Sri Lanka's World Heritage Site No. 4 - Sinharaja
The Sinharaja region has long featured in the legends. Its name literally means “lion-king”, however, there are no legends about a king of the lions. More probably, the name refers not to the animal but to the “lion race”, the Sinhalese.
Sinharaja is a forested mountain range in the south-western part of Sri Lanka, located in the southernmost area of Sabaragamuwa Province, right at the border to the Southern Province. The western part of the range, consisting of a series of ridges and valleys, is the island's last large area of undisturbed primary tropical rainforest. The total area of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve is 7,648 hectares. It ranges in altitude from 300m to 1,170m. Annual rainfall of Sinharaja Forest ranges between 3614 mm to 5006 mm. Besides the western slopes of Adam’s Peak, Sinharaja is the area of highest annual precipitation in Sri Lanka.
The vegetation of Sinharaja is tropical lowland rain forest or tropical wet evergreen forest. More than 60% of the trees in the Forest Reserve are endemic and many of them are considered rare. Sinharaja is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of birds, mammals and butterflies and many rare amphibians and reptiles, including the rarest of all agamids of Sri Lanka, the Rough-nose Horned Lizard.
In December 1988, the Sinharaja Biosphere Reserve became Sri Lanka’s first natural site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The area of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve is managed by the Divisional Forest Officer from the Forest Department.
This website includes a description of Sinharaja’s biodiversity on a separate Sinharaja page here...
Here are some notes for travellers:
There are three access points to Sinharaja forest. The easiest route from Colombo is via Matugama and Weddagala and will enter the forest through Kudawa entrance, which is located at northwestern edge of the forest. Kudawa is the name of the Forest Department’s camp, too. The second entrance is from the south, via Deniyaya, and will enter the Forest Reserve through Pitadeniya Entrance, close to the Pitadeniya conservation Resource center. Another route from Deniyaya will enter Sinharaja through the so-called Morning Side Entrance at eastern side of the forest.
The three most pupular trails start from Kudawa Conservation centre. They are called Mulawella Trail, Wathurawa Trail and Sinhagala Trail.
Team Sightseeinglanka is an expert for exploring the Sinharaja Rain Forest. Besides trekking in the sanctuary, we additionally offer village life experiences just at the borders of the Forest Reserve.
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