The quiet town of Dickwella (which means ‘long beach’) sits on the coastal highway just beyond Dondra – the southernmost point of Sri Lanka.
The beaches here are pristine and the vast Indian Ocean, just perfect for snorkelling, seems to stretch endlessly. It does. The nearest land directly south from this shoreline is the Antarctic – a point to ponder indeed. Pace of life here is pretty laid back but an excursion to the nearby attraction of ‘Hummanaya’ – a natural blowhole is a must. The area is also famous for ‘beeralu lace’ or traditional ‘bobbin’ lace making. The exquisitely crafted pieces make great souvenirs and gifts, and by purchasing them you will be helping to sustain a traditional local livelihood too.
Hummanaya Blow Hole
Situated in the southern province in a town called Matara, Dickwella is best known for its blow hole. It can be found in the fishing village of Kudawella. It is said to be the 2nd largest blow hole in the world and the only one in Sri Lanka making it more special and unique.
Hummanaya translates to ‘distance where the hoo sound can be heard.’ A typical blow hole is where sea water rushes through a submerged cave building pressure and making a sound which resembles distant thunder. When the pressure is released it spews water upwards making a so called ‘hoo’ sound.
This particular blow hole is 40ft above sea level and can spray water up to a height of about 25m. This phenomenon occurs every 10 to 15 minutes. One can go by boat to get a closer look. It truly is a spectacular event and the mere anticipation and expectation of seeing it guarantees an enjoyable experience.
The Dickwella beach is known for being protected with headlands, reefs and sand bars making it much safer for swimming. All through the day people can be seen swimming, laughing and playing at the beach creating an enjoyable atmosphere. If one dislikes the beach one can always swim at various pools that hotels around the area have to offer. It is the ideal beach for kids to swim and play in as it is quite safe and also shallow.
Dickwella means long beach in Sinhala and this beach is considered to be the safest in the south of Sri Lanka and as a result there aren’t any lifeguards stationed there. It is shallow and clear beach making it the perfect place for snorkeling. One can see beautiful shoals of coral reef fish and spectacular corals.
There are special snorkeling tours organised for local and foreign tourists. The best time to snorkel is during the months of October to April and one is advised to go in the morning as it also provides an amazing view of the sun rising. It is a valuable and worthwhile experience and should not be missed out on.
This lace centre was established after the 2004 tsunami in order to provide financial support for women and their families. This centre is funded by the UK travel foundation and the Association of Independent Tour Operators.
It comprises of a lace museum where one can see the most beautiful pieces of lacework mostly made by the women there. It is truly unbelievable as to how beautiful some pieces are. In addition to this museum it has a training facility to train new employers and a sales outlet where one can purchase this beautiful lacework and at the same time donate towards this valuable institution.
While visiting one gets the chance to learn about the history of the dying craft, see the bobbin lace production all whilst enjoying a cup of Sri Lanka’s finest tea.