Sprawled across 37 acres in the heart of the emerald isle’s southern coast, lies one of its most secluded nature reserves. Located along the road to Udugama this tranquil quarter of Galle in Sri Lanka is known as the Kottawa Rainforest Reserve and serves as one of the island’s most verdant lowland rainforests. Travellers to the region in search of luxurious Galle hotels can choose Jetwing Lighthouse for all their accommodation needs. Providing guests the best in modern amenities in the ‘Down South’ area of the island, this stylish rest is one of the finest Sri Lanka hotels on the coastal belt.
Relatively unknown to the visiting multitudes to the island, the isolated Kottawa Rainforest Reserve is well worth the visit for nature lovers in search of breathtaking natural beauty off the beaten track.
Displaying all the features of a lowland rainforest, the area’s vegetation mainly consists of wet evergreen trees that tower above the canopies of other plants that struggle to feed off the sun’s ray due to the dense foliage above. The lack of sunlight penetrating the lower reaches of the rainforest has lead to a great propagation of Dipterocarpus variety plants and other fern species which occupy the forest bed in addition to orchids that depend on large tree trunks for nourishment.
An impressive 170 species of trees are believed to inhabit the Kottawa Rainforest Reserve of which a hundred have been identified as those endemic to Sri Lanka alone. More than 80 non-endemic tree species are also found in the rainforest and have been labelled with their botanical name for easy identification. As a part of the Kottawa Kombala Conservation Forest which occupies an impressive 1,800 hectares, the Kottawa Rainforest and Arboretum is a highlight for wildlife enthusiasts touring Galle; the Kottawa Arboretum showcases well over 70 species of winged beauties from all across the world.
The endemic bird species which have been identified to number around a dozen include the spot-winged thrush, yellow-fronted barbet, grey hornbill, brown-capped babbler and the Sri Lankan spurfowl. Stunning butterflies are another attraction at the venue as Tree Nymph, Birdwing and Blue Oakleaf butterflies are abundantly found here. Giant squirrels, purple-faced leaf monkeys and toque monkeys are also frequently spotted in addition to non-venomous Sri Lankan snake varieties and lizards.