Eco-Adventure Activities in Sri Lanka
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Eco-Adventure Activities - Sri Lanka

Excitement Awaits Visitors Around the Diverse Landscapes of the Island

Sri Lanka is not only a land of richly varied and abundant vegetation, the extreme variation of landscapes it provides are ideally suited to eco-adventure.

Sri Lanka’s variety of ‘mini’ climates deriving from a diversity of relief features gives it, in spite of its diminutive size an astonishing wealth of flora and fauna. Not only blessed with a richly varied and abundant vegetation, the landscape it covers take in lowlands which contrast with rugged terrain, high peaks, deep chasms, narrow mountain passes ideal for eco-adventure; high and lovely waterfalls and snaking rivers; some placid and some made for white water river rafting. Here is a guide to what eco-adventure activities are available in Sri Lanka.

Hiking and Trekking – For the keen hiker Sri Lanka’s mist covered mountain country offers fabulous opportunities. The mysterious Horton Plains National park offers some excellent hikes in an unusual environment characterised by forest patches, grasslands and some high altitude vegetation. When climbing the picturesque Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) the ascent is usually done at night in order to arrive at the top to witness the magical sunrise with the peak casting its mystic shadow on the cloud mountains below. The attractive area of Ella is renowned for its many walks including the little Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock and the Namunukula mountain range. And in the vicinity of Kandy you can explore the beautiful Knuckles Range Heritage and Wilderness area. This region stretches an impressive 155sq km with five major forest formations, a wide variety of rare and endemic flora and fauna and mountain scenery.

Cycling and Mountain Biking – If you prefer to get about on two wheels but are not so keen on struggling with uphill climbs there are many interesting trails in the lowlands that take you through a beautiful landscape of tea, rubber and spice plantations. For those seeking more of a challenge, hill country locations such as the Knuckles National heritage and Wilderness area offer a number of steeper trails that are suitable only for the more experienced cyclists.

Canoeing and Kayaking – With 103 rivers and a wealth of lagoons, swamps and interconnected old canals, Sri Lanka provides no end of opportunities to try out this different and relaxing mode of transportation. The famous Kalu Ganga (aka Black River) flows from the heart of the island down to the west coast town of Kalutara where it finally meets the Indian Ocean. During a leisurely canoe trip down this beautiful river, canoeists can marvel at the ever-changing landscapes and the fascinating variety of flora and fauna. For an alternative to river canoeing, you can head to one of the country’s vast tanks and reservoirs. The calm waters of the Samanalawewa reservoir in the Sabaragamuwa province provides an ideal setting for this slow-paced activity and with the area’s prolific birdlife and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, there’s plenty of things to see as you paddle.

White Water Rafting – If canoeing sounds too tame and you are looking for a more action-packed adventure on the water, there are companies which will offer a white water experience. This activity is great fun for first-timers and experts alike, with a wide range and grading of rapids on some of the island’s more turbulent waters such as the Kelani River. Kitulgala in the hill country, southwest of Kandy, provides an ideal base from which many white water rafting trips take place.

Turtle Watching – Five of the eight species of remaining sea turtles today, regularly visit the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka to nest. In Sri lanka all sea turtles and their products are fully protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. Anyone found to be violating the conditions of this Ordinance is liable to face a substantial fine and/or prison term.

Sea turtles frequent the western coastline and the areas famous for turtle watching are the beaches around Induruwa and Kosgoda. Induruwa has a turtle research project and Kosgoda has a turtle centre, conservation project, hatchery and a research centre as well.

The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) was started in 1996 to protect sea turtles in their natural habitat while providing an alternative source of income to people formerly dependent on the illegal collection of turtle eggs.

Caving – Caving is relatively new to Sri Lanka but with an impressive range of caves located throughout the country, it is an unusual sport growing in popularity. Caving (known to the experts as ‘speleology’) involves the exploration, surveying, mapping and photographing of caves. Batatotalena Cave at Sudagala is an incredible site where the skeletal remains of prehistoric man have been found and, Wavulpone Cave (aka ‘Cave of Bats’) is renowned for its beautiful stalactites and stalagmites and the hundreds of thousands of bats that reside there. With some of these caves dating back approximately 500 million years this is definitely a prehistoric eco-adventure.

Read more in Holidaying in The National Parks of Sri Lanka, A Guide to the National Parks of Sri Lanka and Eco-Tourism in Sri Lanka.