Madu Ganga River Safari
Sri Lanka activities

Madu River Boat Ride / Madu River Safari Sri Lanka

64 islands (some of them are inhabited by the human) are included in the Madu River estuary. The extent of Madu River wetland is 915 hectares and it harbours multi-varied Bio-diversity Eco-systems. Madu River wetland is fed by seven tributaries, which creates the main water body of the wetland. This water mass runs through lands that spread over  2300 hectares, which is a national sanctuary since 2006…Madu River Boat Ride / Madu River Safari Sri Lanka.

Madu River Boat Ride / Madu River Safari Sri Lanka-Important Facts You Need To Know

Exploring the green cover in foreign soil is definitely sounds interesting, you may encounter rainforests, dry zone forests, mountain forests, riverine vegetation… the list goes on. Most holiday destinations have many forest types with different characteristics, based on elevation, rainfall, temperature and many other factors. Similarly, Sri Lanka (about Sri Lanka) is also home for many types of forests, and one prominent forests type found on the island of Sri Lanka is the riverine vegetation that has a unique setting compared to most other forests found in the island. This Madu River safari of Sri Lanka or Madu River boat ride allows you to explore one of the most important riverine forests of Sri Lanka.

Madu Ganga or Madu River is the second biggest wetland in Sri Lanka and included in most road trips of Sri Lanka. Same times the Madu River is the only Ramsar wetland in the country. Out of all riverine forests in Sri Lanka, Madu River is the most popular riverine vegetation on the island, therefore Madu river boat ride or Madu river safari of Sri Lanka should be in the bucket list of every visitor of Sri Lanka west and southern coast beach resorts.

Madu river safari Sri Lanka available in 3 variations,

  • Madu river safari boat trip only-this package includes boat tour with visits to Mangrove forest, cinnamon island, and optional fish therapy.
  • Madu river safari Sri Lanka with Bentota– This package includes Madu river safari with visits to Cinnamon island, mangrove forest, temple visit, Bentota beach, mask museum, sea-turtle conservation and centre and hotel pick and drop
  • Madu river safari with southern coast– this one day trip includes many interesting places such as Hikkaduwa beach, mask museum, sea turtle conservation project, Galle fort along with boat tour at Madu estuary, and hotel picks up/drop.

What is the cost for Madu river boat ride or Madu river safari Sri Lanka?

There are two different price categories when you book Madi river safari,

  • Per person rate
  • Per boat rate

If the number of persons in the groups around 8 or more the visitors can go for per person rate and it is between USD 5 to 10 per person. If the number of persons is less than 8 the visitors can rent a boat for the ride and it cost USD 25 to 40, the rates differ based on the exchange rates and the service provider. Usually, the rates include the 2 hours Madu river boat ride with visits to Cinnamon Island, Buddhist temple, mangrove forest and the package also included all taxes. Transportation from your resort to the starting point of the river safari is not included in the price.

Sri Lanka Boat tour at Madu estuary with southern Sri Lanka

  • 2-hour boat tour at Madu exploring rich fauna, flora and mangrove forest
  • Cinnamon island visit
  • Mangrove forest visit
  • Galle Fort
  • Hikkaduwa beach
  • Moonstone mine
  • Sea turtle conservation project
  • Mask museum
  • Galle maritime museum
  • Galle Dutch reformed church

Special Price US$ 69 (Rs 12144 ), save US$ 15 (Rs 2640), Regular Price USD 85

Madu river packages with Galle

“Nature is the God of human being” – great poet Kalidasa. This saying denotes the importance of nature for the humankind in the universe. Madu River, a wetland, which located in south-west Sri Lanka, is indeed should be treated with the importance of a god.”

Following is the article was written on Madu river safari of Sri Lanka.

What are the Madu River packages available for travellers?

  • Madu River packages – 4900 Rs (USD 28) up to 8 persons
  • Madu River packages from Negombo with Galle tour – USD 90 P.P
  • Madu River packages from Colombo with Galle tour – USD 70 P.P
  • Madu River packages from Kalutara with Galle tour- USD 60 P.P
  • Madu River packages from Bentota with Galle tour- USD 40 P.P

Where is Madu Ganga / Madu river located?

Madu River is one of the very fragile and important ecosystems in Sri Lanka. It is located just south of Bentota and about 70 KM from Colombo city tour. One can easily reach it due to its existence on one of the busiest main roads of Sri Lanka, known as Galle-Colombo main road.

This ecological complex is a Ramsar wetland and it is the second-largest wetland on the island. 28 islands (some of them are inhabited by the human) are included in the Madu River estuary. The extent of Madu River wetland is 915 hectares and harbours multi-varied Bio-diversity Eco-systems. Madu River wetland is fed by seven tributaries which creates the main water body of the wetland. This water mass runs through lands that spread over  2300 hectares, which is a national sanctuary since 2006.

