Amazing Water Rafting Adventure In Yatiyantota Kitulgala
This beautiful environment has enriched my soul, which has been in love with nature since childhood. The ecosystem has also become the essence and values of my life. I can say that the charming experiences that I have enjoyed during the many years of spending time with the waterfalls, canyons, valleys, peaks, streams, rivers, and animals that have polished the beauty of the physical ecosystem of Sri Lanka are extremely beautiful. I love the entire environment, including all living animals. My dear friends, who are busy with the market economy, and which do not catch your eye, Sabaragamuwa, in the Kitulgala area of Yatianthota Regional Council, I will describe in detail and through the lens of another natural wonder.
The world’s best water rafting event is located in the beautiful Kelani River valley of the Kithulgala area, which is a beautiful environment belonging to the Yatianthota Regional Council of the Kegalle District of the Sabaragamuwa Province. This is the only suitable area in Sri Lanka for water rafting, which is full of local and foreign tourists.
Water rafting is a challenging journey from the top of a river to the bottom of a river along natural rapids under the guidance of trained guides wearing safety equipment. It also gets the name white water rafting because of the white foamy waters. However, this is the only place in Sri Lanka for this purpose. A large number of local and foreign tourists come to this event to experience this adventure, which is the most famous of the challenging sports.
This game, which started in America around 1970, has started in this country about two decades after that. Countries such as Uganda and Kenya have popularized this in order to attract tourists, and this sport has also become very popular in countries such as Malaysia and Dubai by creating artificial rivers.
This area is known as the strongest place in the world where you can practice rafting with fun, adventure and safety among the natural locations. The peculiarity of this rare location is that every river falls at the end of the rapid to a flat place where the water flows still. 17 consecutive rapids of this type are located in this place. This position is very important for the life safety of those involved in the sport. As a still pool at the end of a rapid river descent to re-gear before the next descent, or for the player to exit, this event is beneficial for both the novice and the expert. However, it is a matter of regret that various accidents and even deaths have been reported due to engaging in this sport.
However, water rafting is now an Olympic sport. Now this sport has become the organization of national sports tournaments in Sri Lanka. At present, there are about 10 rafting service providers operating in this area. More than 200 trained employees work in those institutions. There are also tour guides, hotel facilities and food and beverage providers, taxi drivers as well as a large number of service providers that you need. With an experienced instructor, this game can be played casually. It’s important to keep your feet balanced and position your feet under the raft correctly during the turbulence when those ninety big waves come up. Life jackets and helmets are essential because of the rocks thrown out of the water. Most people start yelling when they are going too fast and then are happy to see how well you are doing.
All the private water rafting companies here will provide you with very safe and well-trained staff. Some of them are highly trained and have attended very advanced courses conducted by the International Yachting Federation. Generally, Sri Lanka Tourism Board also conducts regular training programs for ferry guides to improve their skills. Kitulgala water rafting is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned adventure enthusiasts. Depending on the need you will be given difficult or less adventurous terrain. Yatianthota is an area that is not easily explored compared to places like Kandy, Sigiriya, Benthota. Many foreign tourists as well as local tourists are not aware of the possibilities here for adventure tourism. Although there has been no good situation in the tourism business for the past time, the tourist resorts here have not yet become a tourist center. So in this area you can get hot-spots, accommodation, food and adventure activities at affordable prices compared to other resorts in the island.
Tourists taking part in more days Sri Lanka tours, on the whole, will see more visits to this area. The reason is that many Sri Lankan tour packages include the Nuwara Eliya winter mountain range and this area is located at the base of the central mountain range and Yatianthota can be reached from any town in the mountains within a few hours.
Most of the time these water rafting are just European tourists who are adventure lovers and youngsters. This is because many older tourists do not have good physical strength and mobility for the activities involved in this sport. Physical fitness and good health are very important for these water rafting boats/canoeing. People suffering from heart disease, epilepsy and various discomforts caused by turbid water should avoid water rafting.
Boating/canoeing here is possible throughout the year, but water rafting becomes dangerous during monsoons due to the extreme roughness of the Kelani river. But even during severe drought, the water level of the river may decrease due to which boating/canoeing may be hampered. So it is very important to choose the best time of the year to start the white water rafting session. Generally the best time of the year for boating/canoeing in this area is from November to April. During this time the Kelani river provides the best conditions for adventure activities with enough water to propel the yacht. Therefore, this mode of water transport is classified under the sixth grade depending on the difficulty and risk involved.
Natural rock pools along the river allow you to relax and take a bath in the refreshing water. It is flanked by riverbanks and high ground and is covered with lush vegetation. You will be greeted by pure green cover and birdsong as you descend the rapids.
Below are the specifications for water rafting from Grade 1 to Grade 6.
- First grade:- The roughness of the water is low. Able to perform minor manipulations (very basic skill level)
- Grade II:- The roughness of water is more than grade 1. Some rocks can also be seen, requiring basic riding skills with some ability to manoeuvre.
- Third Grade:- Small waves can be seen and white water and small drops may fall on the body. Must have considerable manipulative skills.
- Grade Four:- Medium waves with white water, considerable manoeuvring skills, significant drops and fast moving water require good sailing skills.
- Grade Five:- Big waves, high volume of fast flowing water, white water, high chance of capsizing due to going over large rocks, so the ability to make correct manoeuvres is essential.
- Sixth Grade:- The highest grade white water rafting is very difficult, not suitable for beginners and will be done by experienced adventurers.
So when you stay in this area, do not expect high-luxury services like the large-scale accommodation providers such as Sri Lankan beach resorts. Because here you will get only limited number of accommodation providers and only 10-15 rooms are available at a time. Most of the accommodations here provide standard amenities with air conditioning, hot/cold water and food. Due to low demand, there are only a few luxury hotels here. The demand for luxury accommodation is very low due to the different lifestyle of tourists who come to this area, mainly seeking adventure activities and rainforest tours. The prices that most of the tourists have to bear here are also very affordable. So many prefer not to focus on luxuries but to be exposed to the true nature and enjoy the wonder of the enchanting environment.
And near this Kitulgala area, there are several caves dating back thousands of years, among which “Kitulgala Belilena” can be mentioned. It is the cave where the oldest man (Stone Age man, Homo sapiens Balangoda man) lived in this country.
It has also become a popular location among the people of Sri Lanka and abroad and has been chosen as the setting for the world acclaimed award winning movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. A part of it has been shot in Thailand and the rest of the shooting has been done in this Kithulgala area.
So if you are coming from Colombo and South to enjoy this wonderful and lovely experience, the easiest way is to turn south from Karavanella via Avissawella and reach Kithulgala from Yatianthota. But if you are from Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, the easiest way is to pass Ambepussa and come to Karavanella via Warakapola, turn left and reach Kithulgala via Yatianthota. If you are from Kandy, Gampola, Matale, it is very easy to come to Ginigathhena via Nawalapitiya and turn right to Kithulgala. Also, if you are a person from the central mountains and its surroundings, the easiest way is to come to Ginigathhena through Hatton and turn left to reach Kithulgala.
Also, it must be said that the value of this area is slowly sinking due to your wrong activities coming to this event which gives great value to Sri Lanka, Sabaragamuwa and Yatianthota. There are a lot of harmful activities like disposing of non-digestible waste like polythene and plastic that you bring, leaving empty bottles and cans after drinking and drinking, and breaking bottles etc.
If such negative things continue to happen, this area, which has given beauty and value to this area and the country, may come close to destruction and it is a death blow to the development of this area as well as the country. So those of you who love this area, contribute to save it immediately. Be careful.