Sinharaja Rain Forest

Sinharaja Rain Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the last viable remnant of Sri Lanka’s tropical lowland rainforest spanning an area of 18900 acres is located within Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces of the south-west lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka. Sinharaja is bounded by rivers on three sides. On the north, Sinharaja is bounded by the Napola Dola and Koskulana Ganga. On the south and south-west are the rivers Maha Dola and Gin Ganga. On the west are the river Kalukandawa Ela and river Kudawa Ganga. To the east of Sinharaja is an ancient footpath near Beverley Tea Estate and by the Denuwa Kanda.

Reaching Sinharaja Rain Forest

From Northern or western parts of the country you can reach Sinharaja Forest Reserve via Ratnapura, Kiriella, Kalawana, Weddala. From the South you can enter Sinharaja Rain Forest from Deniyaya. Coming form Hambantota, Udawalawe you can enter Sinharaja from Rakwana side.

Area of Sinharaja Rain Forest

The total area of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve is 18,900 acres or 7,648 hectares. It ranges in altitude from 300m to 1,170m.

Significance of Sinharaja Forest

SiThe Sinharaja Forest reserve is alsoome to over 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians.

Establishment of Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Most of the area of Sinharaha forest was originally declared a forest reserve under the Waste Lands Ordinance in 1875. In 1978, Sinharaja Rain Forest was included in the international network of biosphere reserves, established and maintained as part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program. In October 1988, this reserve, together with a northeastern extension of it, was declared Sri Lanka’s first National Wilderness Heritage Area. In December 1988, the Sinharaja Biosphere Reserve became Sri Lanka’s first natural site to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Climate on Sinharaja Rain Forest

Meteorological records gathered from in and around Sinharaja over the last 60 years reveal the annual rainfall of Sinharaja Forest has ranged between 3614mm to 5006mm and temperatures from 19°C to 34°C. The highest rainfall is owing to two monsoons: south-west monsoons during May-July and the northeast monsoons during November-January.

Physical features

Sinharaja Rain Forest is a narrow strip of undulating terrain consists of a series of ridges and valleys drained by an intricate network of streams, which flow into the Gin Ganga on the southern boundary and Kalu Ganga, via the Napola Dola, Koskulana Ganga and Kudawa Ganga, on the northern boundary.

Nature trails of Sinharaja Rain Forest

The two main nature trails of Sinharaja Rain Forest are those lead to the peak of Moulawella and the peak of Sinhagala. Both of these nature trails begins at Kudawa Conservation Centre (KCC) are equally enjoyable and enlightening. The forest is densly crowded with tall trees growing in close proximity, but winding trails make the trekking. Small streams of crystal-clear cool water, that is home to a variety of fish, toads and crabs, crisscross the trails. And the mixed species of birds are seen in the canopy of the woods.

Sinhagala Nature Trail

Trail head: Entrance to the protected area, Kudawa Conservation Centre, Weddagala, Kalawana Trail end: Sinhagala Peak Length of the trail: 2.4 km Rise in elevation gain along the trail: 300m at Trail Head: 473m at Trail End Approximate time: 5-7 hours Hiking Season: Best months are December to April

Mulawella Nature Trail

Trail head: Entrance to the protected area, Kudawa Conservation Centre, Weddagala, Kalawana Trail end: Mulawella Peak Length of the trail: 2.4 km Rise in elevation along the trail: 457m at Trail Head to 758m at Trail End Approximate time: 1-2 hours Hiking Season: Best months are December to April

Birdlife in Sinharaja Rain Forest

Sinharaja Rain Forest is home to numerous indigenous birds such asthe Ceylon Hanging Parrot (Loriculus beryllinus), the Ceylon Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis), the Ashy-headed Laughing Thrush (Garrulax cinereifrons), Layard’s parakeet (Psittacula calthripae), the Jungle fowl (Gallus lafayetii ), the Spur fowl (Galloperdix bicalcarata), the Ceylon Wood Pigeon (Columba torringtonii), the Brown- capped Babbler (Pellorneum fuscocapillum), the Red-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus) and the Ceylon Blue Magpie (Urocissa ornate) among others, are prominent in this area.

19 of Sri Lanka’s 20 species of endemic bird species in Sri Lanka are found in the Sinharaja Reserve Among the endangered birds are Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Green-Billed Coucal, Sri Lankan white-headed starling, Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Caucal, Sri Lanka Spur fowl Sri Lankan Blue Magpie, and Ashy-headed Babbler, all of which are endemic.

Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Butterflies

Out of 12 endemic mammal species of the country 8 are found here. Giant squirrel, dusky-stripped jungle squirrel, badger mongoose and endemic purple-faced leaf monkey and torque macaque are frequently seen.

Many threatened species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies are found in the Reserve including the leopard. Endemism among mammals and butterflies is greater than 50%. Reptiles and amphibia include python, endemic green pit viper, endemic hump nosed lizard (Lyriocephalus scutatus) and rough-nose horned lizard (Ceratophora aspera).

Conservation Value Sinharaja

Conservation Value Sinharaja is the last extensive primary lowland tropical rain forest in Sri Lanka. It holds a large number of endemic species of plants and animals, and a variety of plants of known benefit to man. Sinharaja Forest Reserve is the last viable remnant of Sri Lanka’s tropical lowland rain forest; over 60% of the trees are endemic and many of these are rare; and there are 21 endemic bird species, and a number of rare insects, reptiles and amphibians (IUCN Technical Evaluation).

The long-term success of conserving Sinharaja depends upon the sustainable development of its buffer and peripheral zones through a participatory approach emphasizing the involvement of local people. Construction of hotels on peripheral zones and constructions of roads over the protected areas are bound to result in irrecoverable damages to this world heritage site.

Entrances in Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve

Sinharaja Forest Kurulugala Entrance

This entrance is situated about 12.8 km away from the center of Deniyaya. You can walk along different trails. One of ideal places in Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve for bird watching and butterfly watching. Because of average elevation is about 1000 m and Rakwana mountains are situated next to this area, you can see high biodiversity here. Fascinating waterfalls, Southern plains and Kurulugala mountain peak are the main destinations in Kurulugala entrance. Newest one among all entrances in Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve.

Sinharaja Forest Pitadeniya Entrance

This entrance is situated about 15 km away from the center of Deniyaya. Kekuna Ella waterfall, pathan oya waterfall and hanging bridge in pitadeniya conservation center are the main destinations. One of most active entrances over the years.

Sinharaja Forest Lankagama Entrance

This entrance is situated about 18.5 km away from the center of Deniyaya. Possible to see six waterfalls in very short time of period. This entrance is very popular among local tourists. A road to Lions Rock from Lankagama Entrance was built very recently.

Sinharaja Forest Morningside Entrance

This entrance is situated about 40 km away from the center of Deniyaya.

Sinharaja Forest Kudawa Entrance

This entrance is situated about 95 km away from the center of Deniyaya.

About Galle District

Galle is a city situated on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km from Colombo.Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and south Asian traditions. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

Galle is a sizeable town, bySri Lankan standards, and has a population of 91,000, the majority of whom are of Sinhalese ethnicity. There is also a large Sri Lankan Moor minority, particularly in the fort area, which descend from Arab merchants that settled in the ancient port of Galle.

About Southern Province

The Southern Province of Sri Lanka is a small geographic area consisting of the districts of Galle, Matara and Hambantota. Subsistence farming and fishing is the main source of income for the vast majority of the people of this region.

Important landmarks of the Southern Province include the wildlife sanctuaries of the Yala and Udawalawe National Parks, the holy city of Kataragama, and the ancient cities of Tissamaharama, Kirinda and Galle. (Although Galle is an ancient city, almost nothing survives from before the Portuguese invasion.) During the Portuguese period there were two famous Sinhalese poets called Andare who was from Dickwella and Gajaman Nona who was from Denipitiya in Matara District, composing poems on common man.