to two others, taking one past dramatic overhanging rocks, grottos and small caves.
Surrounded by encroaching jungle, this is perhaps the most peaceful part of Samakanda, suitable for meditation and quiet contemplation within a primal, natural setting. Beneath the main banyan, sheltered by a massive overhanging rock and accessed by steps down through a narrow gorge, lies a primitive stone shrine, surrounded by stone seating. A large mound-shaped rock, representing the feminine energy of Shakti, stands over the stone phallus representing the Hindu god Shiva.
The shrine was probably created by Hindu Tamils that would have lived and worked on the tea estate, some families living in the now ruined ‘line building’ nearby. In the next phase, this area will be developed as a ‘healing zone’, the existing structure renovated as treatment rooms for massage and ayurvedic therapies. Rare ayurvedic and medicinal plants are being introduced for various preparations made on-site.
‘A more recently opened path now winds from the shrine back through the jungle, past another equally impressive Banyan tree. This shelters a shrine to The Buddha on some enormous boulders, which look like they previously formed part of an ancient human habitation. When evening events are held at Samakanda, these paths are lit with flares and clay lamps, creating an atmospheric ‘magical mystery tour’ through the jungle.’
THE RIDGE WALK
The vast bulk of the land, the ridge will remain relatively untouched, preserving as much habitat as possible for a ‘biodiversity refuge’. An ecological study identified numerous rare trees, plants, ferns and orchids, along with considerable birdlife and wildlife, including porcupines, pangolins, wild boar, pythons, cobras, giant squirrels, ring-tailed civets and two species of endemic monkey. By maintaining the boundaries and adjoining land, we hope to protect many of these from illegal poaching and ensure them a place of refuge for the future.
A number of paths wind their way up, down and around the ridge, but all start or finish from the T-Shed, or the top access to the Banyan Tree. Vistas have been opened up at strategic points, to take full advantage of the spectacular views in each direction. Apart from modest thinning in places for our timber needs, or removing an invasive species for cattle fodder, the rest will be left as it is.
The paths and terraces wind to the crest of the ridge and all along the top, taking one through a Forest of Tea, the long neglected bushes now over twenty feet tall. Albizzias, kitul palms, jak, rubber and breadfruit trees tower above, along with other rare endemic hardwoods like goraka.
Hiking up and down the ridge can be done quickly in half an hour, or extended to a much longer amble, virtually all of it shaded. By taking in the Bowl and the River Walk, a hike of at least three hours is possible, without leaving the land. By taking in a swim in either the river or the lake, this can comfortably stretch to five or more, suitable for a morning, an afternoon or even a whole day.
All rates include breakfast, one further meal per day (lunch/dinner) and guests in any building have access to the four Samakanda mountain bikes free of charge.
All children 12-16 are charged at half price and children under 12 welcome for free.
Laundry, transport, local tours, pizza oven sessions, movie nights in the T-Shed, massage, ayurvedic treatments, food shopping etc, are all available at low extra cost.
The Top Bungalow – sleeps 4 adults plus up to 6 children
The Lower Bungalow – sleeps up to 4 adults
The Mud Hut – sleeps up to 6 adults
Food is very important to us at Samakanda. Indeed, the roots of the project stem back to the time founder Rory Spowers worked as a chef in London’s famous River Café restaurant. Rory’s passion for cooking led to his passion for growing fresh, nutritious, organic produce and thus led him down the road to Samakanda.
Rory’s old boss, the River Café’s Rose Gray, oversaw the construction of the first pizza oven, conducted a kids pizza workshop at the first Galle Literary Festival and pronounced Samakanda rocket (arugula) to be the best she had ever eaten anywhere!
Other celebrity chefs have also passed through Samakanda and enjoyed culinary adventures with the fruits of the forest garden: TV chef and UK champion of ‘real food’ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a Web of Hope patron and was present at the Samakanda launch; Peter Kurivitas, from Sydney’s famous Flying Fish restaurant, cooked up a storm, grilling freshly spiced tuna steaks inside banana leaves and Rick Stein’s BBC crew deemed our jak-fruit curry and ‘gotu-kola’ sambal to be the best they had tried in Sri Lanka.
Most rice and curry dishes are prepared by Mallika, who looks after the bungalows, but guests are very much encouraged to get involved if they want to learn the secrets of local delicacies.
Visitors are free to experiment with any of the produce available and use the BBQ areas or clay pizza ovens, which can be used to roast fish, meat and vegetables, as well as baking pizzas or breads.
City - Galle
Category - Home Stay in Sri Lanka
Distance from Colombo - 136 Km (3.40 hour drive)
Distance from Airport - 166 Km (4.30 hour drive)
Price Guide - Rates on Request
Minimalistic, stately and elegant this inspired creation will captivate you with its unparalleled wonder.
