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Kitulgala Rafting with Adventure Activities

Experience the thrill of White Water Rafting and Canyoning in Kelani River and Kataran Oya with natural rock pools and water stream slides. Read about the author's exhilarating journey filled with challenges, adventure and stunning natural beauty.

This was actually a sudden plan at the beginning of 2022, after the outbreak of Covid-19. It was really challenging at that time to convince my mother to let me go rafting or even to go out with my colleagues. However, on the condition that our father was coming with us, we managed to get her permission.


On that day, we initially headed to the Plantation Hotel in the morning to get ready in our wetsuits. After that, we all got into a jeep and drove to the White Water Rafting destination. The guides advised us that only 8 people can travel in a paddle boat, so we had to split into two teams. Before commencing the rafting, they went over the safety protocol and gave us thorough instructions. The day was great weather with clear skies and a mild temperature. Although we arrived a little later than expected, there was no crowd at that time. Perhaps weekdays were less crowded than weekends.


Though it was warm outside, the water was quite frigid. I was both anxious and eager as I boarded the raft for what the near future held. I was filled with goosebumps as I well-thought-out what would happen. I realized that the initial part of the rafting was essentially a sightseeing tour without any whitewater. I felt at ease upon hearing this. I paddled the raft in accordance with their directions, relishing in the spectacular surroundings. The area was surrounded by enormous trees that were on the river's left bank. The image of the murky green water crashing against the rocks made a beautiful scene. I closed my eyes and just enjoyed the serenade of birds as the sound of a rushing river played in the background.


The white water was seen in the distance as I floated down the river. As we got closer and closer to it, my heart rate began to increase. We were instructed to paddle quickly in order to enter there at the necessary speed. But it seemed as though we almost got dragged into there by accident and the water splashed over the boat. The water's splash revivified us all. I'm at a loss for words to describe that sensation. Definitely, you should try that and experience it.


Our guide told us that there were nine rapids (5 major rapids & 4 minor rapids) in total, and this one was the easiest of them all. My need for other rapids intensified after experiencing the first one.

The boat unexpectedly turned upside down while it passed one of the major rapids. Even though they had our consent to do so, nobody knew where the boat would turn. My head was dipped under the water in the blink of an eye, and when I opened my eyes, everything was yellow. It took me a while to realize I was underneath the boat that was turned on its side. I was quite afraid at the time, but the wetsuits always keep us from sinking. I emerged from the water and was surprised to find that I could breathe.

I wasn't lying; at that point, I was incredibly afraid of it. But I truly loved that incident. Even now, just thinking about it gave me goose flesh.


We all re-boarded the boat without difficulty, and there were only a few more rapids to cross. Once it was over we all jumped into the water and floated along the river.


As we floated along the river, we were besieged by the canopy of trees that were bending into the channels. The shimmer of sunshine sparkling through the canopy and the sporadic mild breeze invigorated our tired bodies. The clear water reflected the light. In some places the clarity allowed us to see every pebble and every tiny creature beneath the surface. While our main focus was on reaching the end, it was simply fantastic to catch a glimpse of these little beauties.

Finally, we got out of the hotel. I had never experienced anything like the exciting feeling of white-water rafting in the Kelani River. I've always liked having adventures, but this was unique.

Then again, we got into the jeep to go to the Kataran Oya. It was the place for canyoning. We had to trek around 1 KM to reach the destination. There were 7 natural rock pools that are a miracle from nature and are utterly beautiful. We were mesmerized by the river and the surrounding wooded area. Here, we could try the water stream slide and the confidence jump. Once we got there the guides provided comprehensive guidance before starting the activities.


The height of the first rock pool was not much. So, we managed to jump in there easily. The height increased as it progressed (Over 6 feet in height). I was afraid even though I had reached the edge to jump. Nevertheless, I desired to jump with confidence.


We swam in the cool and clean water of the rainforest and slid through the water streams like kids. We had a lot of fun there. It was outstanding in each and every way. Time flew by while we were there without even feeling hungry. Therefore, sadly we have to turn back there. Again, we came to the hotel to have our lunch.

You might be wondering why I was making such a big deal out of just jumping into the water. Once you've had the experience, you'll understand it. So, try now and don't be late.

The water is an eventual contradiction. While it can occasionally be calm, it can also be incredibly powerful. Hence, while having fun, make sure of your safety gear.

Manohari Gunathunga

Travel Blogger

Hello! I’m Manohari writing about my travels in Sri Lanka with Rapid Adventures. A wanderer who loves to discover hidden gems on our ravishing island. Traveling is one of my hobbies, and I currently work as a Junior Executive for a Sri Lankan life insurance company. Welcome to share my experience. Hiking, travelling, camping - anyone can do it.

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