Nature isn’t always something reserved for nature lovers and the outdoorsy types. Colombo, for all its concrete, has a lot of greenery, and so, even the most city-rat Colombo dwellers among us interact quite a bit with nature. 2020, for all of its stresses, helped all of us ground ourselves and realise what was important, and nature was one of these things that we took heavily for granted, but realised how much we missed when we were locked down in our homes.
Of course, some, like mountaineer (and hairstylist) Johann Peries, are more nature-friendly than others. Peries, who successfully climbed Mount Everest in 2018, is an avid mountaineer who developed an interest in rock climbing when he used to climb the Knuckles Mountain Range with his father when he was young. Incidentally, the Knuckles Mountain Range is still one of his favourite places to trek because of its special connection to his father.
Exploring the outdoors and seeing the wonders of nature is something Peries has always considered to be very important, and this February, in partnership with the Kahanda Kanda boutique hotel in Galle, Peries will play host and guide at a special programme that takes guests on an exciting journey through the Hiyare and Kanneliya Rainforests in the Southern Province.
Taking place from Saturday, 18 February, to Monday, 22 February, “A Weekend with Johann Peries and Rainforest Walks presented by Kahanda Kanda” will be a three-day programme that mixes leisure and adventure to create an irresistible travel experience.
Speaking to The Morning Brunch, Peries explained that the experience based out of Kahanda Kanda is aimed at guests looking for an alternative to the traditional holiday experience. “It’s a mix of a holiday with a bit of adventure, that becomes a whole experience in itself, and that’s what’s important – all the different elements and offers that have been brought together for people who have a different perspective.”
Kahanda Kanda is an award-winning boutique hotel that combines culture, wellness, and luxury. The property offers 12 individually designed villas (seven with private pools) to relax and unwind. Each villa is inspired by local culture, featuring elegant art and antiques, to create a sanctuary in which guests can relish the serenity and privacy.
“It’s a beautiful, tranquil property in a lovely setting which has a lot to offer, even outside of what we’re planning to do,” Peries said, adding that Kahanda Kanda is the perfect setting for such a programme, because even those who are not interested in nature can appreciate the property itself while they are out trekking the rainforest.
Beginning on Saturday, 18 February, “A Weekend with Johann Peries and Rainforest Walks presented by Kahanda Kanda” starts with guests settling into the hotel, followed by a lakeside picnic in the Hiyare Rainforest.
The following day sees a guided four-hour trek through the Kanneliya Rainforest. Peries explained that the Kanneliya Rainforest harbours a unique set of properties – trees and different elements like vegetation, flora, fauna, and waterfalls – that create an interesting experience for those trekking through.
The trek is approximately four hours long. “It’s not something you rush through, there are waterfalls you can visit, and lots of birds and wildlife, like deer and sambur. You also have the purple-faced bear langur, or bear monkey, which is normally only found in the Horton Plains area, which is very special,” Peries said. “Being in Galle, you don’t realise you have that kind of setting with mountains and waterfalls an hour away.”
Peries will also conduct a special presentation to those joining him at “A Weekend with Johann Peries and Rainforest Walks presented by Kahanda Kanda”. “The presentation will be based on my adventures and experiences,” Peries explained. “It’s based on Everest, connecting that experience with present-day situations, how we can overcome challenges and pursue life, and connecting that to present-day situations.”
For more information on “A Weekend with Johann Peries and Rainforest Walks presented by Kahanda Kanda”, please visit the Kahanda Kanda Facebook or Instagram pages.