12 sumptuous rooms and 2 exquisite suites, set in a colonial mansion, in the heritage city of Galle. The house has a colorful 250 year old history...
The Sun House
At The Sun House we offer our guests the ideal chance of being transported back to the relaxed life styles of the planters, when a day began with a hearty breakfast and finished with a cocktail at sunset.
The Dutch House
The Dutch House has set the pace in redefining luxury accommodation for the individual traveller in Sri Lanka.
Kahanda Kanda (KK) one of southern Sri Lanka's most stylish boutique hotel, offers the indulgent luxuries of a private villa, with five star service.
Two buildings separated by a centrally located garden make up Thambili House. Named after the refreshing king coconut, Thambili House is a high ceiling 4 bedroom house perfect for families and groups of...
On the Southern coast of Sri Lanka, in close vicinity to the historic city of Galle, a resort that can truly be called your own private Eden hides amongst the trees.
The Fort Printers
The Fort Printers is an 18th century mansion, recently restored into a fully serviced, elegant villa with classic and modern furnishings in a colorful palette.
Closenburg Hotel - Galle
Closenberg is a Colonial Hotel situated in Galle, with large spacious halls and long Verandahs adorned with antique furniture. High ceilings resting on tall round columns and large louvered Teak doors set in...
Aditya Luxury Boutique Hotel - Galle
Aditya, completed in early 2006, is undoubtedly one of the finest boutique Hotels in Sri Lanka. It sits on a secluded stretch of beach in Rathgama, midway between the hedonistic beach resort of Hikkaduwa and...
The Beach House
With direct access onto one of the finest beaches in the Indian Ocean, a large tropical garden and a stunning infinity pool, this is definitely barefoot luxury at its best.
25 Rampart Street - Galle
25 Rampart Street started as an adventure for the owners and the time taken to get every piece right has more than paid off. From the eclectic mix of beautiful antiques and modern furnishings to the dappled...
Ambassador's - Galle
A large house in the Fort in a quiet part of Lighthouse Street close to the crystal clear beaches that provide good snorkling.
Ambalama - Galle
A newly built beach villa with 2 bedroom suites either side of a Balanese tiled pool with infiniti edge.
IF Villa - Galle
IF....if only all beach villas were made this way. Located on a fabulous stretch of beach with its own crystal clear reef protected lagoon this is the ultimate villa in the Galle area.
Malgedara is a spectacular villa, fully enclosed for privacy, with 1 acre of lush tropical surroundings for you to experience nature and beauty up close and so close to Galle.
The name Auraliya evokes the aura of the elephant, combining “Aura” and “Aliya” the Sinhalese for elephant. Auraliya is a stunning, newly built, luxury beach villa which is ideal for families and...
Villa Sanda Kirana-Galle
Sanda Kirana, literally meaning Moonbeams, is a beautiful 4 bedroom beach house facing south west across the Indian Ocean and located just 5 kms from the historic Galle Fort.
The Old Lady At The Sea-Galle
A colonial manor on the coastline, built by the Dutch in the 17th century, since renovated and operational as a charming, luxurious hotel.
Mamas Guest House-Galle
Mamas Galle Fort Roof Café and homestay is situated in the world heritage site of Galle Fort.
Peace and Plenty Hotel-Galle
Peace and plenty hotel is a historic family villa that located in Old Dutch fort at Galle Sri Lanka. More Than two Hundred years old. It is a small place which has three rooms, living area and Restaurant which...
An ancestral Sri Lankan House refurbished by the present Canadian Owner, Mr. David Clark. Located amidst lush greenery of Rubber plantation.
Everyone who stays at Kikili Beach, feels the love poured into this one bedroomed, granite stone house with all the necessary facilities, large dining verandah and spacious garden, situated on a beautiful...
Galle Fort Hotel
The renovation of Galle Fort Hotel is a triumph. The hotel evokes a subtle sense of colonial grandeur, skillfully updated for the modern age.
Tisara villas - Koggala
Tisara Villas offers an unhurried holiday in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Nine villas, each with two bedrooms, are set within walled gardens.
Polheena Estate - Kathaluwa
Situated inland in Kathaluwa on a peaceful fruit estate, Polheena Estate is a beautifully restored walawua or manor house that is ideal for families or friends travelling together.
Villa Sri Devi - Habaraduwa
Villa Sri Devi is the ideal place for complete relaxation. Fully staffed with a cook, a maid and 24/7 staff presence. The villa itself is in perfect condition with all modern facilities
Fort Bliss Galle
This newly built, spacious and airy colonial type four room property overlooking the ramparts is situated in one of the most popular tourists locations in Sri Lanka, the famous Galle’s 17th century Dutch...
