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Mahaweli River Expedition

Amazing Journey by kayaks and/or canoes

Mahaweli River Expedition

per person

The 335km long Mahaweli is Sri Lanka’s longest river. This wilderness adventure, journeyed by kayaks and/or canoes, is a 50km, 3 night and 4 day paddling trip through the untainted Wasgamuwa National Park, located in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. It begins 20km downstream from the town of Mahiyanganaya and ends near to Manampitiya. The park is home to large herds of wild elephants and a rich and diverse birdlife. It’s quite likely that you will spot some crocs sunning themselves on the banks of the river on certain stretches, so the trip is not for the faint hearted! All your equipment, food and drink, as well as all safety equipment will be provided.

The expedition is hosted by a team of experienced Borderlands river guides. This is generally a flat water expedition however there are a couple of Class I and II rapids to navigate which will add to the excitement. No prior experience is necessary, but participants must have a reasonable level of fitness and be willing to pitch in with camp set up, as well as cooking and cleaning and packing up camp each morning. Borderlands is the only adventure company in Sri Lanka that conducts the Mahaweli River Expedition. This trip will offer participants a chance to learn many new skills, such as how to read the river, some gentle whitewater paddling, wilderness camping and safety. The journey is an epic and unique experience in Sri Lanka.

4 Days
6+ Age
  • Included
    Mahaweli River Expedition
    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
1
Day 1
The trip starts about 30 minutes downstream from Mahiyanganaya at the Japanese Friendship Bridge at midday. The first day is an introduction to the river, paddling techniques, safety precautions and river reading, followed by a short paddle to get a feel for the boats and the equipment. Return to camp for set-up and evening BBQ. The drive from Colombo to Mahiyanganaya is around 6 hours.
2
Day 2
This morning we set off and paddle for around 4 hours, until we reach the edge of the park and our first rapid. This evening we set up camp on the edge of Wasgamuwa National Park, on a deserted river beach. We have plenty of snack breaks, and we can make time for a game of cricket or frisbee on the beach before darkness falls. We gather all our own wood for the evening campfire, which is kept going throughout the night as protection against possible elephant forays!
3
Day 3
An early start as we enter Wasgamuwa NP, which spans the left bank of the river today, with the buffer zone river right. It’s a full day paddling through the park, silent apart from the calls of birds, including raptors, hornbills and peacocks, monkeys and the buzzing of insects. With luck we’ll catch a glimpse of sunning crocodiles and thirsty elephants. It’s rare to see people and the solitude is priceless.  Again we set up camp on a deserted beach – from which we can often glimpse elephants fording the river, sometimes solo, but often as a family. Dinner under the stars, a chance to share stories, relive the day’s adventure and fall into a deep slumber
4
Day 4
The last day’s paddle is usually a short day – the river widens as we leave Wasgamuwa behind, the topography levels out and the dense jungle gives way to farmland. We reach our final destination by lunch time. All the gear needs to be carried from the river before heading back to Colombo. The drive back is around 6 hours, though the ancient site of Polonnaruwa and Minneriya NP are just a 30 minute drive and would make an excellent place to stop on a tour of the country.

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