Sinharaja Rain Forest
A world heritage site (Nature)Sri Lanka’s most beautiful and the biggest rain forest is situated close to Ratnapura and is between the villages of Rakwana, Deniyaya and Matugama. A variety of indigenous plants and animals, flowing rivers and silent streamlets cover up nearly 9800 hectares. Out of a total of 830 indigenous flowering plants in the Island Sinharaja has nearly 500 plants and out of 21 native bird species in the country 17 species have made Sinharaja their home. There is no end to what may be discovered during a rainforest exploration in Sri Lanka. The awe-inspiring experience cannot be described in any words, you have to experience it!
Kanneliya Forest Reserve
Situated 35km Northeast of Galle it covers total of about 5305.9 ha and core unit of the Kanneliya forest reserve is about 5108.2ha. Several waterways, waterfalls, rivers and small waterways. There are high proportion of endemism among the 234 identified woody tree species, with 141 being endemic to Sri Lanka. The trail to Kabbale bing down to the “Anagimale” water fall and winding through the forest along an abandoned logging trail back to the conservation centre. Unless the trail is very dry. Be prepared for leaches.
Reservations of dormitory accommodation through the Dept. of Wild Life/ Dept of Forestry
Hiyare Reservoir Rain Forest
One of the most beautiful stretches of rainforest in Sri Lanka is the rainforest bordering the Hiyare Reservoir, about 18km (approximately half an hour drive) from Galle. The Hiyare Rainforest is an extension of the Kottawa Khombala Forest Reserve. This stretch of rainforest is scenically situated around the Hiyare Reservoir. Thanks to the Gall Municipal Council’s Kottawa have superb and easy access to rainforests The word Hiyare originates from an expression which means a hundred streams. Over thirty species of freshwater fish have been recorded by the Wildlife Conservation Society in the rainforest streams of which several are endemic.
(South Asia’s largest Rose Pink Quartz mountain range) Steeped in history and legend it is situated about 160 km North of Colombo in the picturesque hamlet of Ulpathgama Galkiriyagama in the Anuradhapura district. According to folklore pink quartz from this unique mountain was used to build India’s Taj Mahal. The large number of Na trees (Iron Wood)in the vicinity (from which it has derived the name)confirms that it had been a park from ancient times with a wealth of biodiversity. You may enjoy an arduous but enjoyable trek to the rose quartz range that winds through a shady landscape of green which looks ethereal during the flowering season (May-June) of the Na trees.
Established in 1963 by Sam Popham, a officer in the Royal Navy and later a tea planter, his method of planting was so special that it came to be known as the Popham Method. The land and the plains of the north east and south east were covered with semi evergreen forests. However due to clearing the land for chena cultivation (shifting cultivation), the area turned to scrub jungle. Mr. Popham selected a land cleared it of scrub jungle and released seedlings of them earlier evergreen forest.
At present the Arboretum is a haven for 70 species of evergreen and deciduous trees. You will see some of the finest trees Sri Lanka’s dry zone finest including the world’s only true Ebony. The forest’s hardwood timber trees, shrubs of medicinal value, fruiting and flowering trees provide the environmental habitat necessary for many species of mammals, birds. Butterflies, Reptiles , and amphibians to flourish in the arboretum.
Sixth century remains of the Arankele forest monastery and caves lie at a distance of 24km to the north of Kurunegala. It was inhaited by the Tapovana or forest-dwelling sect of austere Buddhist hermits, and the remains of these ruins include a large tantaghara (hot water-bath),long concrete mediating walkway through a wooded area, and a complete hospital.
This unique hospital contains a herb grinder and a large granite herbal bath at the centre carved out of stone with depressions still observable where the monks would have sat which are still well preserved. Arankale has become an archaeological site, a biological hotspot and a garden of medicinal plants subject to the changing character of nature. The sight takes you 800 years back, when Arhath Maliyadeva, the last Arhath of Sri Lanka, spent his time meditating at Arankale. If you are looking for a haven of peace and quietude-why not spend the day at Arankele. Its green sylvan surroundings will relax and refresh you completely.
