HomeTravelMadu River Boat Safari – An expedition to the wild wetlands

Madu River Boat Safari – An expedition to the wild wetlands


Madu River Safari is one of the essentials that you should include in your Sri Lankan itinerary. Tourists love to go on a boat ride on the Madu River and visit this magnificent wetland of Sri Lanka for its ecological significance and bio-diversity.

Madu River is one of those ecological wonders that you will find in Sri Lanka. The river is a minor watercourse that originates in the Galle district that widens into Madu River Lake at a place called Balapitiya. The river after flowing further 4.4 Km drains to the Indian Ocean. Madu river together with Ramboda Lake forms the Madu River wetlands.

This terrain is one of the most unique ecosystems in Sri Lanka that home and preserves unique flora and fauna, and extraordinary wildlife, some of which can only be seen in these wetlands. This is located 100km away from Colombo in the down south of Sri Lanka, namely at Bentota. You can easily reach the location when you take the Galle-Colombo main road, which is more scenic, or the faster highway.

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The estuary and the mangrove islets on Madu river wetlands create a complex coastal ecosystem that contains a remarkable environmental, biological, and aesthetic significance. Nearing the Madu River inhabits that famous Ceylon Cinnamon and cinnamon oil makers.

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Madu river wetland is the largest surviving swamp marshland in Sri Lanka. These mangroves are home to several fish and reptile species and shelter a variety of birds from different countries. Wetlands of Madu Rivers is listed under the international Ramsar Convention on wetlands due to their significance and uniqueness.

Madu River Safari – A nature lover’s paradise 

Madu River safari is a must add to your Sri Lanka itinerary. It makes a perfect one-day excursion if you are staying in Galle. This scenic boat ride is a must if you are staying in the southern terrain of Sri Lanka as you are to experience the diverse ecosystems that this small island offers you. Boat rides are readily available by several boat operators near the river mouth, closer to the main road.

The boat safari includes visiting the Kothduwa Buddhist temple, cinnamon isle and two different stretches of mangrove forests. Kothduwa temple is one of those unique locations that you’d be amazed to see during your Sri Lankan tour. The scenic temple is situated on one of the islands of the Madu river estuary. Kothduwa is one of the 15 islands within this astonishing estuary. The biodiversity and the environment surrounding the temple is extraordinary. If you seek true Buddhist spirituality, this temple will surely show you the serenity you were searching for. Access to the temple can only be arranged by a boat from Balapitiya. The legendary temple was erected in the 4th century CE as it was the perfect sanctuary back then. Now the temple is a foremost tourist attraction for its distinctive location and the biodiversity the nearing wetlands preserves. The temple offers boat service to the pilgrims. A torch should be flashed a few times towards the temple for the temple to send one of their boats to the other shore.

Among the 15 islands of the Madu River, Cinnamon Island is a place where your boat will surely halt. Have you ever wondered why Sri Lankan Cinnamon is sweeter and more aromatic than those others cinnamon products of the world? You are to find out why, when you witness from your own eyes, how the local traditional families make cinnamon. This family have been producing cinnamon for centuries will demonstrate to you, how the aroma is preserved by using special techniques. Harnessing the thin layer from the cinnamon bark is an art that all cannot master. It requires years of practice together with ancient knowledge of producing cinnamon. This is what the family residing on this small island will demonstrate to you. You will not take your eyes away from this skillful art as the artists produce this aromatic spice for you. You will be served fresh cinnamon tea which is free of charge, and you could even purchase original handmade cinnamon powder, bark or oil from the small island.

You must have had fish therapy before. But have you ever gone to a fish spa amid a river? As you sail through the mangroves you will find several fish tanks teaming with Gourami fish. The natural setting of the fish spa is fantastic for you to relieve all your stress. At first, you might feel a little ticklish as the fish will poke on the dead skin of your feet. But this is an experience that you won’t forget. Spare 20 minutes at a fish spa and you will appreciate the wait.

The mangrove wetlands of Sri Lanka is one of the most well preserved diverse ecosystems of the small island paradise. From the beginning of your boat safari, the greenery will give you the feeling of exploring a thick dark forest. You will see a large number of aquatic birds that resides in the mangroves. The wetlands are inhabited by 247 animal species, 70 fish species, 50 species of butterflies and many other creatures. There is a higher chance that you will see the crocodiles who dominates the mangroves; different types of land and water snakes; some even unique to Sri Lanka, and a whole lot of amphibians, crabs and shrimp. You need not worry about any of these creatures as your safety is well assured by your safari organizers. Just relax and enjoy the reptiles that dictate the tropical wetlands.

You can select the best-suited package for you for the Madu River safari from the several boat companies who offer you this excursion.

If you are a larger group of more than 4 people you can rest an entire boat for you. If not, you will have to pay per person.

Highlights of the Boat Safari 

  • One of the lifetime wetland boat excursions.
  • Expedition of the Sri Lankan mangroves.
  • Find the serenity of a Buddhist monastery located on a river island.
  • An up-close encounter with the mangrove wildlife.
  • Purchase the best handmade Ceylon cinnamon.
  • Experience an open fish spa in the Madu River.

Restaurants near the river. 

There is plenty of villas, hotels and restaurants nearing the Madu river. The scenic beauty will want you to stay near the mangroves. Even if you are staying down south of Sri Lanka, the safari will be readily available to you. You can surprise your taste buds with the seafood dishes the restaurants would offer you. Nearing the ocean, you will find the freshest seafood meals here near the Madu river. Whether it is the local taste or the flavors of the world that you search for, either is available to you mixed with the best spices and the freshest seafood of Sri Lanka trip.

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