Kitulgala is located in Wet Zone in Sri Lanka and is famous for water Rafting in the Famous Kelani river flowing through Kitulgala. This is a rainforest area, which gets two monsoons each year, and is one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, it comes alive in the first three months of the year, especially in February, the driest month.
Kitulgala is about a 2.5-hour drive from Colombo, on Hatton Road. If you’re not going to drive there, you can take the Hatton bus from the Pettah bus station and be there in about 3 hours.
Kitulgala has a jungle area near the river and it’s rich in birds and some endemic animals and plants. This area has most of the rainforest bird species that are found at the World Biosphere Reserve at Sinharaja, although in lower numbers. However, the secondary forest and cultivation at Kitulgala are more open than the pristine woodlands of Sinharaja, and elusive endemic species like Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Green-billed Conical, and Spot-winged Thrush may be easier to see.
Inside the jungles of Kitulgala, there are plenty of camping opportunities which can be coupled with White Water Rafting, Bird Watching Jungle Walks, River bathing, and many adventure activities.
White Water Rafting
White Water Rafting is a challenging recreational activity and an exhilarating water sport. Yet contrary to public belief, White Water Rafting is not a sport that demands great physical strength.
An average level of physical fitness and a strong spirit would do. White Water Rafting, generally enjoyed in the white waters as well as in other turbulent waters, brings about an enthralling experience to water sports enthusiasts.
Though the ability to swim is a definite advantage, a compulsory Personal Flotation Device will be provided, a necessary outfit for a White Water Rafting as it is guaranteed to save you from drowning if you fall overboard.
However, those suffering from heart ailments, and epilepsy as well as those who are uncomfortable in turbulent waters aren’t advised to go White Water Rafting. Some of the rivers of Sri Lanka afford the opportunity for recreational activists and water sports enthusiasts to enjoy White Water Rafting. The small town of Kitulgala in the hill country is the most famous place in Sri Lanka to do so.
Kitulgala White Water Rafting takes about a 90-minute run each for 6.5 km with five rapids. The Rapids with their own distinctive characters are aptly named: Head Chopper, Virgin’s Breast, Butter Crunch, Killer Fall, and the Rib Cage. Riding modern rafts equipped with safety gear, White Water Rafting at Kitulgala is safe for even kids over 10 years of age.
The Best Period for White Water Rafting at Kitulgala
The best time to enjoy White Water Rafting at Kitulgala is the period between May to December. During periods of heavy rain, the river could turn out to be very volatile and White Water Rafting becomes very unsafe. The adventure operators on-site would advise all water sports enthusiasts on the matter. However, water levels could drop surprisingly fast, turning the river to its regular state during the rainy season as well.
In addition to whitewater rafting; Kitulgala is also a natural center for many other adventure sports, including abseiling, canyoning, white water, flatwater kayaking, and many more. As such Kitulgala has an adventure sports base with highly trained instructors, safety equipment, and medical assistance if required.
Interestingly, Kitulgala is the famous location for the 1957 Academy Award-winning movie ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’. The movie was filmed mostly in Sri Lanka and is the location where the iconic bridge is blown up, the structure of which can still be seen today.
Come to experience white water rafting in Sri Lanka and go back with memories that will last a lifetime. You will also feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm as a result of spending time outdoors and being able to face your day-to-day routine with positive energy thanks to the thrill of conquering the rapids.