Bio-Diversity of Madu Ganga / Madu river

  • 11 species of agnatic molluscs
  • 14 species of land-dwelling molluscs
  • 70 different fish species
  • 31 species of reptiles
  • 50 species of butterflies
  • 111 species of birds
  • 247 animal species
  • 14 different species of mangroves (out of 24 in the country)

The most important asset of the fragile eco-system of Madu River is its mangrove forests (exploring Sri Lanka mangrove forests in Sri Lanka). These mangrove forests are providing the protection for a large number of aquatic bird, animal and plant species.

The eco-system in Madu River is the home for different kinds of aquatic plants, crabs, shrimps, fish, insects, amphibians and many other animal life including the crocodile (Sri Lanka crocodile). Madu River is inhabited by a large number of animals and its bio-diversity is at a very high level. It is inhabited by 247 animal species, 111 bird species, 70 fish species, 50 species of butterfly and many numbers of other creatures. Madu River is one of the best places to witness the different types of mangroves in the country.

Madu Ganga or Madu river begins from the mountains, which known as Pol Atu Kanda. There is no other place in Sri Lanka with a large concentration of islands within its borders like Madu River.

The secret of being home for one of the biggest mangrove forests in the island is the daily occurring high and low tide in which the salinity of waters of Madu River is kept under control. During the low-tide the seawater flows in the direction of in-land along the river, increasing the salinity of river water while during the high-tide the water flows towards the opposite direction. This natural phenomenon helps to maintain suitable eco-system for mangrove vegetation. The best way to explore this magical world of Madu River is to undertake a boat ride.

The extent of the riverine forest

Covering an area of 2300 hectares with 64 islands, every island has beautiful settings as the next. All islands are varied in size and shape with its sea caves giving access to internal lagoons and small sandy beaches. The smallest island is about 10 square feet in size while the large islands spread over several square kilometres. It is a well-protected aquatic resource providing easy access and navigation with its calm waters throughout the year. So rest assured, Seerendipity tours take you to the many islands and mangrove forests where you will take by surprise at their magnificent beauty.

The wetland of  Madu Ganga / Madu river

The historical name of the wetland was known as “maha dupata ati gangawa” (River with the giant island), later the name was changed and became Madu River. In the early days, there had been sixty-four islands within the borders of Madu River wetland. But today, the number of islands has been reduced to twenty-eight. This natural environment is the third Ramsar land in the world. But despite its importance for nature and environment, the water and the environment of Madu Ganga is largely affected due to the human activities.

History of Madu River wetland

According to the historical notes, the king of Parakramabahu II defeated south Indian invaders, who arrived from Kerala. Historian opines that it has happened at the mouth of Madu River. One can easily reach the interior of the island using tributaries that feed the Madu River wetland. But knowing the intention of invaders, King Parakramabahu II had directed his army to avert the attempt of Kerala army.

What is the Importance of Madu river wetland?

The wetland is not an only natural attraction for the region but also it is an important income generator for the people in the area.  It is an important source of fish for the fisherman in the area. A large number of families is living in the islands of Madu river wetland depends on the fishing industry. Other than its economic benefits, Madu river estuary is the main flood trapping waterbody in the area and it absorbs the all excessive water poured into the west coast during the south-west monsoon.

There is no road network connecting the island and mainland and the boat is the main source of transport for the people living in the islands of Madu River. Kotduwa Buddhist temple occupies an island and it is the main religious institution for the people, who live in Madu river. The temple is visited by a large number of people, especially on full moon days. Kothduwa temple is an important tourist attraction and visited by every tourist, who undertakes Madu river safari of Sri Lanka.

heritage expeditions sri lanka
Sri Lanka 1 day tour with Madu river boat ride and Galle fort, mask museums, sea turtle conservation centre, Hikkaduwa beach and moonstone mines

This natural wonder attracts a large number of foreign and local tourist every day. One can enjoy the natural beauty of Madu river on a day excursion from most places in the west and southern coast. These day excursions are offered by travel agent such Seerendipity tours. Don’t forget to visit the Madu River and enjoy the unique fascinating environment of this Ramsar wetland, if you happen to be in Sri Lanka.

madu ganga river safari Sri Lanka family activity
Madu River safari of Sri Lanka is one of the most loved activity for tourist who spends time on the west coast of Sri Lanka. This river safari lasts about 2 hours and guests are able to explore unique vegetation of mangrove forest that harbours a large number of fish species, bird species as well as many other animal species such as crocodiles, water monitors, monkeys etc.

Madu Ganga river safari or Madu Ganga boat safari – what you need to know?

River safari of Sri Lanka is a very popular activity among the tourists, because it is one of the best ways of enjoying nature in its raw form as most wetlands in Sri Lanka such as Madu estuary are till spared from the human activities. There are many places where you can do river safari in Sri Lanka such as Anawilundewa wetland, Chandrika lake, and Muthurajawela wetland, however, nine of those places are superior to Madu River safari.

Madu River estuary is the most popular spot for a river safari in Sri Lanka, especially for travellers, who travel to west and south coast. Madu river safari is one of the most interesting activities on the west coast of Sri Lanka and you will not miss it if you head to the west coast for your beach holiday.

How do I get a boat for my Madu River Safari?

