Muthurajawela is a marsh land sanctuary situated very close to Colombo International Airport, at the southern edge of the Negombo lagoon. It is located about 30 km north of Colombo city. The protected area covers approximately 6,000 hectares, inclusive of the Negombo lagoon. Muthurajawela is the largest saline coastal peat bog in Sri Lanka. In the densely populated west of Sri Lanka Muthurajwela is a surprisingly untouched coastal ecosystem. Muthurajawela harbours over 194 species of Flora distributed over 66 families of seven major vegetation types which includes marsh, lactic flora, shrub land, reed, swamp, grasslands, stream bank and mangrove forest. 15 amphibian species, 32 reptile species and 34 mammal species occur in this sanctuary. Sri Lanka’s largest snake, the Python, is native in this wetland. Of the many species of birds, butterflies and fish some are endemic in Sri Lanka. Average annual prepipation in this northern part of Sri Lanka’s tropical wet zone is 2000-2500mm.
Sinharaja rain forest
Kanneliya small rain forest
Pinnawela elephant orphanage
Dry zone south
Yala NP camping-safari
Bundala NP bird watching
Kumana NP birds and wildlife
Okanda village life and beach
Rufus Kulam remote lake
Lahugala NP with heritage site
Gal Oya NP lakeside wildlife
Udawalawe NP wild elephants
Ussangoda serpentine rock
Dry zone north
Minneriya NP elephant gathering
Kaudulla NP elephant gathering
Habarana oxcart excursions
Nelumpure authentic village life
Mihintale ancient sanctuary
Namal Uyana ironwood sanctuary
Rasvehera monastery and wildlife
Tabbowe lake near Wilpattu NP
Horton Plains trekking hotspot
Bambarakanda 240 m waterfall
Adam's Peak pilgrim mountain
Hakgala Botanical Garden
Kitulgala white water and birds
Peradeniya Botanical Garden
Meemure village life and trekking
Knuckles Range trekking highlight
Randenigala NP alternative camp
You can find a similar linklist with images just below:
Muthurajawela is not a large natural reserve, but really worth a visit, particularly for those who spend their holidays in Negombo or have to stay a few days in the Colombo area. It is a good place to start your nature exploration in Sri Lanka after arriving at the nation’s most important airport.
The Muthurajawela sanctuary can be explored by boat rides only. The boat trip will also lead you to the lagoon and to the bordering mangroves.
One attraction in itself is this amphibic landscape, the transitional area between land and water and between fresh water and open sea. The daily high tide brings in seawater from the ocean into the wetland. Continuous mixing of these two waters leaves a brackish ecosystem that is biologically diverse.
Muthurajawela is a refuge for water birds, migrant as well as breeding flocks, in this western part of Sri Lanka usually densely built over by the outskirts of Colombo. Thus, Muthurajawela wetlands are good for bird watching in particular. Bird species that can be seen here include egrets, purple herons, lesser whistling ducks, moorhens and four species of kingfishers.
Most visitors will not spot crocodiles here, but you have best chances to observe water monitors (Varanus salvator) of almost the same size as crocodiles. And you will not miss the toque monkeys.
name and legend
By the way, many guests have difficulties to pronounce this Sinhalese name “Muthurajawela” as it seems to be endlessly long. But it is simple, it consists of three words “muthu” for “pearl”, “raja” for “king” and “wela” for “land”, each of these words is stressed on the first syllable. The syllable “ra” is stressed most. You will pronounce the whole name correctly even if you only stress this “ra”.
The name “pearl-king-land” refers to a local legend of a perl treasure hidden here by a king. But we are not sure we will be able to show you those pearls.
Sightseeinglanka is a tour operator based in Sri Lanka and 100% owned by Sri Lankans, specialized on organizing eco-friendly and extraordinary safari and authentic Sri Lanka village-life experiences - truly no tourism industry fake! Kapila, founder and leader of Team Sightseeinglanka, is a biologist. Please read more...
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