Exploring the Wilderness in Kalutara

Places to visit in Kalutara - Citrus Waskaduwa

Kalutara is a beautiful city located on the coastline of the Western province in Sri Lanka. A commercial city surrounded by many breathtaking sights such as cultural landmarks as well as beaches, it is a locale that stands out on any itinerary. 

There are quite a few hotels near Kalutara for you to choose from as a tourist for an easy and convenient stay that will grant you easy access to some great attractions. 

But Kalutara isn’t just a site for beaches. Here is a list of some amazing places for you to explore wilderness and nature on your next visit to Kalutara.

Runakanda Rain Forest

The Runakanda rain forest is a wilderness and nature site sitting adjacent to the Sinharaja rain forest, Sri Lanka’s major rainforest ecosystem. Because of this proximity, Runakanda boasts a comparable biodiversity to Sinharaja. Filled with the abundant greens and fresh waters characteristic to the lowland wet zone, Runakanda also boasts much wildlife, from birds, aquatic life to mammals like wild cats, barking deer and even rare endemic species such as the Red Loris. 

Kukule Ganga and Makeliya Falls

A smaller tributary that connects to the larger Kuda Ganga and ultimately the Kalu Ganga before cascading into the ocean at Kalutara, Kukule Ganga is home to Makeliya Falls. A waterfall about 10 meters tall, Makeliya falls is surrounded by gradually eroded granite that has carved out a series of pools and rock slates as the Kukule Ganga meanders its ways to the sea. While a new water treatment project prevents bathing in the pool below the falls, the views of the waterfall itself are breathtaking and sure to captivate many a visitor.

Pahuru Kanda Temple

This small mountain temple is one of the few sites around the island commonly nicknamed ‘Little Adams Peak’ due to its location atop the small mountain named Pahuru Kanda. The rock path heading up the path wanders through a small jungle affording gorgeous vistas at the very top of the climb. The wooded mountain also grants a lot of shade along the way and is a perfect bite-sized trek that will connect you with both nature and history. 

Hidden Cascades at Athwelthota

The Athwelthota locale in Kalutara is home to quite a few small, almost hidden waterfalls and cascades that only a few tourists know about. Frequented usually by local visitors, these hidden waterfalls are quiet and calm enough for you to bathe in one of the many pools that the cascades splash into. The footpaths to the waterfalls are tranquil and surrounded by verdant green trees. The more well-known of the waterfalls at Athwelthota is Kabaragoi Ella which is quite near the next attraction on our list.

Ahas Bōkkuwa Bridge and Ella

Ahas Bōkkuwa, meaning sky bridge, is an old arch bridge said to have been built in the time of World War I and is also near the Ahas Bōkkuwa Ella, standing at a height of about 30 meters and deriving its name from the nearby bridge. The water is a series of cascades over an almost sheer rock face, forming small curtains of water that flow along a shallow rock face at the bottom.

Thotaha Ella

This waterfall, also known as Thotas Ella, stands at a height of 11 meters, thus making the shallow pool at the bottom of the waterfall perfect for bathing. While the site is still relatively hidden from tourists, it is quite popular with local visitors who frequent the waterfall on weekends, especially during the rainy season when the falls swell up with the bounteous rain. The path to the waterfall also lies close to a small hermitage, making this waterfall quite the hidden gem.

Place: Ahas Bōkkuwa Bridge
Image Credits: Dulithk via Instagram