Sri Lanka Jungle Tours and Treks
On Sri Lanka jungle tours, the travellers will have the opportunity to encounter a wide range of tropical trees, plants and animal species. Other than the incredible wildlife experiences the travellers can also learn about the ancient native cultures on Sri Lanka jungle tours and trek while exploring the places like Dambana, where aborigines are still based in.
The travellers might encounter carnivores like Leopard, and giant crocodiles in Sri Lanka wildlife reserves or hike through the rainforests of Sri Lanka and trekking through intriguing mountain forests in high-altitude areas is also a viable option.
Duration of Sri Lanka jungle tour
The duration of Sri Lanka jungle tours varies largely depending on the time available for the trip and the budget of the travellers. The tour operators such as Seerendipity tours organize 1 day Sri Lanka jungle torus to 7 days Sri Lanka jungle tours enabling the travellers to explore many national parks and rainforests during their trip. Some of the jungle tours are planned with historical monuments, UNESCO world heritage site, beaches and many more. However, as the number of activities is increasing on the trip so is the duration of the tour.
When is the best time for Sri Lanka jungle tour?
In general From October to November is the best time of the year to visit Sri Lanka, parallel to the north-east monsoon. Sri Lanka weather is largely controlled by the monsoon and it occurs in 2 variations. 1) north-east monsoons (October to November and 2) south-west monsoon (April to October). Most rain forests such as the Sinharaja rainforest are located in the southern and western part of Sri Lanka and they are heavily battered by heavy rain during the south-west monsoon. Therefore, if you plan a Sri Lanka jungle tour and planning to visit the Sri Lanka rainforest, it is best to visit the island from October to November, At the same time, it is important to choose the western or southern coast as the base of your trip, in order to see the sunshine every day.
Sri Lanka rainforests
Only 2% of the earth’s surface is covered by the tropical rainforests such as the Sinharaja rainforest and the knuckles forest, however, the rainforests harbour more than 50% of the world’s species. That’s quite a species to space ratio!
In order to categorize under a rainforest, a patch of the forest should fulfil certain conditions such as, occupy land in the tropics, are lush and dense, having a thick upper canopy. The upper canopy is consisting of 2 major parts namely the canopy layer and the emergent layer. Usually, the upper canopy is thick, which blocks the sunlight and thereby keeps the moist “trapped” underneath, between the floor and the upper canopy. Another unique feature of the rainforest is the frequent and suddenly heavy rain. Rainforest receives a large amount of rain every year and in Sri Lankan rainforest receive around 5000 mm of rainfall every year.
The dampness and humidity of these mysterious places, usually which prevails throughout the year, is the main reason to call them “rainforests”. Rainforests have an incredible unique microclimate that helps all living being at all stages of the journey from the jungle floor to the canopy, therefore the diversity of wildlife in the rainforest is always at a very high level.
Rainforests and national parks for Sri Lanka jungle tours
Sri Lanka jungle tours mainly revolve around rainforests and national parks such as Yala national park, Kitulgala rain forest and Sinharaja rainforest, most of them are off the beaten path tourist places. The guests that are attracted to the Sri Lanka jungle trek is usually focused on wildlife, eco-travel, photography and cultural immersion. E.g Sri Lanka 4 days southern tour includes many wildlife experiences such as the Yala safari and whale watching off southern Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan jungles are often visited via jeep safari, river cruise while some other jungles such as the Sinharaja rainforest are explored on foot. Sri Lankan dry-zone forests such as Udawalawe national park and Yala national parks are most popular for wildlife observations and rainforests such as Sinharaja popular for bird watching and rainforest exploration.
The patches of forests that dotted around the island have many similarities as well as differences, still, these jungles maintain their own unique personality, and all are well worth visiting. Entering a Sri Lankan jungle harkens back to the age of exploration when ancient Sri Lankan kings embarked on a hunting tour.
The giant in the jungle, Elephant trumpet in the distance, the buzz of millions of species from tiny centipede to the most vocal bird. Thousands of residents expertly camouflaged by dense foliage wait just out of sight.
What are the 12 best places for Sri Lanka jungle tours?
