Sinharaja Forest Reserve in southwest Sri Lanka is the island’s last remaining area of primary tropical rainforest, and as a result the area was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988. Often overlooked in classic tours, Sinharaja is an incredible narrow strip of undulating and undisturbed land that is home to over 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species. Its steamy and thick atmosphere is a treasure-trove of soaring trees alive with unusual insects, amphibians, reptiles and rare birds; including the luminous blue magpie. If you are very lucky you may get to witness one of the world’s finest examples of a “mixed feeding species flock’’, otherwise known as a bird wave, where hundreds of different species of bird can be seen flying and foraging together.
The reserve is also home to some beautiful mammals such as the purple-faced langur monkey, the dusky-striped jungle squirrel, as well as leopard, rusty spotted cat, fishing cat and civit (although cats are rarely spotted).
The area is definitely best explored with a professional guide. During the rainier months this area is not for the faint hearted as accommodation is simple and the forest can become laden with leeches.
Sinharaja is a wildlife enthusiast’s haven and is approximately a four-hour drive from Colombo or from Galle.