Kanneliya Forest Reserve located in the Galle district is the largest of the KDN, or Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya, forest complex. Kanneliya is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse areas in the country (as well as in the world). The bio-diversity of Kanneliya is considered richer, even compared to the world heritage rain forest “sinharaja”.Most of Kanneliya today is a forest that had recovered from selective logging that had happened in1970s. The water flows in the forest are now recovering with a numerous numbers of streams adding life to the diverse vegetation and some what hilly landscape. These streams create several beautiful cascades in side the forest. They also provide ideal opportunities for nice cool dip in some of the purest streams in the whole world!
|Public access to Kanneliya is allowed through the forest department managed conservation center located close to Galle-Udugama-Neliwa road at Koralegama, Panangala.View Google Earth Trail Map|
|Access By Road|
|Route1: Colombo -> Kalutara (Katukurunda) [45km on A2] -> Nagoda [3km on B008] -> Mathugama [5km on B308 & 11km on B8] -> Horawala [5km on B3] -> Moragala [7km] -> Palewatta [8km on B3] -> Pitigala [10km on B3] -> Udugama [24km via Mapalagama] -> Panangala [6km on B156] ->Koralegama -> Kanneliya Conservation Centre [2km](approximately 125km)|
|Route2: Colombo -> Galle [120km on A2] ->Udugama [40km] ->Panangala [6km on B156] ->Koralegama -> Kanneliya Conservation Centre [2km](approximately 165km)|
|Route3: Colombo -> Kalutara (Katukurunda) [45km on A2] -> Nagoda [3km on B008] -> Mathugama [5km on B308 & 11km on B8] -> Horawala [5km on B3] -> Moragala [7km] -> Palewatta [8km on B3] -> Neluwa [30km] -> Thawalama[5km] -> Panangala [12km on B156] -> Koralegama -> Kanneliya Conservation Centre [2km](approximately 135km)|
|Public Transport in only up to Panangala.|
Weather and Season
|December to February||Lower chance of rain. Streams generally rich after rain. Good time to visit Kanneliya for waterfalls.|
|March to April||Less chance of rain. But water levels would also be less. Good time to visit Kanneliya for Hiking|
|May to July||Higher changce of rain. Time your visit after high monsoon activity to see waterfalls in full flow|
|August, September||Can be quite dry. Good for hiking but water levels will be low.|
|October, November||Higher changce of rain. Time your visit after high monsoon activity to see waterfalls in full flow|
Attractions and activities
- Hiking: There are two main trails that takes you deep in to the forest. Kabbale mountain trail takes you up to a summit point from where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding. Trail to Narangas Ella goes deep in to the forest passing several points of interest such as the Giant Navada tree.
- Natural Bath: Streams flowing through Kanneiya offers many opportunities to take a dip in clean, cool waters. Popular natural pools include the pool in front of the Kanneliya conservation center, the pool behind the conservation center and a natural pool behind the Kanneliya Forest resort.
The best option would be to stay at the forest department dormitory right at the entrance to the forest. also there are few private eco-lodges close to Kanneliya.
Because of its proximity to Galle, you can stay in Galle and drive to Kanneliya. It takes less than an hour form Galle to reach there.
Look for more accommodation options in this area at Lakdasun forum accommodation options board
Notes, Tips and Special Remarks
- A forest department guide will always accompany you on your hikes.
- Take only pictures, leave only foot prints
- Water levels in the waterfalls will significantly go down during dry months. Therefore if you want to see them in full flow, time your visit just after rainy season
- When it rains, some of the trails get infected with Leeches. Make sure that you are prepared. [Lear more about leech prevention]