One of the most important natural habitats in Sri Lanka, Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a biodiversity hotspot of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO. According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Sinharaja is the country's last viable area of primary tropical rainforest.
More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare.
This narrow strip of undulating terrain encompasses a series of ridges and valleys that are crisscrossed by an intricate network of streams. The rich and diversely dense forest setting is home to over 280 species of birds. There is much endemic wildlife, especially birds, but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians that includes leopard , Indian elephant , endemic purple-faced Langur , Sri Lanka wood pigeon, green-billed Coucal, Sri Lanka white-headed starling, Sri Lanka blue magpie, ashy-headed babbler and Sri Lanka broad-billed roller. The value of Sinharaja as a natural World Heritage site continues to be recognized by the discovery of several endemic species of plants and animals since the declaration of this forest as a world heritage in 1988. Some of the recent discoveries include several species of herpetofauna that are restricted to the eastern region of Sinharaja.
Green-Billed Coucal, Red-Faced Malkoha, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Rufous Babbler, Ceylon Hill Mynah, Ashy-Headed Laughingthrush, White-Headed Starling, Yellow-Fronted Barbet, Spot-Winged Thrush, Scaly Thrush, Ceylon Jungle Fowl, Ceylon Spur Fowl, Crimson-Backed Woodpecker, Ceylon Crested Drongo, La yard’s Parakeet, Ceylon Green Pigeon, Ceylon Lorikeet, Serendib Stops Owl, Ceylon Bay Owl, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Chestnut Backed Owlet, Ceylon Frogmouth, Legge’s Flower pecker, Scimitar Babbler, Ceylon Trogon, Black Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagles, Hawk Eagles, Crested Honey Buzzard and many more.
The three entrances to Forest Reserve are (1) the Kudawa entrance, which is the main and most used, (2) the Pitadeniya entrance, and (3) the least-used Morning Side entrance.
The rain forest is not suitable for vehicle tours, so be prepared to walk.
Each group entering the forest from the two principal entrances is required to take a local guide. These men and women are recruited from neighbouring villages and undergo training with the Forest Department.
Wear sturdy boots and long trousers to protect against leeches and snakes.
Park Open : Open Throughout the year
Best Season : Except May - June
Main Attraction : Avifauna, Reptiles
Shortest Route : Fly to Colombo & drive to Sinharaja
Nearby : Mirissa (85 km), Bundala (90 km), Kalametiya (105 km), Yala (118 km)
Province : Southern Province
Area : 88.64 sq. km
Altitude: 000 - 1,170 m
Vegetation : Tropical lowland rainforest
Major City: Galle (85 km)
Airport : Galle (85 km)
Railway Station :
Colombo : 160 km