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Friday, 6 February 2015

Sri Lanka Trave Pt 4: Madu Ganga River Safari

The resort where we stayed in Balapitiya is located near Madu Ganga so we decided to go for its famous boat safari. 
The Madu River or Madu Ganga is a beautiful river with exceptional biodiversity. Together with a nearby lake it forms a large wetland where mangrove thrives. There used to be 64 islands and little islets in this river but over the years this number has dwindled to less than 30.  
We left our resort early that morning so that we could enjoy our boat ride before the scorching sun appears. The boatman assigned to us was Samanta.  We were glad we got a good deal as we only paid 3000Rs (RM90) for the entire 12-seater boat.
Listed below are the highlights of this boat tour.

1) The Wildlife
Samanta just knew where to find the faunas of the river. He slowed the boat for us to see this monitor lizard.
And then a cormorant.
A kingfisher
A stork
Here's another cormorant. These birds prey on the fishes in the river. There were other pretty birds that flew around.
This monkey which refused to leave our boat started to pee out of fear when our boatman took off. But of course, the boat was driven back to the shore to let it off.

2) Fish Spa And Baby Crocodile
We stopped  for a fish spa in the midst of the river.
The fish are huge compared to the tiny garra ruffa which are usually used for foot spa.
A baby crocodile which belongs to the spa owner was brought to us. A historical day indeed as it was my first time holding a crocodile.

3) The Mangroves
Our boat was manoeuvred through a mangrove cave.
There was a streak of adventure going through this labyrinth of mangroves.
We were finally out in the open.

4) Fishermen
The main occupations of people who live around Madu Ganga are fishing, prawn farming and cinnamon cultivation.
The fishermen use catamarans, traditional canoe-like boats which are indigenous to Sri Lanka for their fishing activities. Unlike the canoe however, the hollow space in a catamaran is very narrow and you can't sit inside. Instead you sit on a plank laid across the upper part.
This is a prawn farm.

5. Cinnamon Island And Other Islands In Madu Ganga
As mentioned earlier there are many islands and islets in Madu Ganga. One of them is Cinnamon Island where only 1 family reside.
The owner of the only home is an elderly gentleman who didn't hesitate to display a few skills on our arrival. First, he demonstrated the process of producing cinnamon barks by debarking the branches and air-drying them at the roof.
This is how a cinnamon bark looks like before hardening and turning brown.
The cinnamon are dried in neat rows at the roof.
Next, he demonstrated how to make ropes from coconut husks.
The ready rope is well woven and strong. Lastly he took out his cinnamon products to sell. The cinnamon bark, cinnamon powder and cinnamon oil each cost 300Rs.
That's me and Samanta sitting on a catamaran on Cinnamon Island.
On another island stood  Kothduwa temple, a very old temple which is home to some Buddhist monks.

You can stop for a visit but we just had a look from outside. 


On yet another tiny islet stood a deserted shrine.


The largest island in the river is Maduwa Island.  It is the most populous island with a couple of hundred families residing on it. It is the only island linked to the mainland via a long footbridge. 


The footbridge that links the mainland to Maduwa Island is indeed long.



6. The Beautiful Scenery Of Madu Ganga


A little store selling drinks and coconuts.


Tranquil and serene.


Rich floras.


A nice reflection


Clear water


Lush greenery
Peaceful solitude
A short bridge
Balapitiya fishing harbour
The last place we visited was the amazing estuary where Madu Ganga meets the ocean. 

This is the map of Shinagawa Beach where we stayed and Madu Ganga, the big mass of water where we took our boat ride. The distance between them is just 3km.

The boat ride which lasted one and a half hours was one of the best things we did in Sri Lanka. It was educational, refreshing and therapeutic at the same time.

Details of the boat safari:
Boat Operator:  Sanuthi Boat House
Address:            Galle Road, Bridge View
                         Balapitiya (Sea Side)
Tel:                   091-2259771
                         0771281615
Rate:                 No fixed rate (We bargained for Rs3000/boat)
Tips:                  We were happy with our tour and tipped the boatman 500Rs

Reminder:         Never ask a tuk-tuk to bring you to a boat operator as you will never 
                         get a good rate if you do so. A commission is usually demanded by he 
                         tuk-tuk driver from the boat operator who consequently has to charge
                         more.
                         One thing you can do is to stop the tuk-tuk 50 metres away and walk.
                         
                         An early morning or evening boat ride is the best as Sri Lankan 
                         weather is super hot. Bring sunglasses and hats.

Related Posts: Click To View
Sri Lanka Travel Pt 7: The Journey From Galle To Balapitiya
Sri Lanka Travel Pt 8: Brief Garden - Wow What A Garden!



1 comment :

  1. Yes Sanuthi Boat House is a good company, you can find their full price list from http://dahasakshops.com/sanuthi-boat-house/ visit this link and tell them you saw the prices from Dahasakshops and they will probably discount you. Madu Ganga River Ride Prices

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