The Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka and attracts 1.2 million visitors annually. It is renowned for its collection of different orchids and it includes more than 300 varieties of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees.
The classical Avenue of Palms is located in this garden. One tree with a significant history is the Cannonball Tree planted by King George V of United Kingdom and Queen Mary in 1901. The tree is bent with its fruits, which look like cannonballs.
SINHARAJA TROPICAL RAINFOREST
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The hilly virgin rainforest, part of Sri Lanka’s lowland rain forests eco region, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve’s name translates as Lion Kingdom/ The kingdom of Lion.
The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south but, it is a treasure trove of endemic species including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
YALA NATIONAL PARK
Yala National Park is the most visited and the second largest national park in Sri Lanka.
Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. Yala harbors 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.
Tourists can experience the famous Jeep Safari activity at Yala.
MADU GANGA RIVER SAFARI
The Maduganga river is a shallow water body in south-west Sri Lanka, which enters the sea at Balapitiya.
Together with the smaller Randombe Lake, to which it is connected by two narrow channels, it forms the Madu Ganga wetland. Its estuary and the many mangrove islets on it constitute a complex coastal wetland ecosystem.
It has high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to 303 species of plants belonging to 95 families and to 248 species of vertebrate animals. It might be one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka.
KOSGODA TURTLE HATCHERY
Kosgoda is famous for its turtle hatchery operated by the Wild Life Protection Society of Sri Lanka.
It was established in 1981 to protect Sri Lanka’s turtles from extinction. The hatchery pays fishermen for eggs that they collect at night along the sandy beach.
Visitors can see huge tanks filled with new born turtle hatchlings. After being fed, the baby turtles are taken to the sea and released when they are 2-4 days old, usually during the safer hours of darkness.