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Now this is what you call destination nature. Deniyaya means very little, if anything at all to most, but whisper the word “Sinharaja” and an enchanting, river-bordered world of early morning mist rising through the waterfall peppered green of a dense, overgrown forest comes to life. This is Sri Lanka’s last remaining virgin forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site for that very fact – and it’s by visiting the town of Deniyaya that you’ll get to see it.
As an area saved from commercial logging, you’re looking at quite the biodiversity hotspot. Think over 154 bird species ranging from broad-billed rollers to the very rare Sri Lanka hanging parrot, an incredible array of dancing butterflies, lizards abound and a number of mammals. But really, this is a place primarily for keen bird-watchers and general nature lovers. The big-name mammal viewing is what you go to Yala for. Although leopards reside in Sinharaja, you’d have to be clutching a four-leafed clover to spot one and it’s usually the whooping calls of the endemic purple-faced langur that notify you of their presence rather than any actual sightings – these creatures are notoriously shy.
One of the main draws here? The ‘bird waves’. A spectacle of more than once species both moving and feeding together – witness these mismatched flocks and the magic of the rainforest really comes alive.
And it’s not just this Sinharaja’s wildlife that will have you swooning. More than 60% of the trees here are endemic and many of them are considered a rare variety. Layer, upon layer, of forest canopy providing a sanctuary for a whole host of species, marking the largest great lowland Gondwanan Rainforest in Southern Asia and showcasing Sri Lanka’s greatest example of a pristine ecosystem. It’s any tree-huggers paradise and in a time when unpolluted air is getting ever more difficult to come by, this little oxygenated pocket of earth is quite literally a breath of fresh air.
Deniyaya is Sinharaja and vice versa – say hello to nature at its finest. Keen to immerse yourself in all that this rainforest has to offer? Desperate to know more? Have a read of our blogs and then add it to that bucket-list of yours.
Steeped in rich history, full to the brim with friendly locals and blanketed from head to toe in varying forms of verdure.
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