- Sinharaja rain forest
- Yala national park
- Horton plains national park
- Kitulgala rain forest
- Knuckles mountain range
- Udawattekele sanctuary
- Minneriya national park
- Wilpattu national park
- Madu estuary
Variety of Sri Lanka jungle tours
- Sri Lanka jeep safari
- Sri Lanka jungle trekking
- Boat tours
Sri Lanka forests for jungle tours and treks
There are many patches of forests and national parks in Sri Lanka. The number of rainforests, wildlife reserves and national parks exceeds 2 dozen and all of them have a large stock of Faun and flora.
some jungles that just seem to leap off the page of a collective traveller imagination. These are the mysterious and exciting lands of Kipling, Stevenson, and Burroughs. Of course, there is a complicated colonial history to this, with anthropomorphized animals, and an undeniably simple colonialist view of the native human inhabitants of these beautiful and haunting landscapes.
However, putting all that aside, a Sri Lanka jungle tour into any one of these classic jungles is sure to awaken your inner explorer as you seek the truth beyond the stories and create your own adventure.
Jungle tours and treks in Nuwara Eliya
The scenery along the highway from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is simply gorgeous with cascading waterfalls, streams, tea garden, patches of forests and green-capped mountains. At the start of the journey, you may not encounter beautiful scenery, however as you make it further up on the hilly road and reaches a higher elevated area the travellers meet the awe-inspiring scenery. At the highest point of this route, at an elevation of 1800 meter above sea level, the travellers can witness the highest point of Sri Lanka and the tallest mountain of the island mount Pidurutalagala. All around the mountain is tea plantation in varying sizes.
The interior of Sri Lanka’s hill country is dominated by the dramatic landscape of waterfalls, patched forests, vegetable plots, tea plantations and mountains. There are many hiking paths and trekking routes in the region. The tea plantation provides excellent routes for trekking and hiking, which are available all around the mountains. The Horton plains national park, Galway forest are 2 main trekking and hiking sites Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara Eliya is a small and laid-back town, therefore nothing much happening here with regards to shopping, fine dining, discos, casinos etc. Colonial influence is very much visible in most part of Nuwara Eliya, especially around Gregory Lake. A large number of colonial mansions are on the display around the lake and most of them have been converted to hotels now. Those mansions demonstrate the typical English architecture and built by wealthy planters in the early 18s. After the independence of Sri Lanka in 1948 from the British crown, the wealthy planters handed over all their assets to the local people and left the country.
1. Sri Lanka jungle tour: Sinharaja rain forest
From kayaking, jungle trekking to bird watching. Sinharaja rainforest attracts tourists to this virgin rainforest in all seasons. You can join the one-day Sinharaja rainforest from Colombo, which is a private rainforest tour with one of our nature guides. Read more about the 1-day Sinharaja rainforest tour.
Sinharaja rainforest tour is available as a 1-day tour from Colombo and it is also can be booked as a 2-3 days rainforest exploration trip, thereby having an in-depth knowledge of the fauna and flora of the forest. These trips can be booked not only from Colombo but also from most beach resorts on the western coast and southern coast as well as hotels in the hill country.
Sinharaja forest reserve is a paradise for a Sri Lanka jungle trek, due to its in-depth endemic fauna and flora. Birds both resident and migratory flock to the canopy especially between December and April. Therefore, a jungle tour of Sinharaja is a must for bird lovers. Sri Lanka jungle tour is a part of Sri Lanka nature tours, Sri Lanka bird watching tours. Some times Sri Lanka jungle treks are included in the adventure trips too.
It is the Sinharaja rain forest that comes into one’s mind upon hearing the word “Sri Lanka jungle tours” because Sinharaja is the most popular rain forest in Sri Lanka. Same times there is no other patch of forest on the island that can surpass the magnitude size and the biodiversity of the Sinharaja rain forest. There are many other places suitable for a Sri Lanka jungle trek such as Udawattakele sanctuary, Horton plains national park and Knuckles rain forest. But most travellers prefer to have their jungle in Sinharaja rain forest over the other jungles because it is not only very convenient to visit but also the forest is very rich in Fauna and Flora.
