beddagana wetland

Top Five Places to See in Colombo – Wetlands

Top Five Places to See in Colombo – Wetlands

The steamy tropical city of Colombo has an extensive green cover and a network of wetlands, which are coming under important places to See in Colombo. The wetlands of Colombo spreads over 20sq km making Colombo the only Ramsar wetland city in Southern Asia.

Colombo sightseeing tour

However, most travellers of Sri Lanka do not have the opportunity to explore the pristine fort cover and wetland of Colombo. Usually, a Colombo city tour means a Sri Lanka short trip to visit important historical and cultural places of Colombo. The Colombo sightseeing tour also includes shopping in Colombo.

Colombo city tour is a popular activity among travellers. The Colombo city tour includes in most Sri Lanka trips and Colombo is the starting point as well as the ending point of Sri Lanka toru itineraries.

Perhaps you are hanging up your boots for a moment or using Sri Lanka as a stepping stone before heading to another country, you have to experience the fascinating wetland cover of Colombo, which helps to keep the temperature of the city under control. A large tract of forest diminished over the last few centuries on the island due to the invasion of concrete jungle fuelled by economic development.

Forest cover maintains the climate

Maintaining the forest cover and natural habitats such a wetland are very important to maintain the ecological balance in the environment, especially in cities like Colombo that is been developed fast.

Perhaps you have experienced the extreme heat in summer 2019, that resulted through the heat waves, making many European cities like a hotplate. In the wake of increasing heat, the governments of many European countries set up pools and waterholes in cities and urban areas in order to help people to cool themselves and to tame the increasing heat.

Even though Colombo is a populated metropolis in the tropics, the temperate rises rarely above 35C°, the heat in the city are automatically controlled in a collective effort of patched of forests, wetlands and, sea breeze. The wetland cover of Colombo spreads over 20sq km, and it is made of rivers, lakes, rice paddies, marsh-lands, tidal flats, flood receding lands, ponds and reservoirs.

colombo ramsa wetland city

Importance of wetland to Colombo

The wetlands in Colombo helps the city in many ways, it controls the flooding by absorbing the excessive rainwater, it provides a breeding ground for many fauna species, helps to maintain a forest density in the city, control the heat, it is been used as a source of food by some people and these wetlands add beauty to the city.

Once covered with dense foliage of rain forest, the city had accommodated one of the deadliest big cats in the world, leopard (panthera pardus kotiya) which is a subspecies of leopard, endemic to the island.

Today there are no leopards in Colombo and they are restricted to national parks. Today, you would encounter leaf monkeys and mischievous macaques that try to steal your sandwich or watch a squirrel scuttle across your path, still, there are several places within the borders of Colombo that you can taste the jungle-like atmosphere.

Here are our top five places to see in Colombo – wetlands in Colombo

Still, there are many patches of forests and wetlands within the borders of Colombo to explore; these pockets of forests are home to a large number of birds, butterflies, mongoose, monitor lizards, cobras, and vipers. The wetland network of Colombo is the habitat for 250 species of plants and trees and 280 species of animals are living around the wetlands.

monitor lizard

Beddegana Wetland Park

Beddegana Wetland Park is a fantastic piece of development project launched by the government of Sri Lanka with the help of the World Bank. Beddegana Wetland, as it was initially called, functioned as a flood trapping marshland, however, its valuable forest cover was not open to the public due to the impassability. The wetland park lies within the borders of Sri Jayawardena Kotte, which is a fiercely crowded quarter of Colombo, it is hard to imagine the existence of such a green oasis within the hustle and bustle of Colombo.

The park is developed such a way that it allows the visitors to have a leisurely stroll and hang around the marshy grad lands, between the trees and plants of the marshland without disturbing its main functionality of saving the city from flooding.

The park is carefully crafted without disturbing the nature; the park is a perfect spot to have a bit of fresh air while hugging the cool air coming from the nearby water body. The wooden platform helps you to walk over the marshland while enjoying the beauty of a large array of Fauna and Flora.

