Exploring Tourism in Sri Lanka
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Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sinharaja, Sri Lanka


The famous Sinharaja Forest Reserve is known as a living heritage in Sri Lanka. 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.
Positioned close to Ratnapura, a city synonymous to being a sanctuary of gems, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve is spread across an area of about 19,000 hectares. Sinharaja, which means “Lion King” or “Kingdom of the Lion”, is a lowland rainforest.  In 1978, it was selected as a World Biosphere Reserve and in 1988 UNESCO declared the rainforest a World Heritage Site.
Although, Sinharaja may not be among the largest forest reserve in the world, its importance lies in the very fact that it is home to many endemic species.  Most trees that are found here are uncommon, and 60% of them are endemic.  This amazing forest is also famous for its birds and is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of some of the most beautiful birds in the region. There are 26 types of endemic birds found in Sri Lanka and 22 can be observed at Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The Red-Faced Malkoha, Spot-Winged Thrush, Pompadour Green-Pigeon and Malabar Pied-Hornbill are just to name a few.
The trees and birds are not the only factors that attract locals as well as international travellers to this stupendous forest reserve, it is also the extensive variety of butterflies, insects, endemic mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
The dense vegetation makes it quite difficult to spot larger mammals.  However, there is a good probability of seeing a wild boar, mongoose and barking deer. The most commonly seen large mammal is the purple-faced langur, which is a species of monkeys endemic to Sri Lanka. Among the animals that can be spotted rarely, are the fishing cats, leopards and porcupines. It is said that there is a black leopard or Panther at the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
Those who decide to go trekking at the forest will have to be on the lookout for the uncountable number of leeches! Due to the enormous amount of leeches found here, visitors are provided with leech-proof socks.
It will take an approximate drive time of four hours to reach Sinharaja from Colombo. Travellers will find that the drive to this remarkable rainforest is truly worth it because of the breathtaking hill country that can be witnessed on the way and the astonishing wildlife that can be viewed and explored at the forest.

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