Often regarded among Sri Lanka’s top wildlife sanctuaries, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve is no ordinary tourist hotspot in the main island nation. There are many excellent places to stay around Sinharaja Rain Forest. Hotels such as Rainforest Ecolodge and many others are packed during peak season due to the popularity of this last remaining tropical rainforest in the paradise isle. Occupying the south-western region of the country the forest reserve is home to nearly half of endemic species in the country including insects, amphibians, butterflies and rare mammals. An impressive 60% of the plant life in the area is also known to be indigenous to the island.

Spread out across a vast area of nearly 8864 hectares the landscapes of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve are placed at a varying altitude which ranges from 300m above sea level to 1170m. Safari enthusiasts heading to the sanctuary hope to catch a glimpse of the many endemic mammals occupying the leafy confines of the rainforest. In addition to elephants, leopards and purple-faced Langurs are among the most coveted sights for visitors exploring the reserve’s many nature trails. A virtual haven for bird watching enthusiasts as well, some of the endemic winged beauties that call the area home include the Sri Lankan blue magpie, Sri Lankan wood pigeon, broad-billed rollers and white-headed starlings to name a few. Hiking fans can also climb up the three peaks contained within the parkland named Mulawella, Sinhagala and Pinipitigala and enjoy the views.

The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is unfortunately the only evergreen rainforest in the country but the area’s pristine environment and breathtaking beauty remains a draw for conservationists and tourists alike. Recognized as a world heritage site, the area was also declared a Biosphere Reserve by none other than UNESCO in the late 1980’s. The national park whose name literally translated to Lion Kingdom has been preserved due to efforts by the local authorities and conservationists alike that prevented the illegal logging which was destroying the bio-diversity of the area as well as infringing on the habitats of its inhabitant wildlife species in decades past.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+