The relentless development and redevelopment of Colombo can become tiresome sometimes, but that is not the case for this fabulous wetland park and jungle walk. The visitors may have a different opinion on the Beddagana wetland park; however, it cannot be denied that Beddagana Wetland Park has done a great job of maintaining a balance between nature and economic development.

king fisher

Diyasaru Wetland

Overlooking the Diyawanna Lake, this man-made wetland park in Thalawathugoda is home to a large number of avian fauna species, fish species, as well as animal species like monitor lizard and monkeys. The best time to visit the park is before 10 am, early hours are the best time to spot a vast array of bird residing here, the wetland is blissfully serene at any time of the day.

There is a possibility of encountering a large water monitor lizards, which can whizz across the water like prehistoric sea serpents. Sighting of cormorant that is dive in the water in frequent intervals in search of fish is a usual sight here. Few city dwellers had seen a crocodile lurking in the water but, thankfully, sightings are very rare.

The butterfly garden, a part of Diyasaru wetland is a great place to see a large number of butterflies. According to park management, the butterfly garden is frequented by around 80 species of butterflies.

Kolonnawa Wetland

Another popular tourist place in Colombo, the rapid urbanization of Colombo has resulted in unplanned landfilling, therefore several areas of the city are coming underwater during the monsoon, the problem keeping aggravating every year.

As the yearly flooding submerges highly residential areas like Kolonnnawa, it is causing a heavy financial loss to the country. However, Kolonnawa is yet another important natural asset of Colombo city, the wetland primarily a lowland area that absorbs excessive rainwater.

The urban development department planned an ambitious program to improve the drainage system in the area in order to control the flooding. The development of Kolonnawa wetland is a part of the project, in which the wetland was developed as a place to study the wetland (wetland education centre) while restoring the natural habitat.

Attracting visitors is another aspect of Kolonnawa wetland product, which was included with nature trails and education centre. Even though Kolonnawawa wetland is not well designed and immaculately built like Diyasaru Wetland Park, this wetland still deserve your attention, because it is very rich in fauna and flora species.

beddagana walkaway

Talangama Tank

Similar to all great urban green spaces, entering Talangama wetland gives you instant relief. The torrential roar of the vehicles melts into the plants, trees and water body and it is very easy to forget that you are surrounded by 2 million people. It is well designed and it gives you the feeling that living in a patch of forest.

Talangama is an urban town but a large number of people in this urban area are in agriculture, rice is one of the most popular crops. Talangama tank is the main source of water for the rice paddy.

Talangama tank not only provides the water, required for the paddy cultivation but also it has many other important functionalities such as water retention, rescue the city from flooding, groundwater recharge, drainage, purification and it is a home for a large number of Fauna and Flora species. Talangama tank and the wetland is a popular spot among the bird watchers, where they can observe a large number of avian fauna species.

The Talangama Tank is inhabited by 70 species of birds and the number of animal species observed here is 30; most popular animals observed are fishing cat, monitor lizard, purple-faced leaf monkey, and mouse deer. Talanagama Tank and the surrounding wetland area designated as wetland protection area, which spread over 35 acres and it is under the purview of Central Environmental Authority.

Beddagana Wetland Park

Just outside of Greater Colombo city is the suburb of Rajagiriya and Ethul Kotte, Kotte had been a capital of the island during the medieval period, even today many reminiscents such as the rampart and moat, of the graceful city once existed, sits in the area. Diyawanna Lake is the main source of water of Beddagana wetland.

The marshland of Beddagana is an important wetland in Colombo and has grown to a fully pledged wetland with a large extent of mangroves, wetland trees and plants. Beddagana wetland has very high biodiversity, where the visitors can observe a large number of bird and other animal species as well as many trees and plants.

These are top places to see in Colombo and least explore places in Colombo. If you wish to visit these places you can book a Colombo city tour inclusive of above-mentioned wetland please contact us on

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