A short drive from Galle is one of Sri Lanka’s best-kept secrets and one of the last remaining rainforests in Sri Lanka, the Hiyare Rainforest Reserve. Marked as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, this veritable paradise for wildlife enthusiasts displays a wealth of flora, fauna and immense beauty. The coursing rivers of Gin Ganga and Nilwala Ganga wind their way around hills, valleys and flat landscapes and dense forest canopies protect a treasure trove of biodiverse riches. The Reserve is home to several bird species, including many endemics and an incredible diversity of mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians and reptiles. Fauna includes a wide variety of medicinal and rare plants. Four spectacular must-sees in the Reserve include the cascading Anagimale Falls, an ancient tangled creeper giant creeper the height of a person, the little waterfall of Narangas Ella and a massive Nevada tree with an observation platform, a great spot to look out over the lush Reserve.
The Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle runs an Animal Rescue Programme and a Biodiversity Breeding Centre at the Reserve and are responsible for increasing the populations of endemic freshwater fish and amphibians and releasing them back into their natural habitat. &BEYOND works with this Society by organising guided treks into the Rainforest.