To this day, new species are emerging from the Sinharaja rainforest, the researchers and scientists are carryout endless projects to identify new creatures. Sinharaja reminds us that there are still unexplored and untouched parts in the country.
Home to many thousand species, which occupies 118425 acres spanning through Sabaragamuwa, the southern and western province of Sri Lanka, the Sinharaja rainforest is the biggest rainforest on the island and most ecologically diverse forest in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka jungle tours based on Sinharaja has been available for many years, however, it has gained much of its popularity within the last decade. Even though it is a double-edged sword. With more tourist the jungle can earn more recognition and increase the awareness of the plight it is facing, but it also can lead to many other new problems.
The tours to the Sinharaja rainforest are an opportunity to highlight the threats to the forest and provide the visitors with the context of how they can help. The travellers can start to work on this goal by being sustainable as much as possible when visiting this fragile ecosystem.
Trekking through the forest is the best way to explore the Sinharaja rainforest of which many options are available, from few kilometres to many dozens of kilometres long treks.
What to see on the Sinharaja jungle tour?
- Sinharaja rain forest
- Dooli Ella (waterfall)
- Aranuwa Upper waterfall
- Aranuwa Lower waterfall
All places mentioned above coming under “important places to visit in Singaraja” and they are located within the borders of the rain forest. However, there are many dozens of other interesting places to visit in the Sinharaja rain forest.
2. Sri Lanka jungle tour: Yala national park
Sri Lanka jungle tour at Yala national park (Yala national park 2 days tour) creates a totally different picture compared to the visit to the Sinharaja rain forest. The 2 Jungle tours differ in many ways from travelling through the jungle to Fauna and Flora that you encounter during the tour. Perhaps you may things that Yala is also a pristine, thick forest-like Sinharaja. Yala has a considerable population of trees, plants and creepers, but it is not so dense as the Sinharaja forest. Yala is categorized under dry-zone forests. The rainfall is far lower compared to the rainfall at Sinharaja.
Yala is the most popular jungle in Sri Lanka for wildlife jeep safaris. Thousands of travellers embark on Yala jeep safaris every day. Yala safari is one of the most popular draws in the southern province of Sri Lanka and an important income generator for the people in the area.
Yala offers a unique travel experience for its visitors: a leopard tour. Witness the big carnivore is the main priority of every visit to Yala national park. It has never been so easy to witness leopard anywhere else in the world like Yala. Yala has the highest density of leopards compared to any other national park in the world.
The tourists need to get an entry permit and hire a jeep in order to qualify for the Sri Lanka jungle tour at Yala. Yala safari is available in 2 flavours, regular Yala jungle tour and full-day jungle tour. A regular jungle tour lasts about 3 hours and a full-day jungle tour lasts 8 hours.
It is recommended to embark on a full day jungle tour if you do not like to miss the opportunity to witness a leopard. The travellers get the opportunity to witness leopards even on the regular jungle tour but the opportunity to see a leopard cannot be guaranteed. Elephant, crocodile, deer, wild buffalo, jackal, mungo, are the other common animals at Yala national park.
3. Sri Lanka jungle tour: Horton Plains National Park
When Wilbert Horton Entered the Mahaeliya (later named the Horton plains), who worked as the British governor of Ceylon from 1831 to 1837 on his search for Ratemahattaya (the local administrative officer in the area), he encountered an unknown world of shifting fog, filtering sunlight intermittently, covering and revealing small indigenous settlements along the way. Horton plains national park rests on a plateau between the 2nd and 3rd highest mountains of Sri Lanka. The elevation of the jungle swings between 1,200–2,300 meters.
There are few patches of mountain or cloud forests in the mountains of Sri Lanka. Horton plains are the biggest of its kind and most other mountain forests are, much smaller than Horton plains national park. They are named cloud forests because these jungles are covered with fog for most time of the day. They can be visited only during the midday, even during the midday, the bank of fog hovers at the canopy level. Horton Plains is the best place in Sri Lanka to experience cloud forest, where the travellers can walk right among the canopy, getting a unique view of how special these jungles are.
