Tropical dreams are never complete without a dose of jungle extravaganza. That’s why at Sri Lanka Travel Advices we aspire to take you only to the best of the island’s fascinating wildlife destinations. This is where you’ll find Asia’s finest forest escapades and simply unrivaled wildlife diversity. Fall in love with forays into the most exciting wildlife stops including Yala National Park, the Horton Plains and beautiful Uda Walawe. But if pristine rain forest is what speaks to your heart, then the Sinharaja rain forest is the just the place for you.
Dramatic, sheltered and utterly captivating, the Sinharaja rain forest is Sri Lanka’s final patch of pure rain forest. The forest is a sprawling sea of trees and pristine wildlife covering a major part of the island’s south-west lowland wet zone. The Sinharaja supplies a generous quantity of the island’s natural resources. That includes rare medicinal herbs and unique biodiversity. Much of the flora and fauna you’ll find here are endemic while several even possess unique healing properties.
The Sinharaja Rain Forest is ringed in by the Koskuluna river on the north and the Kalukandawa Ela and Kudawa Ganga on the west. Tea plantations and the Denuwa mountain make up the eastern wall.
If you’re getting here from the north or the east, simply take the road from Ratnapura and through Kiriella, Kalawana and Weddala . To get to the reserve from the south, you’ll have to take the road from Deniya. If you’re coming from Hambantota or Udawalawe, you can enter the forest through Rakwana.
A quiet terrain of dense vegetation and curious habitats, this wildlife reserve plays home to the most interesting plant and animal life. Explore endless ridges and beautiful valleys where tropical perfection is at its finest. Silver streams criss-cross these wet ever-green lowlands while birds and butterflies roam the forest canopies above.
Sinharaja Rain Forest generally sees a lot of rain, especially during the monsoon seasons in May-July and November-January. You’ll also find two main nature trails here, both of which cover a wide expanse of the forest’s loveliest reaches. Wildlife spotting can be a bit of a challenge, with the densely packed trees and vegetation all around you. But with a little patience, you’re sure find an amazing wealth of animal life buzzing all around and above you.
There are two main trails you can enjoy here. The Sinhagala hiking trail starts at Kalawana and stretches along a good 2.4 Km of scenic beauty before ending at the SInhagala Peak. Try to come here sometime between December and April when the flowers are in full bloom and the forest is at its loveliest. The hike is fairly easy and will take about 6 hours to complete.
The second trail, the Mulawella Nature Trail also begins at Kalawana, takes you 2.4 Km through the heart of the wild before culminating at the Mulawella Peak. This hike is easy to complete and will only take you about a couple of hours.
There’s a breathtaking variety of endemic animal species to be found in this forest. Exotic creatures such as the purple-faced leaf monkey, striped jungle squirrel and badger mongoose haunt the canopies above, while countless endangered bird species build homes on these tree tops. If you’re quiet enough and you might even get lucky to spot a few of the forest’s elusive leopards. The rivulets and streams at the Sinharaja Rain Forest are home to numerous species of crabs, toads and exotic fish varieties.
Watch out for the hungry pythons and large reptiles that hound the forest floors, and keep your camera ready while on the go! Endemic reptile varieties to see here include the hump nosed lizard, the rough-nose homed lizard and also the incredible green pit viper. Sinharaja is also a bird lover’s paradise with swarms of these feathery beauties constantly flying over your head. A few endangered birds to see here include the Green-Billed Coucal, Sri Lanka wood pigeon and the Ref-faced Malkoha.
Today, the Sinharaja Rain Forest is an ardently preserved World Heritage Site. De-forestation and enterprising have taken its toll on the beauty of this beloved destination, but hope still continues in raising awareness and halting enterprising activities around the forest.