Kanneliya Forest Reserve is a nice place to visit in Galle District. It is a part of the Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya (KDN) Biosphere Reserve. This covers almost 5306 ha in the southern province. The Kanneliya forest reserve is also regarded as one of South Asia’s most valuable forest resources. KDN was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2004. It is also the last remaining rainforest area after the famous Sinharaja Forest. Kanneliya is a catchment area for both the Gin Ganga River and the Nilwala Ganga River. Those are two major rivers in southern Sri Lanka.
Galle City is situated 35km away from Kanneliya Forest. The distance from Colombo is 150km. If you are starting from Colombo, then you can choose the southern highway and should exit at Pinnaduwa. Then you need to follow the Udugama road to reach the place, and overall, it takes around 3 hours.
If you are starting from Galle, then you can travel along the Udugama road from there to reach Kanneliya. It is around 35km away and will take 1 hour to get there. To enter the forest, you need to buy a ticket. The ticket counter is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Flora and Fauna
Kanneliya Forest is home to many flora and fauna. A large percent of them is endemic to Sri Lanka. 17% of lowland endemic floral species can be found here. There are over 220 known species of fauna. It includes 86 mammal species, 36 snake species, and 26 bird species. 20 bird species are endemic only to the Kanneliya. There are also 23 lizard species found here.
There are many sightseeing places in Kanneliya Rain Forest. We need at least 2 days to explore all of those attractions. When you receive tickets at the entrance, the guide will help you explore those places. Here are some of the major attractions in Kanneliya:
- Waterfall Anagimale Ella
- Cave Trail
- Elephant Creeper
- A Giant Navel Tree
- Malamura Waterfall
- Kabbale Mount Trail.
Other facts about Kanneliya
- There are over 10,000 people living in 78 villages around the KDN biosphere area.
- Anagimale Waterfall is a fantastic looking waterfall to visit. It is very water heavy in the December–February season.
- Narangas Ella is another tiny waterfall which is located inside the deep forest.
- The March to September period is the ideal time for hikes in Kanneliya Forest.
- This is a superb place to enjoy a day with your family. There is a nice spot to bathe near the entrance.