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Updated by Pixie on Jul 10, 2018
Headline for A guide to Sinharaja Rainforest
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A guide to Sinharaja Rainforest

Sinharaja Rainforest, as designated by the UNESCO in 1988, is a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve. It is a national park and a well-known rainforest in Sri Lanka

1

Location

Location

It is located in the South-Western region of Sri Lanka and is the country’s last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. It borders three districts in the country; Galle, Matara and Ratnapura. It is about 130km away from Colombo; the metropolitan capital of Sri Lanka

2

History

History

Most rainforests all around the world are a result of the evolution of rainforests that have occurred over the past hundred to two hundred million years! It is important to mention that many million years ago, Sri Lanka and India were connected which later was separated by a land mass called the Decan plate; which separated Sri Lanka and India from the Southern hemisphere. Later on, the country drifted towards the equator, and as time passed, Sri Lanka eventually separates itself from the Decan plate due to changes in the sea water level. This occurrence resulted in many changes and adaptations with regards to the botanical and biological species.
At present, rainforests are localised to the southern part of Sri Lanka, in close proximity to the equator.

3

Necessities for a tropical rainforest

Necessities for a tropical rainforest

For a rainforest to strive well, it is mandatory to have bright sunlight, a heavy incidence of rainfall distributed across the year and have a high temperature for a humid region. Sinharaja forest is one of the very few rainforests around the world to fulfill these criteria.

4

Flora and Fauna

Flora and Fauna

The vegetation is very dense, consisting of trees, herbs, shrubs and seedlings. There are a little more than 200 types of tree species of which the majority are endemic.
There is a higher degree of endemism, especially with regards to the butterflies, fish, amphibians, birds and mammals. To date, about 280 species of birds have been recorded, out of which the majority are resident birds and the rest, migrants. The rare endemic birds to look out for are the Red-faced Malkoha and the Sri Lankan Blue Magpie, Green-billed Coucal and the White-Headed Starling. The most common mammal that is spotted is the deer species called Sambar, The Barking deer and the Mouse Deer. On certain occasions, one could also spot Sri Lankan leopards.

5

Geology

Geology

It is interesting to know that the Sinharaja Reserve is situated between the transition zones of two important rock types; metasediments-charnokites from the south, western group and the kondalites from the highland group.

6

Best time to visit

Best time to visit

The best times to visit the forest are either between December and early April or between August and September. Unlike most reserves, the best way to explore this rainforest is on foot. Therefore, it is recommended to explore the forest with a well-known guide. There are many travel and tour companies, like SoulTrek Sri Lanka, that arrange treks and give guests an extensive and well-informed tour of Sinharaja. The treks usually take a day long and take yours through most of the significant parts of the rainforests.

7

Topography

Topography

It has an elevation ranging from 200 metres to 1200 metres and is a rolling terrain including many ridges and valleys. The highest peak is the Hinipitigala peak, which is about 1150 metres tall.

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Behind the name

Behind the name

“Sinharaja” is an amalgamation of two words “Sinha” and “Raja” which translates into lion and king respectively. According to legends, it is said that the descendants of the lion king and a princess are the origin of the Sinhala people in the country.