During its occupation of Ceylon, the Dutch influenced mainly its law, religious beliefs and its language; its impact on architecture, however, is most vividly seen in Negombo, a seaside town less than an hour away from Colombo. With its one hundred kilometre long canal, Negombo evokes a sense of Amsterdam and the churches in the town are also built distinctly in a Dutch style. In modern times, Negombo is better known for its beachside and lagoon beauty, and has become a tourist hotspot. For those looking for accommodation, or a good restaurant, tourists will be spoilt for choice for the Hotel Road, as it is fondly known, is home to many, including Jetwing Lagoon. An excellent distraction that will allow guests to explore the mangroves of the West Coast, when residing in a beach hotel Sri Lanka in Negombo, is a Lagoon Safari.

The Negombo Lagoon is located close to town, is surrounded by mangroves and is meets the sea through a narrow channel. A Safari will, and should, entail a tour around the Lagoon as well as the nearby Muthurajawela Marsh, a biodiversity wonder, which was declared a sanctuary in 1996. Both the Lagoon and the Marsh form a wetland ecosystem composed of mangroves and marshland that are considered home by a myriad of bird, animal and plant species.

Therefore, opting for a Lagoon Safari in Negombo is an ideal excursion for ornithologists, as well as tourists who enjoy bird watching. Such patrons will undoubtedly sight the famous White-breasted Water Hens and Common Moorhens while Herons, various species of Cormorants, Bitterns and Egrets are also commonly seen. Less common are the Toque Monkeys, an endemic species, and the Saltwater Crocodiles. The Crocodiles are believed to make its way inland from the Sea, but are not frequently seen in the waters.

Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world.