Located about 80km away from Colombo to the west of the Kandy – Nuwara Eliya road Kitulgala is the prime adventure sports destination in Sri Lanka. To most people the name Kitulgala is synonymous with White Water Rafting. You can approach this town on the Avisawella Hatton motorway, where you will find that Kitulgala is surrounded by low lying hills of lush vegetation amidst the swift waters of the Kelani Ganga. Water sports on the Kelani river being the main attraction, you will find that there are many more adventurous attractions such as jungle trekking, mountain biking, outdoor camping and bird watching.
The small region of Kitulgala is blessed to have two monsoons each year and is the area which receives the highest amount of rainfall in the whole island, thus giving the Kelani River its wild waters which are perfect for White Water Rafting. The Kitulgala Rapids along the Kelani River which range from Grade 2-4, are spread out along a 7km stretch of the river. So you will spend one of the most adrenaline pumped 90 minutes of your life tumbling along these 7 rapids which have some equally seductive names such as Virgins Breast, Killer Fall, Butter Crunch and Head Chopper. So if you are planning to try it out, there’s just one advice we can offer you – Hold on for dear life! And what’s more the hard adventure fanatics can go one step further and try out the rafting during the nights although, with safety being priority this is limited only to three nights on either side of the full moon every month.
For those of you who still can’t get enough of the wild with all the water sports, you can head over to the Kitulgala Forest Reserve, which is similar in many ways to the much bigger Sinharaja Tropical Rain Forest. Perfect for bird watching, this forest reserve is home to many species of birds, mammals and butterflies, some of them endangered, such as the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Wild Boar, Mouse Deer and the Grizzled Indian Squirrel. But Kitulgala as the name suggests is not only renowned for its wildlife and magnificent terrains but also for its Kitul palm also called fish tail palm, one of Sri Lanka’s most beloved sweeteners, especially with curd.