Madu Ganga River Safari


Table of Contents

64 islands (some of them are inhabited by humans) are included in the Madu River estuary. The extent of the Madu River wetland is 915 hectares and it harbors 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.

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

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 the 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 the environment, the water and the environment of Madu Ganga are largely affected due to human activities.

Here are the two most popular Madu river packages. These packages can be booked only with us and you will be stopping on a private island during the trip which belongs to us. None of the other boat operators are allowed to stop on our island and explore its unique fauna and flora. If you are interested in these packages please WhatsApp us on 009477440977.

Affordable Sri Lanka one-day tours from Seerendipity tours. Click www.seerendipitytours one-day trips for more information and many other one-day programs from Sri Lanka.

1. Madu River boat safari with typical local lunch and hotel pickup – 60 US$ per person (minimum 2 pax)

  • 4 hours motor boat Madu river safari
  • Typical Sri Lankan traditional lunch
  • Mangrove lagoon
  • Spend your time leisurely at our private island
  • Many other optional activities such as archery, canoeing, trekking etc

2. Madu riverboat tour package with over night stay in our island – 80 US$ P.P per person (minimum 2 pax)

  • Accommodation in an private island of Madu River
  • All 3 meals (local meals)
  • Typical Sri Lanakn meals
  • Madu River boat tour safari
  • Many other optional activities such as archery, canoeing, trekking etc

When is the best time for the Madu River safari?

It is highly recommended to take the Madu River safari when the weather is dry. Boat tours on rainy days can make it very inconvenient and dampen you despite every boat having a foldable roof. On windy days with heavy rain, you can get really wet. Madu River estuary is also located on the west coast of Sri Lanka like most popular beach resorts such as Bentota and Hikkaduwa. The West coast is very suitable for travelers from November to April, during this period most part of the country including the west coast has dry weather, making it suitable for outdoor activities. However, the period from November to April is known as the peak holiday season in Sri Lanka and during this period most hotels on the west coast get filled up with travelers.

The boat tours are still can be done during the rest of the year from April to October. However, on a certain day during this period, venturing on the boat trip may not be suitable due to the heavy rain. If you plan to travel to Sri Lanka during the off-peak holiday season and take the Madu statuary boat trip, please consult your tour operator to get the best dates for the boat tour.

Special Madu river boat tour package with accommodation for local travelers

Seerendipity tours have launched a special Madu river trip package for local travelers with a boat trip, all meals, and accommodation. In this Madu river trip, the guests can book individual rooms or dormitory types of accommodation depending on their budget and interest. The guests will spend ten overnight on an island located within the Madu River estuary. This Madu River trip offers many interesting activities such as archery, canoeing, and many other water sports to travelers at an additional cost. For more inquiries 0774440977, the Madu River trip includes,

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 the Colombo city tour. One can easily reach it due to its existence on one of the busiest main roads of Sri Lanka, known as the 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 humans) are included in the Madu River estuary. The extent of the Madu River wetland is 915 hectares and harbors 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-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 to 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 on 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 is included in most road trips of Sri Lanka. Same time the Madu River is the only Ramsar wetland in the country. Out of all riverine forests in Sri Lanka, the Madu River is the most popular riverine vegetation on the island, therefore the Madu riverboat ride or Madu river safari of Sri Lanka should be on the bucket list of every visitor of Sri Lanka west and southern coast beach resorts.

Madu river safari Sri Lanka available in 3 variations,

1. Madu river safari boat trip only

The Boat tour is offered as a standalone activity, which means the tour does not include transfers, meals, and guiding. This package includes only a boat tour with visits to Mangrove forest, cinnamon island, and optional fish therapy. The customers need the boat regardless of the number of passengers. E.g. You need to pay 30 US$ per boat (up to 4 persons). Click here to book a Madu river boat safari.

2. Madu river safari Sri Lanka with Yala and Galle

This is a package tour that includes many activities with a Boat tour as well as many other interesting activities. This package includes Madu river safari with visits to Cinnamon island, mangrove forest, temple visit, Bentota beach, mask museum, sea turtle conservation, and center and hotel pick and drop. The per-person cost for this one-day Sri Lanka tour differs based on the pickup location. Click here to book this 2 day.s trip

3. Madu river safari with the 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. This one-day trip is a perfect program to explore the entire southern coast of Sri Lanka with the Madu estuary. Click here to book a Madu river safari with the Galle city tour

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 is 8 or more the visitors can go for per person rate, which is 8 per person. If the number of persons is less than 8 the visitors can rent a boat for the ride and it cost USD 60, the rates may differ based on the exchange rates of the day that you travel. 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. Call 0774440977 for more information and booking.

1. Madu River packages from Balapitiya (boat trip only)

This is the most basic form of Madu River Safari available for travelers, the River Safari lasts around 2 hours. The tour package does not include hotel transfers and visits to other important tourist places. The customer needs to report our boathouse and we will provide the boat and other necessary equipment such as life jackets required for the Madu River Safari.