4. Sri Lanka jungle tour: Kitulgala Rainforest
From Canoeing, jungle trekking, waterfall abseiling, Whitewater rafting, caving, camping to bird watching. The rainforest of Kitulgala has been nicknamed the adventure playground of Sri Lanka. The laid-back countryside offers dozens of interesting activities for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The rainforest of Kitulgala attracts tourists in all seasons. You can join the one-day Kitulgala trip from Colombo, which is a private rainforest tour with one of our nature guides. The trip includes many interesting activities such as bird watching, jungle trekking and Whitewater rafting based in the Kelaniya River.
The hanging bridge, which dates back to English colonial rule (1796 to 1948) is located a few kilometres northern direction of Kitulgala town, bordering a rubber plantation, and is a good starting point for crossing the Kelaniya river and enter the Rainforest. Right after the hanging bridge is the village, where a handful of families live. The travellers need to cross the village to enter the rainforest and a guided jungle trek in the rainforests lasts about 2 hours.
5. Jungle tour, treks in Kandy
Kandy is the hill country capital of Sri Lanka, which has a large tracts of jungles, tea plantations while Kandy is home to many hundreds mountains, rivers, waterfalls. Some of the very popular trekking sites in Sri Lanka such as Hantana, Udawattakele sanctuary is located within easy reach of Kandy. Udawattakele is popular for jungle tours in Sri Lanka and bird watching while Hantana is popular as a site for trekking in Sri Lanka.
For those, who wish to have a memorable trek, it is highly recommended to book a one day trekking trip to Hantana. It has a unique and different landscape and provides very different trekking conditions. The Hantana mountain range sits towards the western part of Kandy city and running down towards west coast beaches.
The trekking route is full of trees and plants and offers great walking in a magical area, with mountain ridges and deep gorges are mixed with considerable forests and tea plantations, fertile valley of vegetables, eucalyptus plantations and isolated hamlets. The terrain may make for gentler trekking, but it still offers some challenges and plenty of rewards.
Hantana plateau is the gem here, a bewitching area of highland meadows that are particularly delightful during the rain season (from April to November) when they are hidden with wildflowers. Although much of the walking here is less demanding than in many other trekking routes in Sri Lanka’s hill country, the Hantana is still cut through by hidden gorges, thick with forests, edged with peaks and studded with stunning small hamlets.
6. Knuckles mountain range
The knuckles mountain range is declared as a natural world heritage site by UNESCO. This is one of the last remaining patches of forest in the central mountain range. Knuckles is the largest forest in the central province of Sri Lanka and it is included in many Sri Lanka nature tours, hill country tour itineraries as well as Sri Lanka adventure trips.
The rugged terrain of Knuckles is covered by a large number of indigenous flora species. Knuckles forest harbours many species endemic fauna and flora of Sri Lanka and it has one of the highest Biodiversities of Sri Lanka. Knuckles forest is not only one of the best places for trekking in Kandy but also one of the best places for nature exploration.
As the name suggests “Knuckles mountain range”, it is a range of mountains with the shape of the knuckle, when you look at it from the distance. This mountain range is comprised of 9 mountains and peaks ranging from 1220 meters to 1900 meters above sea level.
The highest point of the mountain range is known as “Gombaniya” and it is located 1906 meters above sea level. The knuckles mountain range is another important catchment area in the island where the rainfall varies between 2500mm to 5000mm, for instance, the eastern part of knuckles receives about 5000mm annual rainfall while the northern part receives around 2500mm of annual rainfall.
Knuckles mountain range feeds several major rivers with its rainwater and Mimura Oya, “Kalu Ganga” or Black river and Kote Ganga are heavily depended on the waters of these tributaries.
Knuckles mountain is very suitable for nature exploration and you are rewarded with some of the stunning scenery. There are several popular Sri Lanka trekking sites can be found here and a large number of local and foreign trekkers arriving at the sites every day. Most of the tracks are well maintained and accommodated with campsites.
Pitawala Pathana nature trail, mini world end track, ash cave trail, Knuckles summit nature trails, Nitre cave trail are some of the popular paths in the Knuckles mountain range. Apart from the earlier mentioned tracks, there are dozens of miniature footpath for an exciting and enjoyable short trek in nearby villages.
