Nestled among forested hills, Kitulgala is a small Sri Lankan town in the western region of the country. Best known for being the most popular location in Sri Lanka for white water rafting, a visit to Kitulgala is a terrific combination of nature and thrill. It is also one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. The Kelani River which flows through the town served as a filming location for the Oscar-winning movie ‘The Bridge On the River Kwai’, released in 1957.
Apart from being the base for white water rafting, Kitulgala has plenty of options for adventure sporting that sound too good to resist. These include jungle trekking, outdoor camping, mountain biking and waterfall abseiling. The natural attractions at Kitulgala are the most diverse, ranging from the Belilena Caves, where the 12,000-year-old remains of the prehistoric Balangoda Man (Homosapiens Balangodensis) were discovered, to the nearby picturesque Aberdeen Falls. Birdwatching is relatively common at Kitulgala, especially at the Makandawa Forest Reserve, owing to the myriad species of birds in the region. One can also see endemic bird species at Makandawa include the orange-billed babbler and chestnut-backed owlet and mammals such as the slender red loris. Whether you seek the adrenaline rush of adventure or solitude and tranquillity amid nature, Kitulgala is hands down the best of both worlds.
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