For the keep hiker Sri Lanka’s mist covered mountain country offers fabulous opportunities. The mysterious Horton plains national park offers some excellent hikes in an unusual environment characterized by forest patches, grasslands and some high altitude vegetation. When climbing the picturesque Adam’s peak (Sri pada) you begin your ascent at night in order to arrive at the top witness the magical sunrise with the peak casting its mystic shadow on the cloud mountains below. The attractive area of Ella is renowned for its many walks including the Little Adams peak, Ella/rock and the Namunukula Mountain range. And if you are in the vicinity of Kandy, exploring the beautiful Knukles Range Heritage and wilderness area will simply take your breath away. The region stretches an impressive 155 sq.Km with five major forest formations, a wide variety of rare and endemic flora and fauna and mountain scenery. (Refer Eco-Team advert.)
Cycling and Mountain Biking
If you prefer to get abut on two wheels but aren’t so keep on struggling with uphill climbs, there are many interesting trails in the lowlands that take you through a beautiful landscape of tea, rubber and spice plantations. For those seeking more of challenge, hill country locations such as the Knuckles National Heritage and Wilderness area offer a number of steeper trails that are only suitable for more experienced cyclists. Whatever your experience and fitness level, the diversity of Sri Lanka has something for everyone who wants to take part in this exhilarating activity. (Refer Eco-Team advert.)
With 103 rivers and a wealth of swamps, lagoons and interconnected old canals, Sri Lanka provides no end of opportunities to try out this different and relaxing mode of transportation. The famous Kalu Ganga(aka Black River)flows from the heart of the island down to the west coast town of Kalutara where it finally meets the Indian Ocean. During a leisurely canoe trip down this beautiful river, canoeists can marvel at ever-chaging landscapes and a fascinating variety of flora and fauna. For an alternative to river canoeing, head to one of the country’s many vast tanks and reservoirs! The calm waters of the Samanalawewa reservoir in the Samanalawewa province provides an ideal setting for this slow-paced activity and with the area’s prolific birdlife and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, there’s no end of things to see as you paddle.( Refer Eco-Team advert.)
White Water Rafting
If canoeing sounds too tame and you’re looking for a more action-packed adventure on the water, why not go for a white water experience? This activity is great fun for first-timers and experts alike, with a wide range and grading of rapids on some of the island’s more turbulent waters such as the Kelani River. Kitulgala in the hill country, southwest of Kandy provides an ideal base from which many white water rafting trips take place. . ( Refer Eco-Team advert.)
Five of the eight species of remaining sea turtles today, regularly visit the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka to nest. In Sri Lanka all sea turtles and their products are fully protected under the fauna and flora Protection Ordinance. Anyone found to be violating the conditions of this Ordinance is liable to face a substantial fine and or prison term
Sea Turtles frequent the western coastline and areas famous for turtle watching. Which is a fascinating experience, are beaches around Induruwa and Kosgoda . Induruwa has a turtle Research Project and Kosgoda has a. Turtle Center, Conservation Project, Hatchery and a Research Centre as well.The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) was started in 1996 to protect sea turtles in their natural habitat while providing an alternative source of income to people formerly dependent on the illegal collecting of turtle eggs.
This fascinating activity is relatively new to Sri Lanka, but with an impressive range of caves located throughout the country, it’s an unusual experience not to be missed! Caing (Known to the expert as ‘speleology’) involves the exploration, surveying, mapping and photographing of caves. Batatotalena Cave at Sudagala is an incredible site where the skeletal remains of prehistoric man have been found and, Wavulpone Cave (aka ‘Cave of Bats’) is renowned for its beautiful stalactites and stalagmites and the hundreds of thousands of bats that live there! With some of these caves dating back approximately 500 million years, this is an adventure into the prehistoric facility. ( Refer Eco-Team advert.)
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Sri Lanka is becoming a major spot for watching whales and Dolphins. Dondra Point of down south in Sri Lanka is the main port of Whale Watching in Sri Lanka during December to April. Out of these months December, January and April are the peak month of sightings. During these months there is 95% chances of spotting Sperm Whales and great chances of spotting Blue Whales as their migration path is just off Dondra Point. Also there are good chances of spotting Spinner Dolphins also off Dondra. Ample of accommodation options are available as Dondra point can be reach easily from Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unawatuna, Weligama, Mirissa and Tangalle which are popular beach locations in Sri Lanka. Kalpitiya is the best places if you are interested in seeing Dolphins. During November to March is the best season to go Dolphin Watching off Kalpitiya. Kalpitiya is within an ambitious tourism development