Real Traveler Experiences

Kanneliya | the hidden forest

You can take the boy out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the boy.

Jungle book 2

I quite don’t know if it’s the way most humans are wired or a natural phenomenon in human nature, but still, we are all are attracted to nature. We marvel at the glory of nature. We love nature. The trees, the birds, the animals, and the waterfalls, all these bring us joy and excitement.

A quick drive from Colombo for 3 hours would take you to Kanneliya – almost looks like a part of the country’s famous Sinharaja Rainforest.

Because of the E1 Expressway, the drive is very smooth and easy. If you leave Colombo around 07.00 a.m. you can reach the Baddegama E1 exit in 1 1/2 hours and thereafter a drive though towards Kanneliya in the Udugama road.

what to bring

  • A pair of comfortable shoes
  • Some snacks such as biscuits or savories
  • A few bottles of Water
  • Some dry clothes to put on after a trek and river bath
  • A charged phone/camera – it’s a photographers paradise

which trail to select

When it comes to nature walks at the famous national parks or the forest reserves, a common idea is that you can just roam-free throughout at your own pace and your explorations. In reality, to make the visits more educational, nature conserving, the authorities have Guides, trekkers at the ticket counters which you can hire for each visit. It is mandatory to take a guide during your visit and it is actually very effective in exploring such a trail too.

Depending on your crew, what the interests are, the guide will recommend a trail for you. Here at Kanneliya, there are around 4 trails you can select from.

  1. Anagimala Ella trail – shortest trail and the easiest. (2 hrs.)
  2. Kabbale mountain trail – the longest and most difficult (7 hrs.)
  3. Narangas Ella trail – trail stretches to a corner of the forest
  4. Giant Nawada tree trail

further on the trails..

If you are looking for a short trail, take the Anagimala Ella trail. This trail, taking you to the observation deck area at the Anagimala Ella is quite the easy trek. With a short walk on the paved routes, you can easily get to this waterfall.

The name Anagimala Ella has its own legend. Kanneliya is the home for a several villages. Once, a girl named Anagi (a village girl) had a incest relationship with her brother. Finding that she got pregnant by her brother, the villagers shamed her. Anagi – the girl, she committed suicide by jumping off this waterfall making it named after her – Anagi (girl) – Mala (died) – Ella (waterfall).

Just like at the Sinharaja rainforest, here at Kanneliya you can find the Giant Nawada Tree trail. Adding more time but lots of interesting plants and scenery to the trail, you can select between any of the trails at Kanneliya.

the river bath

We all love a cold splash of water after a hard trail, isn’t it? Kanneliya falls no short of this too. The safe to swim river stream at the entrance (Kanneliya Conservation Centre) gives the perfect opportunity for this.

The water is clean looking, fresh and cold. Surrounded by the trees and not-so-disturbed riverbeds, a dip on this pool of water sure makes a difference.

feeling hungry?

Could be that Kanneliya is still getting there but the food-facilities were not that great. There is a canteen at the entrance that serves Tea, buns and some short eats but nothing else.

But, the homes that are closer to the Kanneliya Entrance have started their own businesses and cooks up a fresh lunch upon your order. Don’t be expecting a 7-course meal but after a tiring trail and a cold water river bath, this homecooked lunch is to die for!

organized traveling

The Kanneliya Forest office has its own dormitory that is available for rent. Back in 2010, I have been here for about 2 nights and with meeting up our basic requirements, the staff did a really good job.

Call and reserve as it is usually full

If you are looking for the perfect family day outing from Colombo, or a day trip in Galle area, add Kanneliya to the list. The time is totally worth it, makes the trip more fun with the trails and especially the river bath.

No liquor is allowed within the premises and the officials check for your bags for polythene and plastics. Please refrain from taking any as there is very less disposal methods available at the moment.

For any nature-lover, travel enthusiast trying to find your next adventure, Kanneliya is the perfect start…

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