2. Madu River packages from Negombo with Galle tour

This Madu River safari package includes hotel pick-up and drops as well as visits to other important tourist attractions on the south coast. Sea turtle conservation project, Kande vihara historical temple, Galle fort, Mask Museum, Bentota beach, Hikkaduwa beach, Moonstone mines are also included in the program.

3. Madu River packages from Colombo with Galle tour

This one-day Madu River Safari package starts from Colombo and it includes Madu River safari, Mask Museum, Galle fort, Mask Museum, Sea turtle conservation project, Hikkaduwa beach, Kande vihara historical temple, Bentota beach, and moonstone mines. This is a one-day trip that can be booked not only from Colombo but also from any beach hotels on the west and southern coast. Walking through the ancient fort of Galle and a boat tour of the Madu River estuary are the most important activities on the trip.

4. Madu River packages from Kalutara with Galle tour

The Madu River safari package starts from Kalutara. This is a one-day program and lasts around 7 hours. The travelers can visit many interesting places such as Madu River estuary, Kande vihara historical temple, Galle fort, mask museum, Sea turtle conservation project, moonstone mines, Bentota beach, Hikkaduwa beach,

5. Madu River packages from Bentota with Galle tour

This one Madu River safari package lasts around 6 hours. The first stop on this trip is the Madu River estuary, where travelers can witness a wide range of Faun and Flora thrive in the riverine forest. Later drive to Galle Fort, Moonstone mines, Sea turtle conservation project, Kande vihara historical temple, Mask Museum, Hikkaduwa beach, and spice garden.

6. Madu River safari with Bentota sightseeing

The tour starts from Colombo. The main attraction of this Madu River package is the Madu River estuary. The travelers can enjoy 2 hours boat trip in the Ramsar wetland while visiting mangrove forests, cinnamon islands, and witnessing many avian fauna species. After the Madu River safari, you may visit the sea turtle conservation project on the return journey.

This Madu River safari and Bentota sightseeing tour also can be booked with the Galle fortress. It can be booked as a one-day trip from Colombo and all west coast beach resorts. This one-day trip is a very popular activity among travelers and Seerendipity tours organize many daily Galle one-day trips with Madu River safari every day. If you need more information on the Galle day trip with the Madu River safari click here.

Madu River safari or Madu River boat safari – what you need to know?

River safari of Sri Lanka is a very popular activity among tourists because it is one of the best ways of enjoying nature in its raw form as most wetlands in Sri Lanka such as the Madu estuary are spared from 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 the Madu River safari.

Madu River estuary is the most popular spot for a river safari in Sri Lanka, especially for travelers, who travel to the 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, which 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 are 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 the 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 enthralls you with its captivating rich natural vegetation and living beings. The journey especially appeals to nature lovers and echo-knowledge seekers.

What is the Madu Ganga boat safari contact number?

The contact number to book a Madu River Boat Safari is 0774440977. Travelers can book boats for the Madu River safari by calling this number. Advance payment is necessary to reserve the boats. You also need to provide information such as the number of travelers, the name of the main travelers, a contact number, and approximate time to arrive at the boathouse.

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, starting at 8.00 am from Colombo (Day tours in Sri Lanka). The duration of the tour is 8 hours. The minimum number of people per tour is 2. The package includes a 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 stops on Madu River safari?

  • Cinnamon island
  • Mangrove forest
  • Kokduwa historical temple
  • Fish therapy tank
  • Shrimp farm

Visiting cinnamon Island on your Madu River safari

Cinnamon Island is one of the few places that you stop during the Madu riverboat ride. Cinnamon Island is a small island located in the Madu Ganga estuary.  A boat or a ferry is the only mode of transport for the people who are living there. This small island is about 200 meters in extent and about 20 feet above the surrounding water surface. As the name suggests, Cinnamon Island is a cinnamon plantation and 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 travelers, who are on the Madu river boat ride can get off on the island and have a look at the cinnamon plantation.  Travelers 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 produced by the family, who live there.

Madu River fish therapy

The travelers 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 the Madu river safari of Sri Lanka. Thirty minutes of the fish spa at Madu Ganga cost only a fraction of the cost you pay in Dubai or the 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 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 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.

Visiting Buddhist temple on Madu River boat tour

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 is 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 their shoes before entering the temple. Read more about what you need to know before visiting a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka.

Madu river safari timing

All boat trips of the Madu river begin 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 travelers. There is no timetable as to when the boat trips begin. All the boat trips are private boart trips, which 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.

The extent of the Madu River estuary

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 their 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 kilometers. 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 their magnificent beauty.

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 ecosystem of the Madu River is its mangrove forests (exploring Sri Lanka mangrove forests in Sri Lanka). These mangrove forests are providing protection for a large number of aquatic bird, animal, and plant species.

The ecosystem 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 the Madu River.

