Diving into Sri Lanka's unique biodiversity richness can serve up some of the most thrilling eco-centric holiday adventures. Whether it's the vast tea and spice plantations or the grand rainforests, you know you have some special experiences to look forward to.
The Wondrous Ways of Kanneliya Rainforest
While trekking through the mind-blowing expanses of this grand theatre of biodiversity, your learnings will remind you why it is a UNESCO-acclaimed biosphere reserve. Located just 35km from Galle this rainforest is one of Sri Lanka’s most valuable natural assets as it’s the last remaining large rainforest in the country. The Kanneliya-Nakiyadeniya-Dediyagala rainforest complex, or simply Kanneliya, also has over 220 known species of fauna; including 86 species of mammals, 36 species of snakes, and several species of avian life and fish. Amongst the richest areas of biodiversity in Asia, in terms of its botanical wealth native to Sri Lanka, Kanneliya has amongst its residents 20 of the island’s 26 endemic avifaunal species.
Sequestered amongst the lush environs here are 78 small villages, whose lives are also dependant on the ways of the forest. Forestry, collection of non-timber products, rice cultivation, tea, rubber and cinnamon plantations, animal husbandry and other forms of agriculture and cottage industries are the main occupations of these settlements.
Your guided tour in one of the world's 21 Biodiversity Hotspots is sure to be richly rewarding in countless ways. The forest is awash with thrilling sights and sounds. There are rock pools where one can bathe and waterfalls to marvel over. The Anagimale Falls is the first to greet visitors just 2km from the entry gate. There’s a fascinating twisted creeper of deep antiquity that will snare your camera lens. High as a grown man, it is one of the wonders of Kanneliya. Other hotspots for visitors are Narangas Ella, a cascading waterfall that drops down a vertical rock shelf and the giant Nevada tree located on a short detour on the same trail. It's interesting to note that the Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle runs an Animal Rescue Programme and a Biodiversity Breeding Centre at the Reserve; one of its responsibilities is to ensure the increase in the population of endemic freshwater fish and amphibians and release them back into their natural habitat.
Wherever you tread make sure you leave behind only your footprints in this glorious theatre of botanical splendour and centuries-old eco-centric wonders of delight.