Sinharaja Forest Reserve is situated in the south-west lowland of Sri Lanka, and is a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts. Trekking through nature trails here is a true adventure which will lead you through a great diversity of habitats and give you the opportunity to see various endemic flora and fauna species. This virgin tropical rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a Biosphere Reserve, and covers over 10,000 hectares. Sinharaja literally means ‘lion king’, and plays an important part in legends and folklore of Sri Lanka.
The reserve is surrounded by several rivers and streams and has an elevation that ranges from 200 m to 1300 m. With a rich and complex diversity of vegetation, it is no wonder that the forest has a variety of animals. Trekkers will be thrilled with the amazing array of bird life, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and trees that this reserve has to offer.
Common birds spotted here are Layard’s parakeet, the Jungle fowl, the Spur fowl, the Ceylon Wood Pigeon, the Brown capped Babbler and the Ceylon Blue Magpie. Other delights include the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Green Garden Lizard, Green Pit Viper, Sri Lankan Reed Frog, Golden Palm Civet, Greater Hourglass Tree Frog and a few fish species such as the Stone-sucker. These species are all endemic to Sri Lanka and just the tip of the iceberg of the vast range of fauna to be seen here.
Sinharaja is surrounded by several villages, which use forest resources to sustain their living for several generations. Villagers use jaggery as a sugar substitute, rattan and bamboo to produce baskets, and traditional plants for medicinal purposes.
We recommend staying at Boulder Gardens and Rainforest Edge – these hotels are situated close to the forest. Excursions to the forest include jeep safaris to the edge of the forest, followed by trekking safaris with a guide.