The seven generous rooms are equipped with high quality furniture and luxurious bathrooms. From every room you have a wonderful view into nature.
Jetwing Era Beach - Galle
Rolling swells, golden sunsets and sands to call your own at a place where luxury abounds and warmth beckons you to linger.
Deco on 44-Galle
Nestled within the historic Galle Fort in the south of Sri Lanka, Deco on 44 offers you the finest luxury accommodation within this unique, historic, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Fortress Resort and Spa-Galle
Enter a world of chic sophistication infused with boutique luxury as you step through the great wooden doors of The Fortress Resort and Spa. Ensconced in the historic town of Koggala, The Fortress is an oasis...
Thenu Rest Guest House-Galle
Thenu Rest Guest House is a popular choice amongst travelers in Galle, whether exploring or just passing through.
Fort Dew Guesthouse is a family owned guesthouse and restaurant which has been running since 2006. Located near the ramparts which surround Galle Fort, our primary aim is to ensure that every one of our
Along the narrow streets of the Galle Fort, entrenched within the ancient rampart is BAAN 25 VILLA, a colonial villa, which has served as a holiday-home to many visitors from around the world.
This elegant colonial building, once a spice warehouse, was built around 1600 in the heart of Galle Fort by a Dutch merchant. More recently it has been converted into a boutique hotel with four air-con
Relax in the serene surroundings of a beautifully renovated original Sri Lankan house overlooking rice paddy just 10 minutes from Galle .
48 lighthouse street - Galle
Atmospherically located within the ramparts of the 17th-century Galle Fort, 48 Lighthouse Street is an extraordinary sanctuary from which to explore the
Satin doll - Galle
This recently renovated beach villa, designed by Ron Sidell and Bruce Fell-Smith, combines an authentic old-world charm with modern style
Mars Hotel - Tangalle
New modern place in a perfect area for beach and town. Quiet as well. Big room with sitting area and a balcony....
Amangalla - Galle
Amangalla provides a tranquil and period styled base from which to explore the fascinating culture and tumultuous history of Galle Fort and Galle, the capital of the Southern Province
Dalip House - Galle
Dalip House is a dream beach holiday villa. Modern amenities; stylish; on a massive beach; surfing waves right outside the gate
Forty One - Galle
Forty One is a beautifully renovated Dutch house within the historic 17 century walls of Galle Fort. Entering the house through the double teak doors and you immediately leave the world outisde, behind you.
Saffrons Beach Villa
Saffrons Beach Villa is the latest and most intriguing addition to the luxury villas available for rent on Sri Lanka’s stunning South Coast.
Ambalama is a beautiful, new beach villa only 7 kms from the historic town of Galle.
Millennium Rest Hotel-Galle
With its central location, Millennium Rest Hotel is within easy reach of most tourist attractions and business addresses in Galle. The hotel has a total of 3 well-appointed rooms designed with the guests'...
Leisure Land Villas
Leisure Land Villa is situated very close to Galle Fort and Unavatuna sea beach in an area where tourists dwellings are located. This is situated facing picturesque paddy fields in a tea estate at the top of...
Templeberg Villa Galle
Golden Beaches and wellness await you at Templeberg villa hotel in Galle Sri Lanka.
Cassia Hills villa
This Colonial style Villa is situated approximately 5 kms interior from Galle in a country side where one could experience authentic village life of Sri Lanka.
Villa Republic Galle
Set in Galle, 5 km from Galle International Cricket Stadium, Villa Republic Galle features an outdoor pool and barbecue.
Located in the heart of Galle Fort, the Fort Bazaar is perfect for guests that are looking to soak up the Fort’s legendary atmosphere, a spot of gem shopping or walking the walls of the Forts 300 year old...
A stunning newly constructed beach front villa designed by one of Sri Lanka\'s premier architects, Jayatillaka Sumangala. Samudra is close to the historic UNESCO heritage site of Galle Fort.
Built in 1864 and set amidst lush tropical gardens, Templeberg features tranquil and comfortable accommodation
Mango House Hotel Galle
Mango House is a small boutique hotel set in a Dutch-colonial property in historical Galle Fort. Featuring its own garden
Get the celebrity treatment with world-class service at Amari Galle.Amari Galle features a restaurant, bar and spa. The hotel has an outdoor pool and a private beach area.
The Bartizan - Galle
The Bartizan is a luxury boutique hotel located in Galle Fort, Sri Lanka, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building is an old dutch structure from the colonial period, renovated to a modern hotel featuring...
Ceylon Olive Villa
Ceylon Olive is a colonial-style villa located 2.8 km from Galle Fort and 4 km from Unawatuna Beach. It offers open air bath, free parking and WiFi.
Aura Jungle Villa
Featuring a garden with an outdoor pool, Aura Jungle Villa is a semi-detached holiday home located in Galle.