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River Kwai - Rafting and Bird Watching Tour

Duration: Half Day

river kwai - rafting and bird watching tour

If you are looking for an exciting eco adventure in beautiful surroundings during your holiday in Sri Lanka, this memorable rafting and bird watching excursion in Kitulgala will enable you to get close to nature whilst having fun at the same time.

Your day will start by travelling to Kitulgala, a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. This beautiful location was the setting for the award-winning film "The Bridge over the River Kwai" by David Lean, which was filmed on the Kaleni River in 1956. Although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations of the bridge, the area is well worth a visit for its scenic beauty.

Kitulgala lies in the wet zone rainforest and is one of the wettest places in the country. Aside from being a mecca for bird watchers and nature lovers, the area is also known as Sri Lanka’s white-water rafting capital. This tour will enable you to combine both activities as you explore the bird trails in Keleni Forest Reserve and ride the rapids on Kelani River.

Running 6.5 km in length and taking a total of 90 minutes to complete, the Kelani River offers both grade two and three rapids which are ideal for intermediate rafters as well as beginners. These rapids bear names such as Butter Crunch, Killer Falls, Head Chopper, Virgin's Breast and the Rib Cage, each offering something different as their names suggest! Enjoy the ultimate adrenaline rush as you float down the river at high speeds, past lush green vegetation, high bamboo banks and rocky outcrops. Each rafter is provided with a personal flotation device for safety.

Afterwards, we will visit the beautiful Keleni Valley Forest Reserve for bird watching opportunities. This secondary lowland rainforest is inhabited by butterflies, insects and a huge variety of endemic birds, many of which can also be found in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.

Wildlife lovers will be rewarded with sightings of many native species along the nature trails, including the Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Long-billed Sunbird, Green-billed Coucal, Ceylon Hanging Parrot, Layard's Parakeet and Red-Faced Malkoha, as well as a good variety of raptors such as the Oriental Honey-buzzard, Black and Rufous-bellied Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle and Mountain Hawk Eagle.

You are also likely to see many butterflies and insects amongst the trees and flora. Relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings, listening to nothing but the sounds of the birds singing and the river rushing. This trip is a wonderful way to gain a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s majestic natural treasures.

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