Makandawa Forest Reserve - Antiquity Sri Lanka
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Makandawa Forest Reserve


A journey to the Makandawa Forest Reserve

Sri Lanka is home to a vast plethora of hidden treasure troves that are exploding with bio-diversity and nature’s infinite magic, just waiting to be discovered. The Makandawa Forest Reserve is one such wonderland hidden away in the vicinity of its better-known counterpart; Kitulgala. A journey here is a journey to reconnect with the power of nature, to find that inner wildlife enthusiast and adventurer. It’s not just an experience it’s a fountain of knowledge and a tranquil escape of the hubbub of everyday life.

Route and location

You can reach Makandawa easily, about 3 hours’ worth of travel along the Colombo-Nuwaraeliya Road where you can enter this tropical forest by taking the road that leads to the Kitulgala Rest House. Catch a boat service that will get you to the other side where you will enter the Makandawa Forest Reserve that sprawls across 195 hectares.

What’s the best time to visit?

The best times to visit the forest reserve would be from December to February or August and September when the weather is a dry one ideal for exploring. The rest of the year is drenched in monsoons for the area which might restrict you a bit.

Activities to enjoy

The highlights of this area are bird watching, nature trekking, white water rafting and boating along with swimming.
To start off on your exploring, you can drift on a boat along the Kelani River with the aid of a wooden, handcrafted catamaran. Then, step off into a luscious jungle with a canopy thick enough to blot out the sun save for the filtering of light through the spaces among the branches of thick vegetation.
Rock Pooling is another adventure you can enjoy here thanks to the Kataran Ella Fall that is inside the reserve. You can just as well sit on the side of the beautiful cascading stream of white foam and simply enjoy the surroundings too. Alternatively, if you feel like a bit of a brave-heart, lock in your safety gear and take that 07 metre incline down the waterfall either on a raft by sliding or by trekking on foot and enjoy a swim in some of the coolest, freshest waters you will ever experience.
Look out for the teeming wildlife as you trek and hike across the forest that includes many indigenous species like the Sri Lanka Crested Drongo and the Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill. Enjoy unexpected visits from the uncommon and elusive Cruiser butterflies and pay careful attention to see if a Kangaroo Lizard crosses your path. If you still haven’t made friends with that toad in your backyard, you just might want to as the forest is home to some really interesting species of frogs and toads.
If you happen to be in the mood for a quick adrenaline rush, treat yourself to white-water rafting, courtesy of the Kitulgala adventures and end your day on a high.


What you need to know about Makandawa

The beautiful Makadawa Reserve is located in the scenic village of Kitulgala in the Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. The Word War II epic that was directed by David Lean titled as “The Bridge over the River Kwai” was filmed here. The fact that the whole of Kitulgala is located in the wet zone means
that the reserve gets enough rainfall to bless it with the stunning greenery, verdant and misty mountains along with the spellbinding waters off the Kelani River. The forest reserve was established for the purpose of protecting the catchment of the Kelani River and is one that is teeming with many endemic species of birds, reptiles and insects along with a myriad of beautiful and luscious flora. With striking resemblances to the infamous Sinharaja Forest, the reserve is also home to multiple waterfalls that add to its beauty.
Among the many native and migrating bird species here, there are fifty-four rare species such as the green billed coucal, yellow fronted barbet and the Ceylon jungle and spur fowl along with the recently discovered serendip scops owl. Red slender loris and grizzle tailed giant squirrels are some of the mammals that you can see here.

Who Are We?

We are Antiquity Sri Lanka. We offer bespoke tours to the tropical island where you will find yourself lost in the marvels of the country, while we take care of all the details.

Speak to our team of friendly and warm customer agents who’ll craft the very best packages that fit your exact requirements.

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