per person

Lower Kelani

Draining from Adam’s Peak, the Kelani River’s clear water cascades over the Hill Country’s bedrock as it makes its way out of the mountains headed for the Indian Ocean. In Kithulgala, beginners to advanced kayakers will find the Kelani a fun place to learn the basics of the sport or simply get in a great day of exciting white water paddling. Beginners can paddle up stream from our camp, trying their hand at some wave surfing on a Grade 2 play-wave before heading downstream on a gentle journey through breathtaking scenery. For a more intense experience, we offer white water kayaking on the raft run a 7 kilometer run of Class II and III+ pool and drop rapids. The Upper Kelani is a thrilling stretch of water, offering challenging Class IV water. Borderlands has the most extensive range of kayaks in the country from play boats for experienced paddlers, to sit on top and inflatable ducky’s for the less experienced, along with safety equipment which meets the international safety standards to ensure all guests are always safe on the river. Our guides know the area like it is their back yard, because it is just that. We have invested in training and developing our local team to guiide you safely through such experiences. Our guides are certified in SRT Rescue 3 Professional as well as first aid and CRP. This river is idea for both beginners to experienced paddlers. The water is refreshing to paddle and usually one is paddling in a t-shirt. Break up those long winters waiting for the rivers to open with a kayaking retreat at Borderlands Sri Lanka. We have been told by paddlers it would be hard to find a better setting to learn to paddle.

  • Location: Kithulgala
  • Age: 10+
  • Duration: 2 hours +
  • Flat Water Kayaking: US$45
  • One on One Kayaking Tuition: On request
  • You can include this activity as part of an overnight stay in one of our Riverview cabins, which includes up to two activities and all meals and tea for $145 per night.
  • Special rates are available for Sri Lankan residents.


  • Professional River Guide
  • Formfitting Paddling Life Jackets
  • Helmet
  • Sprayskirt (when relevant)
  • Paddle
  • Kayak
  • Mobile Phone for Emergency Calls
  • Safety and First Aid Equipment
  • Drinking Water
  • All Other Necessary River Equipment
  • Sturdy River Shoes or Sandals with a ankle strap
  • Sunglasses with leash if necessary
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimsuit & Shorts
  • Towel & Change of Clothes

Borderlands offers the following kayaking programs; 

Beginner Kayak Instruction

Course Requirements: Good health, a positive attitude and being a confident swimmer. This 3-day whitewater kayak instruction course is designed to introduce beginning paddlers to the sport of whitewater kayaking. Our goal is to provide novice kayakers with a solid foundation of basic kayaking skills necessary to kayak in Class I and II whitewater.

This includes:

  • Outfitting a kayak
  • Wet exits
  • T-rescues, swimming and self-rescue
  • Body positioning
  • Strokes, edging and bracing techniques
  • Reading rivers and hydrology
  • Eddy turns, peel-outs and ferrying across the current
  • Scouting rapids
  • Basic safety precautions
  • Paddling through class I-II whitewater

What happens during the 3-Day Beginner Kayak Course?

The course is based out of our riverside eco lodge. On the first day, we will introduce students to the gear necessary for kayaking and assist them with equipment selection and boat fitting. We will then spend time in a natural river pool learning the basics of safe boat exit and practicing the fundamentals for the Eskimo roll progression. We will also begin exploring edge control and balance through exercises and drills.   We will end with a class one river run on the lower section of the river.   The second day of the course is spent around a surfing wave and a rapid with well-defined features working on fundamental paddling skills. Progressing from slow moving water to class II whitewater, we will practice basic boat handling, eddy-turns and peel-outs, ferrying, water reading, self-rescue techniques, scouting and safe paddling techniques.  All this in one of the country’s top paddling destinations, we won’t forget to remind you how incredible it is to be able to kayak through the most spectacular places on earth. Your third day will be spent on either the same stretch of river, or a new one, depending on the needs of the group. With a third day for practice, techniques begin to flow naturally as your instructor provides more detailed suggestions and exercises. We believe that consecutive days in a kayak makes for better knowledge retention, making the third day a turning point for many new kayakers.

Hire a ducky and turn your raft run into a true adventure.

  • Included
  • Not Included
    Experienced river guides who are trained in certified in CPR and First Aid
    First Aid Kit
    International Standard Safety Equipment
    Optional Support Gear
    All other necessary equipment