The best way to experience nature in its absolute purest form is by trekking through a rainforest. And Sri Lanka is one of the best places to experience the beauty and mystery of rainforests. With over 70% of Sri Lanka’s endemic plants and animals found and supported by its rainforests, these dense ecoregions influenced by the island's monsoon seasons harbor a wealth of exotic flora and fauna, stunning greenery, and thriving wildlife. And these tall forest covers are all declared protected regions. Therefore, adventure seekers are always attracted by the unspoiled rainforest scenery of Sri Lanka.
Home to over 60% of endemic plants of Sri Lanka and about 95% of endemic birds such as Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Yellow-fronted Barbet, and Green-billed Coucal, it is said that Sinharaja is a heaven for any nature and wildlife enthusiast. With an abundance of reptiles, colorful amphibians, mammals, breathtaking butterflies, soaring waterfalls, and numerous picturesque trekking trails, you can hike your way through the diversity of life. Named a UNESCO natural world heritage site, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and a Biodiversity Hotspot by IUCN, Sinharaja Rainforest is not just a fascinating trekking destination but also an ecoregion that is of global importance. Trekking through stunning trails of hills, slopes, and flat land through centuries-old trees that house familiar and unfamiliar wildlife amidst cascading waterfalls and shimmering water streams will leave you in awe! Even though the ideal time to explore Sinharaja is January to March and August to September, the weather in the forest is highly unpredictable. You could go from bright calm weather to heavy downpours in no time. The unpredictability of the weather or the difficulty of the trails however, stops no thrill-seeker from exploring this green paradise. But carrying a raincoat and wearing leech socks will certainly give those adventurous feet some comfort. While there is an overwhelming amount of exploration you could do in the Sinharaja rainforest, the main trails are as below. North entrance: Entering from Kudava Conservation Center entrance, a walk along the forest trail and a climb to the summit of the Sinhagala or the Mulawella peaks will give you a breathtaking view of the Sinharaja rainforest from above. While the Mulawella trail is an extensive hike that would take about 5-7 hours, the Sinhagala trail would take about 3-4 hours. South entrance: From the Galle district and Matara district entrances, you can trek to several waterfalls, including one of the most beautiful in Sri Lanka, Duwili Ella falls. No matter which trail you choose to take, the surreal biodiversity and the jaw-dropping landscapes in the calm wilderness of Sinharaja will leave you awestruck, and we could never say enough to do justice to what Sinharaja Rainforest holds.
One of the most promising wilderness areas left in the southern region of Sri Lanka, the Kanneliya rainforest is a watershed area for Nilwala Ganga and Gin Ganga rivers and is the home to many endemic species. Hike through trails covering hills, valleys, and flat land adorned with unique flora and fauna, canopies of trees of varying sizes and shapes, endemic wildlife, glistening water streams, and natural pools. The density of biodiversity in Kanneliya rainforest cannot be explored enough. However, if we are to point out what you shouldn’t miss out on, they would be the gushing Anagimale falls bounded around large rocks, the pleasing Narangas falls, the gangling ancient creeper, and the gigantic Nevada tree. Only second to Sinharaja, Kanneliya is also marked as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
Even though Kithulgala is known for its adventure water sports, the rainforest in Kithulgala cannot be overlooked. Trek through the wet slippery tracks of dense forest, catch a glimpse of a few of the endemic birds and other bird species, immerse in the beauty of the abundance of flora and fauna, and cool off by taking a dip in the natural pools of waterfalls and charming streams. Kithulgala rainforest has it all and more. If you are visiting Kithulgala to feed your adventurous soul with some water sports activities, don’t forget to engulf in all the natural scenic beauty the Kithulgala rainforest has to offer. So, trek through these natural treasure troves to appreciate nature in its absolute bliss!