Madu ganga river is a complex coastal ecosystem of mangroves and islands which spreads over 900 hectares of area. There are totally 64 island in Madu Ganga. It is located in Balapitiya, 80 km away from Colombo, close to Sri Lankas southern beaches. It may be one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka.
The main feature of Madu Ganga is its mangroves that act as a bio-lock to the area in giving protection to the variety of aquatic plants and animal life. They provide a home for different kinds of aquatic plants, crabs, shrimps, fish, various invertebrates and other animal life including crocodiles .
Madu Ganga is considered as Sri Lanka’s second largest wetland. Over the past generations Madu Ganga has played an important role in providing food and shelter and of course providing easy access to the main land via small wooden boats.
Boat Trips are organized by several tour operators which will take around 2 hours.
A boat trip, which runs through massive mangrove forests, glide under the canopy of the forest tunnels, is a wonderful way of seeing some of the hundreds of species of plants and animals – monkeys eat fruit in the trees, a water monitor lizard glides slowly through the water, and cormorants, egrets and kingfishers wait patiently on the banks, eyeing the water for prey. There are around 64 islands in the river and lagoon, from a tiny speck housing a deserted shrine to one housing 250 families connected to the mainland with a very long footbridge. Visit an island with a Buddhist monastery. The main occupations of the local inhabitants are producing cinnamon and prawn fishing – if you take the trip in the evening you will see the fishermen in their canoes lighting lanterns to attract the shellfish into their traps.
What to see during scenic boat safari along Maduganga
• Thick Mangrove Forest with unique features: prop roots, aerial roots.
• Kothduwa Rajamaha Viharaya – A serene and tranquil temple a with a tall Buddha statue in standing posture in an Island.
• Few Islands – “Ma Doowa” is the largest inhabited island, 300 families live there. The smallest is called “Satha Paha Doowa”. According to folklore this islet had been purchased for five cents but some say the name has derived due to its shape.
• Traditional fishermen and traditional Fishing Kraals (ja-kotu) set up to trap lagoon prawns.
• Witness peeling cinnamon and producing cinnamon oil
• Bridge connecting “Ma Duwa” to Balapitiya
• Wild-life – Biodiversity – Madu Ganga has high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to 303 species of plants belonging to 95 families and to 248 species of vertebrate animals.
• You can see large number of species of plants and animal: Monkeys eating fruits on the trees, water monitor lizards were gliding slowly through the water and egrets and kingfishers waiting patiently on the banks, eyeing the water for prey.
How to Get to MaduGanga River
You can take the Southern Expressway E1 and take Kurundugahahetekma exit to go to Balapitiya.
Videos on Madu River
YouTube Video on Boat ride
Documentary Film on Madu Ganga River