The central highlands of the island is hilly with mountains and valleys hence the abundance of rivers. Flowing at a pace along uneven landscapes, the river waters become choppy and bubbly which is white water. Therefore rafting through these white waters is exciting, thrilling and an extreme challenge for the faint hearted yet fun since one would get an adrenaline rush. This sport is popular along the Kelani River which flows through Kitulgala.
This river has 7 rapids which cover 5 major rapids and 4 minor rapids and are of grades 2 and 3, providing turbulent waters ideal for white water rafting. These rapids have been named, like ‘Butter Crunch’, ‘Virgin’s Breast’ to name a few. It is a euphoric experience navigating through these waters, tossing and turning you around and in the water, jerking your body to take control to survive, an experience that is exhilarating.
This activity also gives you an opportunity to take in the scenic beauty of the surroundings as you glide along the river during the stage of calm waters. You could get lucky to spot any wildlife since the area has a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna.
However to ensure safety precautions, a safety briefing will be given by the respective instructors which would take approximately two hours. The sections are divided depending on whether the rafters are advanced or beginners. The advanced/experienced rafters are allowed to raft on the upper section where the water flows very fast which has the major rapids, whereas the lower section with minor rapids is more suitable for the beginners. This activity is for anyone above 8 years of age.
It is without a doubt not advisable for anyone with health issues like heart ailments or afraid of fast flowing water and of heights. A compulsory life jacket that has been approved by the coast guard is provided to keep everyone safe in case they get tossed into the river. For non-swimmers, do not worry, your guide will assure you of your safety by giving thorough instructions and if you do fall out of the raft, he is well trained as in professionally to help you.
The best time to enjoy White water rafting at Kitulgala is between May to December since during the rainy season, the water could get extremely rough yet unsafe.