Sri Lanka could be a mysterious island in the Indian Ocean for many of us. Sri Lanka, located in the tropics, is full of nature. Have you considered taking an eco-tour and enjoying nature in Sri Lanka, which is a treasure trove of endemic plants and wild animals?
The number of endemic flora and fauna that exists only in Sri Lanka is characterized by an incomparably large number compared to other regions. The number of birds is particularly large, and more than 400 species inhabit the island. As of 2020, the number of endemic animals also includes 86 mammal species. This number is very large considering the size of the country is quite small. The number of endemic species is high because the island is separated from other land masses by sea.
Sri Lanka is a paradise for flora and fauna.
Environmental protection efforts in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, they are also working on environmental protection as a national policy. The Ministry of the Environment can be involved in policy and other organisations such as the Environmental Council, which provides advice on the environment, have had a great affect on the improvement of environmental protection initiatives.
The Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation is a ministry that has a great deal to do with wildlife and the environment. With a vision of “a sustainable country where wildlife and forest resources conserved”, policies are made for that purpose. When travellers take an eco-tour or visit a national park, one will often see a sign bearing the name of this ministry. As for laws and regulations, the “National Environment Act”, which is a basic law on the environment, was enacted in 1980, and there are other unique ordinances that cover each field of the environment. One example of this is the Forest Ordinance and the recently enacted National Heritage Wilderness Area Act.
Under these laws and regulations, as much as 14% of the land in Sri Lanka is environmentally protected by law.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve-World Heritage National Park
One of the most recommended protected areas in Sri Lanka is the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is one of seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka and was recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1988. It can be said that this protected area is where the high purpose of nature conservation and research can be seen throughout the country.
Even in Sri Lanka, where nature is abundant throughout the island, there are many endemic species, including endemic plants and birds, as well as mammals, amphibians and reptiles. 60% of the plants found in the reserve and more than 50% of mammals and birds are endemic to Sri Lanka. The island is especially famous for its endemic birds, and one may see the famous endemic species such as Sri Lanka Blue Magpie and Serendib Scops Owl.
The vast 88.64 sq km site is one of the best places to observe Sri Lanka’s nature, flora and fauna, and it offers eco-tours and more.
Directions to Sinharaja Forest Reserve
There are two types of access: access from Ratnapura and access from Deniyaya, 50 km north of Matara. It is common to apply for a jeep tour from either city and there are many available tours from other cities as well.
When heading from Colombo: Take a bus south along the southwest coast and inland via Panadura. (Time required: about 2 hours and 35 minutes)
If you want to explore Sri Lanka, enjoy ecotour!
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is an organization which provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism and it is one of the standards for judging viable ecotourism around the world.
There are three GSTC-certified Sri Lankan organisations, two of which are travel agencies that provide ecotourism options.
Impact Escapes / Travel Agency or Booking Service (certified from 2018)
Impact Escapes offers eco-based travel proposals to tea plantations, product development in the surrounding area, local ecological activities and tours of their facilities.
As a contribution to the local community, they use cloth bags made from handmade products for the tea products to improve the economic opportunities for the local women. There are also opportunities to interact with local people, such as visiting the local educational sites.
Impact Escapes also works with the Tea Leaf Trust, a community that works to support people working in plantations and to provide educational opportunities for young people.
Tours range from a one-hour guide to a 16-day tour of various parts of the island, from cultural heritage tours to nature observations, sports experiences such as surfing, and cooking and immersive cultural experiences.
Custom-made travel requests can also be made on tours that utilise the knowledge of local experts in each field. In addition to GSTC, Impact Escapes is also a member of the global certification “Good Market & Good Travel”.
The Fabulous Getaway / Tour Operator and / or Transport Provider (certified from 2019)
“The Fabulous Getaway” was established in 2015 by merging a travel agency with more than 30 years of experience in planning custom-made trips in Sri Lanka. The addition of a co-founder and a foreign traveler, at the time of the merger provided an adventurous perspective from a foreign perspective. This agency is particularly strong in custom-made trips, and offers unique experiences.
An action-oriented adventure tour covers rapids down the Kelani River + hills in the Kandy area + safari experience in Yarra National Park + marine sports on the beach. A variety that covers from mountains to the sea.
For a relaxing stay-oriented tour, one can base their leisurely stay in the highlands of the tea plantations, visit cinnamon plantations, experience cooking, or stretch their legs and enjoy a stay in nature-rich facilities near the coast.
Ecotourism-related events around the world are actively participated in and the tour operator strives to understand the current trends in the ecotourism industry.
Take an eco-tour and enjoy the nature of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is full of nature and wildlife. Wherever one goes, there are plenty of recommended spots for sightseeing. However, because it is a global tourist destination, one may encounter unreliable guides, poorly serviced agencies or travel agencies that are not ecologically friendly.
In order to have a wonderful environment-friendly experience, it is definitely recommended to use the services of a reliable agency with ecotourism certification. Custom-made trips can be proposed by experts on the road. Find the tour that suits you best and enjoy!
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