Sri Lanka jungle trek as a day trip
A large number of leisure travellers and beach holiday lovers from the southern and west coast beaches as well as from Colombo also book the Sri Lanka jungle trek to Sinharaja. Local tour operators such as Seerendipity tours organize Sri Lanka jungle tours due to the high demand.
Sri Lanka jungle trek with adventure tour
Exploring Sinharaja rain forest is also included in most Sri Lanka adventure tours because exploring Faun and Flora is also a part of the adventure trip. For instance, Sri Lanka 6 days adventure tour organized by Seerendipity tours include a Sri Lanka jungle tour based in the Sinharaja rain forest.
When is the best time for Sri Lanka jungle tours?
There is no seasonality for Sri Lanka jungle tours. However, it is recommended to avoid rainy days while visiting the rain forest. It can be difficult to trek through the rain forest during the rain and on the other hand, you will encounter more leeches than usual. Most Sri Lankan rain forests coming under heavy rains very frequently from April to November, which is the main rainy season in Sri Lanka, known as the southwest monsoon.
Few other useful links
Sinharaja jungle tour in details
Our adventure tour in Sri Lanka to explore the Sinharaja rain forest was one of the most exciting activity we undertook during our 14 days Sri Lanka trip. We planned this adventure tour well in advance to experience the rich bio-diversity of the Sinharaja rainforest.
We planned the adventure tour with Sinharaja as well as Kitulagla for water sports, Udawalawe national park for elephant safari, Mirissa for whale watching, Galle and Bentota to see the beauty of the ocean and have some leisure.
Sinharaja exploration tour was an important part of our Sri Lanka tour and beach holiday package. We were considering both of them right from the beginning.
As we arrived at Sinharaja, everything was planned by our local tour operator, map-out trails for biking, trekking and kayaking around the Sinharaja. Accommodation, bike, kayak, food items were arranged by them. There was a 4 hours trek in the Sinharaja rainforest during our adventure to try to explore the rich biodiversity. Our nature expert guide, Susil, took us through the forest while giving us insight into the fascinating fauna and flora of the forest.
Weddagala was our base where terrain, duration, landslides and climatic conditions were discussed. The next morning with higher levels of water due to the persistent rain overnight, we decided to commence our river descent.
The water was awfully cold although the sun was shining. The tree canopy did its very best not to send down the rays, even in the middle of the river. However, we did not need sunlight to warm up as rapid after rapid had to be negotiated with a strong current.
Skill and luck were required to what we named the Sinharaja falls, an elbow bend with a 15-18 foot drop. One has time to admire the variety of colourful birds, the contour of trees vines that spread themselves across the river. At times the river gets shallow and sandy where one gets time for a leisurely bath and snack on a sandy beach.
Scattered villages and their inhabitants across the river on the rope or log bridges require a lot of luck and acrobatic skills. We halted at one such point and had some wonderful boiled jackfruit with firework chillies and fresh today. It was so refreshingly delicious I’m planning a come-back sometime soon, but had to depart, as there was the great unknown ahead!
The river gets narrow and deep where even a 15-foot bamboo cannot reach the bottom. At times one has to negotiate across the swampy mass of islands steering across the correct channel to avoid the difficulty of back padding. Sometimes the jungle in the midst of the river makes kayaking an experience.
The river journey ends ironically with civilization or a bridge to be exact. To continue heron would require a death wish, as there’s a 50-60 foot drop that ends in a huge earth slip.
Getting back to a decent roadway takes around 3 hours of difficult technical driving that’s best in a good 4WD vehicle. This complete, it was time for mountain biking. Complete with our backpacks but sans any protection of a helmet and so on, we were heading for the perfect trail.
The brakes of my bike was a cause for concern as the brake rubber was finding it difficult to grip the muddy rims, especially during descent. we camped one night beside a stream on a grass patch with jungle surrounding me. Wild boars came very close during the night to keep me company. The morning alarm was a symphony of the bird call. One simply can not sleep through the racket they make, even to someone like me been told that I slept with an avalanche outside! A morning swim before making breakfast was most refreshing before re-packing and riding.
Why you should travel with Seerendipity tours
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Best price for your Sri Lanka vacation packages
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