Sri Lanka is renowned for its natural beauty, from its sprawling national parks to its picturesque hillsides, but perhaps the best example of this is the entrancing scenery seen along the Madu River.
One of Sri Lanka’s most fragile yet important eco-systems, the Madu River is around 70km away from Colombo. You can easily reach the area by taking the well-developed Colombo-Galle highway if you’re travelling from the capital. If you’re staying at a resort or boutique hotel in Galle – as an example The River House – you should still be able to get there in under an hour.
The History of the Wetlands
According to ancient historical accounts, the Madu River has played an important role in the country’s history. Most notably, the mouth of the river and the surrounding wetlands were once the sites of an epic battle in which the forces of King Parakrambahu II repelled an army of invaders from Kerala.
The river and the surrounding mangrove forest are a haven for a rich cast of wildlife. If you ever decide to take a boat safari down the river, you might just see some of these wonderful denizens – these include mugger crocodiles, over 50 different species of butterfly and up to 111 unique bird species.
The Local Industries
A trip down the Madu River will also provide the opportunity to observe some of the local industries that are based around the river. You can observe Sri Lankan fisherman expertly hunt for prawns in the water, or you can visit the aptly named Cinnamon Island to observe the traditional process of peeling cinnamon.