Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve
Designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, the reserve’s name translates to ‘Lion Kingdom’. Sinharaja Rainforest is located in the South’s interior, easily accessible from Galle. Classified as primary lowland tropical rainforest it has a treasure trove of endemic species in birds, flowers, butterflies, snakes, frogs, dragonflies, plants, insects, reptiles, mammals, amphibians and more. The rainforest is of particular interest to avid bird watchers; of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic birds, 20 rainforest species can only be found within this rainforest, including the elusive red-faced malkoha, green-billed coucal and the Sri Lankan blue magpie. The rainforest has three entrances and a number of trails and waterfalls. The reserve is bordered by local villages to the south and a handful of large estates along the north. For generations, local people trekked through the forest from south to north to make their annual pilgrimage to Adams Peak. Local residents can often be seen collecting edible fruits, nuts, mushrooms and honey and a sugary sap collected from a local palm species which is converted into jaggery.