After coming off the slopes of Adam’s Peak, the clear waters of the Kelani River wind their way through the Hill Country of inland Sri Lanka before emptying into the Indian Ocean. The put in for rafting is just upstream from Kithulgala, a small town in the tea country. After a safety briefing and a few pointers on rafting technique, we’ll jump right into the action. Seven high quality, class II and III rapids and temperate waters make the Kelani a premier introduction to the sport of white water or an exciting choice for experienced rafters.
The river hosts rapids between grades 2 and 3, with the rafting stretch approximately 6.5 kilometers in length, and taking between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to complete, depending on water levels. With the Kelani’s special “Killer Fall” and “Butter Crunch” rapids, rafters are guaranteed a challenge, but are also offered a chance to relax, with small calm stretches allowing a refreshing swim in the river to unwind. Ideal times are from May to December, although there are no “bad” times. The river is dam controlled. Therefore, water levels can be low in April, but can also be quite high during the monsoon season.