Located just 1 hour’s drive away from Colombo on the A4 off the Hanwella town is a small remaining patch of rain forest called Mithirigala. Now protected by the forest department and also being a hermitage this forest is a excellent place to spend a day or half a day.
Even if you are not a wildlife person just a walk along the forest path will give you a sense of tranquillity and peace. For birdwatchers this is perfect as in a short time you can see and hear many species of birds some of which include Black Bulbul, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Chestnut-headed bee-eater, White-rumped Shama, Tickle’s Blue flycatcher, Dark-fronted Babblers, Black-naped Monarch, Scarlet Minivets, Crested Hawk-eagles, Serpent Eagle. The endemic bird list includes Black-capped Bulbul, Yellow-fronted Barbet, and Brown-capped Babbler (more heard than seen). The Butterfly list is also very impressive with rarities like the endemic Sinhalese Bushbrown, Blue Oak-leaf, Common Birdwing, Blue Mormon, Ceylon Tree Nymph, Lacewing, Rustic, Plum Judy & Common Leopard can be seen easily. It’s also excellent for Dragonflies and rare Damselflies which can be found close to the many streams in the forest.
Of the Mammals species found in the forest you will most likely only come across the endemic Toque Monkey, the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Giant Squirrel, and if you’re lucky a Ruddy or Brown Mongoose.
There are many species of Amphibians, Lizards and snails in this little forest patch. The diversity of flora is immense with large rain forest trees, orchids, lianas, mosses and bamboo species filling the forest.
Mithirigala forest is ideal for a day trip or if you’re travelling on A4 towards the hills or Buttala foothill, this is a ideal place to stop for a short ‘rain forest fix’!
This forest patch is 368 hectares in size and is surrounded by rubber plantations and home gardens. Travel along the A4 road up to Hanwella and get to Hanwella town and take the B146. The turn off to the forest is on the right and is about 13Km’s on this road. If you ask anyone in area they will give you further directions.