Madu Ganga River Safari
The Madu ganga river enters the sea at Balapitiya and is a stunning setting of winding waterways with pristine mangrove forests and many islands within. Recognised by the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands of International Importance, the river is home to many species of ecological significance. Colourful birds fly above as monkeys perched atop trees grin down at you and water monitors swim by. The best way to enjoy the beauty of the river is on a journey by boat. Glide through blue waters lined by shady mangroves, glimpse into the lives of local folk as they engage in cinnamon cultivation and make a spiritual stop at the magnificent temple located on an island.
Madu River (Madu Ganga) is one of the nature wonders which is situated off South West coast in Balapitiya. Madu Ganga is a lagoon with hundreds of islands. This unique place providing an idyllic setting for a wonderful holiday and loads of authentic traditional settings.
The Madu Ganga Wetland was declared in 2004, in terms of the Ramsar Convention where Madu Ganga Wet Land spreads across 915 hectares, out of which 770 hectares is covered with water. Sail downstream for about a kilometer, the river opens its doors to 36 spectacular islands covering the rest 145 hectares. It may be one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka.
Among the dozen of islands, largest of these called Maha Duwa (Maduwa) and enchanting isle of Kothduwa an island with a Buddhist monastery, where the friendly young monks will show you a 150-year-old book, fringed by coconut palms where according to legend, the Sacred Tooth Relic was once enshrined. A boat trip is a wonderful way of seeing some of the hundreds of species of plants and animal’s monkeys eat fruit in the trees, a water monitor lizard glides slowly through the water, and cormorants, egrets and kingfishers wait patiently on the banks, eyeing the water for prey.
The main occupations of the local inhabitants are producing cinnamon and prawn fishing if you take the trip in the evening you will see the fishermen in their canoes lighting lanterns to attract the shellfish into their traps. It is claimed that the main secret of the Madu Ganga is the tide. On any given day during the low tide the sea water comes inland and mixes with fresh water and in the evening, vice versa creating the magic of nature. Local and foreign tourists can explore the beauty of Madu Ganga through a boat ride that takes a couple of hours.