Located on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, in the city of Balapitiya, the Madu Ganga is the second biggest wetland on the island. Here is a quick guide of what you will find here.
How to get there
Considered one of the most important eco-systems in Sri Lanka, the Madu River is located south of Bentota and approximately around 100km from Colombo. If you are staying at one of the prominent Bentota hotels in the area, for example, the Cinnamon Bey Beruwala, then the river is just a 30 min ride away.
Biodiversity of the River
Surrounded by thick mangroves, the Madu River is home to a large number of birds and around 247 animal species. You will also come to find a diverse array of fish, crocodiles, and even butterflies! Another animal you will come across will be snakes and tree snakes!
An important stop while on your river safari would be the Cinnamon Island that is inhabited by a small family, who makes a living by selling the cinnamon that is grown here. The elderly man that you will see debarking the cinnamon as you enter will take you through the whole process of how it is made. You will also be offered a warm cup of tea while here apart from some cinnamon goodies that you can buy.
The Buddhist Monastery
Another stop that you will make on your river safari journey is the ‘KothDuwa’ island which is one of the larger inhabited islands on the river. This island houses a Buddhist temple that dates back to the time of the Sri Lankan Kings. Some noteworthy places on this island are the Bo Tree, the Image house, and Dagoba. Foreigners and locals are both allowed to enter this sacred vicinity, but keep in mind that you have to take off your shoes/caps before you enter!