The Madu river safari is a private program and every booking is allocated with a boat, it means whether you are 1 person or 10 people in the group, you will have a private boat trip.

If you are with a big group you can get several boats and cruise behind each other. You have free wi-fi at the starting point of the boat tour enabling you to instantly upload amazing pictures to the internet, right after the boat trip. Even you can get the lunch here at a very affordable rate and prepared after Sri Lankan recipes with freshly bought seafood, vegetable and fruits.

It is recommended to book the boat for your Madu River safari before arriving at the site, there can be an instance that you not able to get hold of a boat during the busy time. We can arrange your boat at a rate of Rs 4900 per boat ( a boat can accommodate up to 8 persons). Give us the date and approximate time, we will keep the boat ready, therefore your boat trip is guaranteed, and there will be no waiting time.

How long does the boat safari last?

Usually, the Madu River safari begins at the mouth of Madu River at Balapitiya. Madu River safari of Sri Lanka lasts between 1 to 2 hours and you have the opportunity to see a large area of the wetland. The Madu River boat ride at Madu estuary is a journey that enthrals you with its captivating rich natural vegetation and living beings. The journey especially appeals to the nature lovers and echo-knowledge seekers.

Madu river boat ride, Madu River Safari Sri Lanka

Madu river boat ride combined with southern Sri Lanka tour

Madu river boat ride can be combined with Sri Lanka southern tour easily and explore interesting places in southern Sri Lanka such as Galle fortress, Ambalangoda mask museum, Hikkaduwa coral reef, Moonstone mines, Sea turtle farm alone with Madu riverboat ride. This is a Day tour, starts at 8.00 am from Colombo (One day tours in Sri Lanka). The duration of the tour is 8 hours. The minimum number of person per tour is 2. The package includes return transfer from Colombo, English speaking tour guide (please inquire for other languages), entire ground transportation in a luxury AC vehicle, entrance for all sightseeing, high-way toll, parking charges, all taxes.

What are the important places to visit on Madu River boat safari?

  • Cinnamon island
  • Mangrove forest
  • Kokduwa historical temple
  • Fish therapy

Cinnamon Island

Cinnamon Island is one of the few places that you stop during the Madu river boat ride. Cinnamon Island is a small island located in the Madu Ganga estuary.  Boat or a ferry is the only mode of transport for the people who are living there. This small island is about 200 meter in extent and about 20 feet above the surrounding water surface. As the name suggests, Cinnamon Island is a cinnamon plantation and the most part of the island is covered with cinnamon plants. Other than the cinnamon there are several coconut palms as a supplementary crop here.

The travellers, who are on Madu river boat ride can get off on the island and have a look at the cinnamon plantation.  Travellers have the opportunity to see the method of traditional cinnamon peeling in Sri Lanka. This tedious task takes several minutes and you can buy fresh cinnamon produces by the family, who live there.

Fish Therapy

The travellers encounter several big rectangular fish tanks during the made river safari and these tanks are teaming with Gurammi fish. These fish tanks are built to provide fish therapy to the people who engage in Madu river safari of Sri Lanka. Thirty minutes fish spa at Madu Ganga cost only a fraction of the cost you pay in Dubai or Philippines. Unlike many other fish spas, here fish tanks are not located in enclosed areas. At Madu, Ganga tanks are floating in the river and they are stocked with a large amount of fish.

People can sit around the tanks and put their feet into the tanks. As the fish therapy takes place you can enjoy the fascinating world around you. The natural environment of the fish spa is amazing and next to the tanks is a huge mangrove forest. A large number of aquatic bird species, monitors, and monkeys are the most common here.

There is a set of guidelines before you jump into the fish therapy. Maybe you are not familiar with fish therapy because it is not common as most other methods of massage. At first, you may feel ticklish as the fish removes the dead outer part of the skin and calluses. Later the ticklish feeling is fade away making it a relaxing sensation.

Buddhist temple

The last stop of the Madu river boat ride is a Buddhist temple with a beautiful image house. The temple possesses the whole island and comprised of many buildings. The noteworthy places in the temple are Bo-tree, Image house and Dagoba. Visitors are allowed to go into the temple, but they have to remove shoes before entering the temple. Read more about what you need to know before visiting a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka.

Madu river boat safari timings

All boat trips of Madu river begins near the Balapitiya bridge, which is very close to Balapitiya town. There are many boat safari organizers scattered around here and they provide boats to the travellers. There is no time table as to when the boat trips begin. All the boat trips are private boart trips, means every and each booking get its own boat, there will be no intruders in your boat. If you wish to start the boat tour, you can start the journey right away, there is no waiting time.

Madu river safari Sri Lanka is a private one day trip starts from Colombo and west coast of Sri Lanka. However, the starting point is customizable since the Madu River tour is a private program. If you wish to have more information on Madu River boat ride or if you wish to book the Madu River safari Sri Lanka, please do get in touch with us on 0094-77-440977 or write to us on admin@seerendipitytours.com.

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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka, I am trying to illuminate my readers with a wide range of information related to Sri Lanka travel. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, we can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka. Please contact us on admin@seerendipitytours.com... read more