• Experiencing the Great Sandy River
    Trip Length : 4 Days
    Availability : Throughout the year

Book your Experience in the Great Sandy River in Sri Lanka now, get 15% off, and reschedule as many times as you like up to April 2021 without any cancellation charges. Explore the diverse birdlife while crossing the river banks and enjoy the landscape of the true beauty of Sri Lanka!

Experiencing the Great Sandy River

Canoeing and or Kayaking expedition down the Mahaweli River

The Mahaweli River also known as the Great Sandy River, is the longest river in Sri Lanka. Travelling for 335km throughout the land, the river covers one-fifth of the total land area in the island. The spring source of the river begins in the hill country and ends at the Bay of Bengal on the southwestern side of the Trincomalee Bay.

The Mahaweli River plays a major role in the local power generation industry, as several parts of the river have been dammed in order to facilitate the creation of hydroelectricity power plants that generate sizeable portions of the country’s electricity. It is for this reason that Sri Lanka’s primary source of power is through hydroelectricity.

This river expedition by kayaks and/or canoes is a 3 night, 4 day paddling trip that will begin from Manampitiya Flood Plains National Park and paddle you through the Wasgamuwa and Somawathiya National Parks. Since both parks are famed for its Asian elephants, you will have plenty of encounters with them in the river banks or while they play in the river itself, and see the rich and diverse birdlife of the parks as well as spot crocodiles laying on the banks sunbathing. This expedition takes you through the beautiful landscapes of Sri Lanka and will allow you to experience wildlife at its best.

Who will you ride with?

You will go through this experience with Dananjaya, an experienced paddler as well as a war veteran who joined our team after serving our nation in the commando regiment. He chose to live with his favorite hobby following his retirement – adventure sports. Dananjaya is also skilled in waterfall abseiling. His home town is Polonnaruwa, where his parents and siblings live.



Summary of the programme

  • Day 1 – Arrival at Manampitiya Bridge

  • Day 2 – River expedition down the Mahaweli River

  • Day 3 – River expedition down the Mahaweli River

  • Day 4 – Ending your expedition at Koddiyar Bay

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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival at Manampitiya Bridge

You will begin your 4 day expedition by first arriving at the Manampitiya bridge. There you will meet your Eco Team river guide and begin your rafting or canoeing tour along the Mahaweli River while our staff will follow you either by boat or vehicle carrying your camping equipment and clothing. After a few hours of canoeing, you will enjoy a packed lunch in a suitable spot; a river bank and continue forward. You will end your day with an overnight stay at a participatory campsite* in the banks of the Mahaweli River close to the Somawathi National Park and retreat back to your tents after a delicious dinner.

Day 2 & 3 - River expedition down the Mahaweli River

After an early breakfast on both days, you will begin continuing your rafting or canoeing expedition. You will be passing Somawathiya National Park, which lies in a deltaic floodplain of the Mahaweli River that has a tributary that forks into two branches. We will be taking the branch which is the Mahaweli River that flows north into Koddiyar Bay. The other branch is the Verugal Oya that flows north east into the sea. On both days you will stop for lunch again at a suitable place down your river expedition and end the day with dinner and an overnight stay at a participatory campsite in the banks of the Mahaweli River.  

Day 4 - Ending your expedition at Koddiyar Bar

After an early breakfast on your fourth and final day, you will continue your final stretch of the rafting expedition and end it at the Koddiyar Bay in Trincomalee. Your transfer vehicle will be ready at the ending point of the expedition for your departure to your next destination.


Important notes

This river expedition is not for the faint hearted, but for individuals with a reasonable physical fitness level.

During the expedition, due to the changing landscape, in some areas you would have to use your best skills to conquer the rapids which are graded from 1 to 2, whilst in some stretches you will have to carry your own canoe/kayak or raft as you will encounter sandy patches that do not have enough depth for you to sit and paddle.

*Participatory campsite – After your water expeditions, you will have to be willing to work with the supporting staff to put up your own tents, help prepare meals and clean utensils with the staff and pack up to get ready for the following day’s stretch.

All participants will be given a safety briefing, and canoeing equipment including oars, life jackets and helmets. It is encouraged to bring your own towel and a change of clothing.

Our guides will lead the way and all participants are expected to follow their instructions for their own safety. As Eco Team we adhere to a high level of environmental and responsible travel practices. We urge our valued participants to adhere to our environmental and safety policies too.  


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Hotline : (+94) 70 222 8 222
Office Address : 20/63, Fairfield Garden, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka