Sinharaja Rain Forest

Sinharaja Forest Reserve and national park is a Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hilly virgin rain forest mostly escaped commercial logging because of its inaccessibility. Measuring about 21 km wide and 7 km from north to south and with an elevation ranging from 300 m to almost 1200 meters, the reserve is a treasure of native species including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. It is located in south-central Sri Lanka, due east of Bentota and due north of Matara. About 3 elephants and 15 leopards live in the reserve. Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not easily seen but the birds are often observed in noisy mixed flocks. The visitor needs to be aware of leeches but the guides will suggest various preventative measures.

There are several bungalows available for visitors on the border of the reserve plus several village houses located along the southern border of the reserve – from Beverly Estate to Warukandeniya. All government accommodation has to be booked with the Forest Department. It may be possible to book estate bungalows also located along the boundary of the reserve. Staying in village houses is fun and exciting though the facilities are minimal. One should plan to work with a local guide to arrange a suitable village/house for accommodation.

There are two main nature trails in the rain forest. The Moulawella trail and the Sinhagala Trail. Both of these nature trails begin at the Kudawa Conservation Centre (KCC) and are equally enjoyable. The Entrance fee to the reserve is 1160 SLR and a Guide is 1500 SLR. You can reach the entrance to the Reserve from Deniyaya by bus from Deniyaya to Mederipitiya. 20 SLR is the cost of the ride. From there it is 3 km walk to the entrance.