Sri Lanka for water & Land sports

Sri Lanka has something to offer everyone including the sports & adventure lovers. On the adventure side of eco-tourism, it has the potential to become one of the great adventure destinations in the world. A rocky, mountainous core rises in three steps from the centre of the island. Sheer rock faces abound in an island dissected with ridges and mountain ranges. More than 103 rivers cascade down to the ocean, allowing plenty of scope for canoeing and white-water rafting. Anything from easy, grade one stretches, to hair-raising grade six rapids, to make even a seasoned rafter's heart pump fast, is available. Sri Lanka 's potential for scuba diving is probably understated. In addition to the well-known reefs, several others lie unexplored, off the routine diving-circuit.

It is probably in trekking that Sri Lanka has the potential to stake a claim as a premier soft-adventure destination. Being a relatively compact island, it is not too difficult to design a trekking circuit that will run from the cool highlands to the humid, lowland rain-forests, or the parched-dry lowlands. A trek can start at altitudes where temperatures drop below freezing, and end only a few days later, in an almost desert-like environment. The mountainous core and seasonal monsoons work to produce markedly different climatic zones in a relatively small area. The trekker can experience mountain forests, alpine grasslands, tea estates, paddy fields and scrub jungles, all in the space of a week.

The warm waters - 27°C/80°F – around Sri Lanka 's coast encourage wonderful surfing, diving and snorkelling. The calmer inland waters offer windsurfing, water skiing, dinghy sailing and jetskis.

Water Sports:

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Diving and Snorkeling

Underwater Wonderland for Diving and Snorkeling - Sri Lanka 's spectacular scenic beauty does not end at its shore-line. Beneath its seas lies a fascinating sub-marine wonderland of gorgeously coloured coral, jewel-hued tropical fish and sub-merged shipwrecks. Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna on South and South West from November to April have numerous excellent dive sites with visibility up to 20m.

A wide coral shelf surrounds the coast at intervals providing excellent sites for skin diving (snorkel, flippers or Scuba gear). There are approximately 138 species of coral recorded around Sri Lanka . Some of the best spots for exploration are Ambalangoda, Hikkaduwa, Gintota, Galle , Unawatuna, Mirissa, Weligama, Kudawelia, Mahawella, Dickwella, Tangalle. Amongst these beautiful coral reefs live exotic tropical fish such as the Emperor Angel, the Moorish Idol, Lion, Unicorn, Parrot, Clown etc - all for you to see!

The Coral Sanctuary at Hikkaduwa is close inshore. Dive, swim and snorkel with the parrot fish, barracuda and green turtles. Polhenna beach has a reef that you can reach on foot from the shore.

Snorkelling. Available at all the above sites. Unawatuna Bay and the on-shore reefs of SW resorts are particularly recommended but do check the strength of the undercurrent with local beach operators on a daily basis as many lives are lost through ignorance . Hiring equipment is easy.

Dives and Courses . There are many water sports centres around Sri Lanka , and many P.A.D.I. recognised operators. Sri Lanka has a number of wreck dives around Galle & Bentota.

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Surfing

Hikkaduwa, Midigama and Polhenna Beaches in the south and west are good surfing beaches to explore. Boards and gear are available for hire locally. Do take local advice regarding strong currents and undertow in some areas.

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Windsurfing & Water-Skiing

The Bentota River is favoured for the keen water babes and sunbathers but Colombo Sailing Club on Bologoda Lake is also an ideal break for the business/ holiday maker.

For the experienced wind surfers, head just off the West Coast in December/March, but the strong breezes are very challenging. West Coast is home to Holger Brummer's ski camp and wake boarding training courses for the beginner to the advanced competitor.

December to March is ideal but July - September and November and April are often fine if the winds and undercurrent are suitable. Lessons and equipment are easily available

Jetski

Strangely, still the latest “Look at me” sport on at Bentota River . Life jackets and full instructions are part of the safety package. Speeds of up to 50 mph are permitted.

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Dinghy Sailing

Where: Bologoda Lake in Colombo has a good range of sailing boats for hire, Hobby Cats, Lasers and Catamarans. Recognised courses of 1-14 days are run throughout the year.

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Fishing & Deep sea fishing

As with any island people, fishing has always been part of Sri Lankan life. You may try fly fishing for trout, cast in the surf or lagoons, challenge the big game fish.Trout river fishing – Nuwara Eliya in the Highlands . Traditional fly fishing, a legacy from the early European settlers. You will probably need a licence, and good equipment and clothing is not available locally.

Coastal lakes and lagoons offer good catches. The breakwater of Colombo Harbour is a popular spot.

Night fishing on the rivers, Game and sport fish and Deep sea fishing are plentiful, as they follow their prey inshore in the warm currents.

In particular, Negombo on the West Coast - Bentota and Weligama in the South West. Your catch may include: Marlin, swordfish, queenfish, tuna, barracuda. On West and South West Coasts - from October to March, Inland – any time!

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Rafting & Canoeing

The myriad of waterways in Sri Lanka offer a wide range of experiences from gentle guided canoe trips through the lowlands to thrilling white-knuckle rafting on the turbulent rivers.

Canoeing

One and two-man canoes – for solo or guided trips. Discover the backwaters, riverside villages and forests with a silent approach.

Established routes :

  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve to Kalutara on the South Coast can be enjoyed as a day or overnight trip.
  • Panadura Wildlife Resource Centre runs canoe safaris through unique wetlands inland from Colombo

White Water Rafting

Rivers are carefully graded from 2-6 to accommodate families, beginners and experienced rafters. Children over 6 years are welcomed. Best time to go is May-December when waters are highest and fastest.

