leopards at wilpattu, Sri Lanka Jungle Tours

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 a Sri Lanka jungle trek such as the trip to Dambana.

The travellers might encounter carnivores like Leopard, and giant crocodiles in Sri Lanka wildlife reserves or hike through the rainforests of Sri Lanka, trekking through an intriguing mountain forests in the high-altitude areas is also a viable option.

Sri Lanka Jungle Tours, Sri Lanka Jungle Trek

Sri Lanka rainforests

Only 2% of the earth’s surface is covered by the tropical rainforests such as Sinharaja rainforest and 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 thick upper canopy. The upper canopy is consisting of 2 major parts namely canopy layer and 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 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 sich as 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 Sinharaja rainforest are explored by 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.

Mangroves in Sri Lanka

What are the 12 best places for Sri Lanka jungle tours?

  1. Sinharaja rain forest
  2. Yala national park
  3. Horton plains national park
  4. Knuckles rain forest
  5. Udawalawe national park
  6. Udawattekele sanctuary
  7. Minneriya national park
  8. Ecopark
  9. Wilpattu national park
  10. Habarana
  11. Sigiriya
  12. Bentota
  13. Madu estuary
  14. Kitulgala rain forest

There are many patches of forests and national parks in Sri Lanka. A 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.

1. Sri Lanka jungle tour: Sinharaja rain forest

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 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 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 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, 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 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 Sinharaja rainforest of which many options are available, from few kilometres to many dozens of kilometres long treks.

What to see in 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.

sinharaja rain forest tour, Places to visit in Singaraja,

2. Sri Lanka jungle tour: Yala national park

Sri Lanka jungle tour at Yala national park creates a totally different picture compared to the visit to Sinharaja rain forest. The 2 Jungle tours differ 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 like 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: 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. 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.  

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3. Sri Lanka jungle tour: Horton Plains national park

When Wilbert Horton Entered the Mahaeliya (later named as 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 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 as 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.

Variety of Sri Lanka jungle tours

  1. Sri Lanka jeep safari
  2. Sri Lanka jungle trekking
  3. Boat tours

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 Seerednipity 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 Lanak jungle tour based in 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 main rainy season in Sri Lanka, known as the south-west monsoon.

sinharaja forest reserve tour, Places to visit in Singaraja

Few other useful links

5 best places to visit in Sri Lanka in one day

12 best places to visit in Sri Lanka in 2 days

15 best places to visit in Sri Lanka in 3 days

Places to visit in Sri Lanka in 4 days

22 places to visit in Sri Lanka in 5 days

Sinharaja jungle tour in details

Our adventure tour in Sri Lanka to explore 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 Sinharaja rainforest.

We planned the adventure tour with Singaraja as well as Kitulagla for watersports, Udawalawe national park for elephant safari, Marissa 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 try to explore the rich biodiversity. Our nature expert guide, Susil, took us through the forest while giving us insight into fascinating fauna and flora of the forest.

Weddagala was our base where terrain, duration, landslides and climatic conditions were discussed. 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.

Places to visit in Singaraja,

Skill and luck were required to what we named as 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 a rope or log bridges that 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 hereon 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.

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Pathways and Roads are ideal for biking as muddy, rocky, steep climbs and endless descends are the perfect ingredients for mountain biking. A decent fitness level is also required if you were to negotiate these parts. Portage across streams and a hop across a river is also required hence a lightweight bike on your shoulder is a blessing compared to a steel dinosaur that may take man and machine into the waiting waters. we were fortunate to witness a sambhur deer, hare, porcupine and vividly colourful birds crossing my path.

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.

Finally, we came to the roadway, as planned. It had been a very successful, well invested 4 days. Both these trails would be well accepted by both local and foreign tourists who look for some more than the ordinary.

Why you should travel to Sinharaja with Seerendipity tours

Seerendipity tour is a fully locally owned travel company with the head office in Colombo. The highly experienced local staff is a key strength of Seerendipity tours and they can plan your dream holiday to Sri Lanka.

Best price for your Sri Lanka trip

When you book a tour with us, you directly book the tour with the local company, it means there are no middlemen and therefore you can guarantee the best price. Simply get in touch with us and let us know when you travel and what you like to see.

Local expertise and personalize service

Our staff make a personalized program for you, which you can change until you find the best package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration; all our ready-made tour packages are customizable and can be tailored to meet all your expectations. Write us on admin@seerendipitytours.com

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