The secret of being home to one of the biggest mangrove forests on the island is the daily occurring high and low tide in which the salinity of the 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 a suitable ecosystem for mangrove vegetation. The best way to explore this magical world of the Madu River is to undertake a boat ride.

History of Madu River wetland

According to the historical notes, the king of Parakramabahu II defeated south Indian invaders, who arrived from Kerala. Historians opine 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 the Kerala army.

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 harbors a large number of fish species, bird species as well as many other animal species such as crocodiles, water monitors, monkeys, etc.

What is the Importance of Madu river wetland?

The wetland is not only a natural attraction for the region but also 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 are living in the islands of Madu river wetland depending on the fishing industry. Other than its economic benefits, the Madu river estuary is the main flood trapping waterbody in the area and it absorbs all excessive water poured into the west coast during the southwest 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 the 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 the Madu river safari of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka 1 day tour with Madu riverboat ride and Galle fort, mask museums, sea turtle conservation center, Hikkaduwa beach, and moonstone mines

This natural wonder attracts a large number of foreign and local tourists every day. One can enjoy the natural beauty of the Madu river on a day excursion from most places on the west and southern coast. These day excursions are offered by travel agents such as 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 river safari Sri Lanka is a private one-day trip that starts from Colombo and the 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 the 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 at

Why you should book Madu River safari with Seerendipity?

Seerendipity tour is an entirely locally owned travel company with a head office in Colombo. The highly experienced local staff is a key strength of Seerendipity tours and they can plan your dream holiday to Sri Lanka.

Best price for your Sri Lanka vacation packages

When you book a tour with us, you directly book the tour with the local company, which means there are no middlemen and therefore you can guarantee the best price. Simply get in touch with us and let us know when you travel and what you like to see.

Plan your best Sri Lanka vacation packages with experts

Our staff makes a personalized program for you, which you can change until you find the best package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration; all our ready-made tour packages are customizable and can be tailored to meet all your expectations. Write to us at, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

Please hit the below buttons and share the post on social media if you like this post


  1. Yoᥙ are so cool! This is the first time I n encounter such a detailed article about madu river safari. So good to find somebody with uniquе
    thoughts on the river safari. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up.

  2. Perfect article and a very friendly author. I read the article on Madu river safari and wanted to do a boat tour. Then I called teh author immediately asking the information to do the madu river safari. However, teh author did not recommend me the madu river trip because I was staying in Yala. He got me the details of a boat operator in Udawalawe, which was very near to my hotel. The author did it without any benefits just to help me. Thank you, author.

  3. Wow, incгedible blog post with a nice format! A lot of information about madu river. You must have spent a lot of time compiling this article. Thanks

  4. I had never seen mangroves in the past and it was my visit to a mangrove lagoon. It was very interesting snd well worth visiting Madu river.

  5. We did the boat safari from our beach resort. It was nice. However, we combined the Madu boat safari with the whale watching tour and Galle fort.

  6. We did the river tour of madu and we also did the river cruise at Bentota River. As far as our experience the boat tour of Bentota river is more interesting than the boat tour of Madu.

  7. Me and my family will be in Kalutara beach resort for 5 days. Will you be above organizing a private family trip to us visit Madu rover?

  8. We were in Sri Lanka last year and we had the opportunity to visit Madu River. I feel if any obe travel to the west coast, the madu river trip is a must.

  9. Неy! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice on my upcoming Sri Lanka tour. We have not finalized our trip yet. WE would like to hire a driver and guide for us because we have heard that it might not that much safe to travel on our own on Sri Lankan roads.

  10. Hi is this the Bentota river safari? We did a boat tour from our beach resort Bentota however, the river was not far from our hotel. We have seen mangroves, birds, crocodiles, monkeys and many other things, a nice boat tour.

    1. Dear Manyard
      Thanks for the comment.
      There are two places that you can use for the Bentota river safari, the Bentota river, and Madu river. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Madu river from Bentota and Bentota river is very close to Bentota beach resort. Both river safari (Madu river safari and Benbtoita river safari) are very popular.

  11. There are many articles on this blog that are very useful to plan a fantastic Sri Lanka trip. It was great to help us to make many correct decisions on our trip.

  12. We did the Madu River boat tour from our beach hotel in Kalutara when we travelled in Sri Lanka last year. the local tour operator, who planned our trip suggested us to take the Galle and combine it with Madu river safari. OIt was a good suggestion because we could do 2 activities in one trip and visit many interesting places on teh same day.

  13. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country. We did the Negombo boat trip it was also great with a lot of mangroves, and chances to spot birds, monitors and crocodiles.

  14. We decided to take the Madu river safari after reading this article. We all enjoyed a lot. It was great and fun-filled activity, kids loved it a lot.

  15. We booked Bentota boat tour from our beach hotel. It was my first boat trip in Sri Lanka. I don’t know if the Bentota boat tour and madu boat tour are the same. However, the boat tour was an excellent and very convenient trip from our hotel in Bentota. We were able to see many animals like monkeys, monitors, crocodiles, snakes and many birds.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.