White Water Rafting

The abundance of large rivers with exceptional rapids has made Sri Lanka a major water sports destination, particularly for white water rafting, making it a To Do that promises memories filled with fun and laughter that you can reminisce for years to come.

The adrenaline rush, that moment of exhilaration when you hold the paddle, battling the gushing rapids and turbulent waters, cruising down the large rivers of Mahaweli, Kelani, and Sitawaka; adventure travel in Sri Lanka does not get any better than this. Bordered by lush green forests along the banks that you have to trek, makes it much more enticing for the adventurer tripping around the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

The ideal rivers for white water rafting are located not far from the commercial capital of Colombo, namely Kitulgala and Avissawella. Wading through these exhilarating rapids is an adventure excursion only a paddle away.

Interesting Facts

  • The Kelani River is an idyllic setting for the beginner, since the rapids are calmer and easier to wade through, as opposed to the Mahaweli River and the Sitawaka River.
  • The Kelani River is often accessed through the town of Kitulgala, which served as the filming location of the famous 1957 epic ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’.
  • Even to this day it is possible to witness small remnants of the bridge that was built for the movie.
  • The rapids at the Kelani River are so easily navigable that children the age of 10 are also allowed to partake in the activity.
  • The Kelani River has five rapids, which are aptly named: Head Chopper, Virgin’s Breast, Butter Crunch, Killer Fall and the Rib Cage.
  • The Kelani River is graded to have rapids graded from 2 - 3, further substantiating the fact that it is easily navigable.
  • The Mahaweli and Sitawaka Rivers, on the other hand, possess rapids graded from 3 - 5, making it suitable for the more experienced rafters.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The season normally occurs during the months between May to December. However, it can vary depending on the weather in the area, as there can be unexpected downpours that will make it impossible to engage in the activity due to the potential dangers.
  • There are many establishments that allow you to partake in the exhilarating activity, just make sure you ask for a detailed breakdown of the prices they charge, so you know what you are paying for.
  • Always be mindful about yourself while rafting and listen to the instructor’s briefings, as it can be very dangerous if careless.
  • White water rafting is quite a demanding activity, since it requires constant concentration and a general level of physical fitness.

Looking for that adrenaline rush in the country, that moment you feel so alive? Then white water rafting is the perfect concoction for quenching that thirst.

Location info

White Water Rafting - Kitulgala

White Water Rafting - Avissawella



May - December

Guided Tour

Rafting Team 39
Bentota Travel Mart


Sports and Recreation

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