White water rafting is a thrilling outdoor experience you can enjoy in Sri Lanka. It is a recreational and team-building activity. It’s also a fun adventure for families because even kids above ten years of age can have a go at it! White water rafting is a favourite outdoor activity in Sri Lanka among locals and foreigners. Challenging rapids and enchanting scenery in rafting have attracted many locals as well as foreigners.
Things to Know About Rafting in Sri Lanka
Can anyone raft in Sri Lanka?
Yes. Rafting is a family activity even kids over ten years can participate with their parents safely. It is preferred by usual tourists who are not that familiar with the waters.
Where to whitewater raft in Sri Lanka
- Kithulgala — Kalani River
- Avissawella — Kalani River
What’s the best time to raft?
The best time to enjoy White Water Rafting at Kitulgala is between May and December. During periods of heavy rain, the river could turn out to be very volatile and White Water Rafting becomes very unsafe. The adventure operators on-site would advise all water sports enthusiasts on the matter. However, water levels could drop surprisingly fast, turning the river to its regular state during the rainy season as well.
How long will rafting last
Rafting stretch approximately 6.5 kilometres in length, and takes between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to complete, White Water Rafting is a challenging recreational activity and an exhilarating water sport.
A Rapid creates whitewater in a water stream. Rapids are formed when running water moves swiftly over a shallow bed, around and over obstacles, or is constricted by narrow walls. Based on the difficulty, rapids are graded into SIX grades/classes.
Class I Rapids
Class I rapids are defined by flowing water with tiny waves that pull at the boat in a downstream flow. Every river has stretches of calm Class I water, creating a pleasant break between larger rapids.
Class II Rapids
Class II rapids are easy to navigate. They are generally broad water sections moving quickly enough to generate 1 – 3 foot whitecaps. Maintaining a straight course into each wave requires some manoeuvring.
Class III Rapids
Class III rapids feel more robust and may channel between short, constricting passageways made by rocks or a cliff wall. They wave up to 4 or 5 feet tall and crash over the bow. You can get plenty of excitement and fun with a guide at the helm! Non-guided rafters may run into difficulties in Class III rapids.
Class IV Rapids
Class IV rapids consist of more giant waves, confined spaces, and many objects. These rapids tend to be longer, steeper and more “technical” which translates to turns, spins and lateral moves across the current. It required precise manoeuvring to avoid them and move forward.
Class V Rapids
You can expect vertical drops, strong currents, big waves, boulders and holes large enough to flip or hold boats in Class V rapids.
Class VI Rapids
Class VI rapids are considered as “un-navigable” or “un-runnable” as these are amplified versions of what you would find in Class V rapids.
Rafting rivers in Sri Lanka.
- Kalani River Rafting
- Kalu River Rafting
- Mahaweli River Rafting
- Kotmale River Rafting
- Sitawaka River Rafting
Whitewater rapids are the most valuable term in rafting.
River Grade Rafting Time
|River||Rapid Grade||Rafting Time|
|Kithulgala / Kelani River||2 – 3 rapids||2 hrs|
|Sitawaka||3 – 4 rapids||2-2.5 hrs|
|Mahaweli||3 – 5 rapids||3-3.5 hrs|