Sinharaja, translated as the Lion Kingdom, is the unique area of primary tropical rain forest. About 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are endangered and rare.
The forest is located in remote Sri Lankan lowland Eco region, that was fortunate to escape commercial logging due to limited accessibility. In 1978 it became a biosphere reserve and shortly after a World Heritage Site in 1988.
The reserve is only 21 km from east to west and about 7 km from north to south. Despite its relatively small size, it is home to many unique insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and animals.
Three elephants and about 15 leopards have been registered in the park. The most easy-to-spot animals are a purple-faced langur, giant squirrel, dusky-stripped jungle squirrel, and badger mongoose. Endemic green pit viper and hump-nosed vipers are there as well as many tree frogs. About 20 out of 26 Sri Lanka endemic rainforest birds can be seen in the park, like red-faced malkoha and blue magpie.
The Reserve can be easily reached from hotels on the west coast or from Colombo. Lush and dense plants make the spotting of animals not an easy task but it really shows how a rainforest is supposed to look like,
The reserve offers two nature trails to explore Sinharaja Rain Forest—to the peak of Sinhagala and the peak of Moulawella. Both trails begin at Kudawa Conservation Centre (KCC) and each one stretches out for about 2.5 km.
The Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve is affected by the south-west monsoons from May to July, and by the northeast monsoons between October and mid-January. Thus, the best time to to plan a hike in the area is January–April and August–September.