Grades 2/3 are Popular Excursions for beginners

  • Walawe Ganga through Uda Walawe Park to South Coast at Ambalantota – enjoy the elephants from the river.
  • Kelani River , SW of Kandy – “River Kwai” country. Organised (1½ hrs) trip from Kitulgala. Avoid Sundays when dam controlling water flow is closed.

Grades 3/6 :

  • The Sitawaka River – 1½ hrs from Colombo .
  • Kotmale River – for experienced only. A 6-hour paddle at Grades 4-5
  • Kal River – 2-day trip from Sinharaja Forest overnight camp invites you to exchange memories of ‘thrills and spills' with your companions.
  • Mahawella River – the ultimate challenge with Grade 6 drops.

Any very experienced rafters seeking big rapids should let us know and we will put you directly in touch with the best operators who will have up to the minute rapid conditions.

Kayaking

Hanwella is a tropical paradise amongst rivers, mountains, forests and a rich ancient past, just an hours drive from Colombo . 300 meters of the River Kelani frontage is lined with a pebbled sandy beach. Kayaking (1 or 2 person) trips can be joined for the day and a beach lunch is included. Paddle, swim for a while and absorb the river wildlife en route Guests are returned to camp in Hanwella.

Land Sports:

•  Golf

Test yourself on some of Asia 's toughest courses and then pamper yourself at one of the country's best tropical coastal resorts, before you leave. Enjoy the expert advice and warm smile of the caddies that guide your every shot. Not only will you get to test your golfing skills on all three stunning courses but also experience three different climatic conditions, where these three courses are situated. It's like playing golf in three different Countries.

The Three Golf Courses:

1. The Royal Colombo Golf Club : This course is 5'770 m long (par 71). Founded 1879, has an elegant clubhouse, coconut palm lined fairways and immaculate links. This is a flat course with broad fairways which looks simple to beginners but there are many water hazards and well guarded bunkers which quickly change the opinion. The Royal Colombo Golf Club is easily accessible, being 20 minutes drive from all first-class hotels in the city.
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2. Victoria Golf Club, KANDY: This course is 6'190 m long (par 73) a championship golf course designed by Donald Steel and inaugurated early in 1999. The fairways are rather narrow in a hilly country side. Stately trees and avenues of coconuts lend the course an immediate air maturity. Impressive natural outcrops of rocks are a distinctive feature. The Victoria Golf Club is situated 25 km east of Kandy and 150 km from Colombo .

 

3. The Nuwara Eliya Golf Club : This course which is reputed to be one of Asia 's finest is 5'520 m (par 71) and was Founded 1889 by the Scottish Tea- Planters. The fairways are long and narrow and bordered by fir trees and thick bushes. It demands skilful

“position play” and the hilly terrain makes it essential that players can cope with up-hill and down-hill lies. The Golf Club is 10 minutes walk from the Grand Hotel and 190 km from Colombo . Golf is played on all courses throughout the year.

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Cycling & Mountain biking

Sri Lanka is a perfect venue for the cyclist of any age or ability, with many safe trails criss-crossing the countryside. almost anywhere, except on the major roads – tourists' wellbeing is not often a priority in the average driver's mind! National cycling trail – part open – from Wadduwa to Koggala – 240km, easily tackled in bite-sized pieces, 20-30km. Ancient Cities of Polonnaruwa & Anuradhapura. Mountain range trail from Kandy – tough- quality mountain bikes needed. Ella – sleepy village in the Hill country with spectacular views of waterfalls, Tea, spice and rubber plantations. Hanwella – Mountain biking in the hilly countryside of the Western Province . Cycling days are best begun early before the heat of the day.

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Hot Air Balloon Rides Sri Lanka

•  Imagine floating over some of Sri Lanka's dramatically varied landscape ranging from the ancient cities of the Cultural Triangle (such as SIGIRIYA ) to the wonders of the UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK (how else do you get to see the elephants from above?!) Hot Air Ballooning is a relatively new activity to Sri Lanka , but in response to the ongoing search for new and exciting ways of seeing the country, it provides a remarkable experience never to be forgotten. With no two flight paths the same, it really will be a unique journey.

All hot air balloons are manufactured in the UK , where balloon pilots are also trained by instructors licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka. Throughout the flight, an experienced ground crew (following the flight path in a jeep) are in constant communication with the pilot of the balloon, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. So all you need to do is relax, enjoy the peace and quiet and admire the views of Sri Lanka !

N.B. Hot Air Ballooning is dependant on weather conditions so the best season for flying is October to April when light winds and lack of rain prevail.

The deluxe basket carries up to sixteen passengers plus the pilot, and has padding and handles.

Mountain Trekking / Hiking
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Trekking & hiking is a delightful way to experience the different landscapes, fascinating plants, birds and other wild life of this enchanting Paradise Island Sri Lanka on foot. The possibilities are endless such as an easy trek across gently undulating hills at an elevation around 2500 meters above sea level, passing tiny hamlets and farms and hiking and camping adventure in the seldom visited forest of the Knuckles Range. Our highly recommended walk across the grassy Horton plains, through the dramatic escarpment, known as world's end is done at a gently pace. Another perfect way of seeing the country side, is listening to the sound of birds and insects or the cascading of a nearby waterfall, while enjoying the flavour of flowers or watching saree clad tea pickers is by going hiking or trekking.

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