Makandawa Rain Forest is the oldest rainforest in Sri Lanka and is located close to Kitulgala in the Kegalle District of the Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Covers an area of 1155 hectares. Makandawa Reserve has been declared as a Forest of about 192 hectares by Gazette Notification No. 5911 dated 11th September 1903.
Expanding as a forest system associated with the Kelani Valley Reserve, the Makandawa Reserve is a watershed forest on the Kelani River that provides protection to many of the rarest species of biologically valuable species. Makandawa Reserve is home to some of the world's most endemic flora and fauna. Only a few Balanocarpus kitulgallensis plants of the genus Dipterocarpaceae (Dipterocarpaceae) recorded in this area of the world remain in this forest reserve.
Several rare species of orchids endemic to Sri Lanka are found in this reserve. The only aquatic orchid species recorded in Sri Lanka is found only in the Makanda Reserve.
About 411 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and butterflies are recorded in this forest. Of these, 119 species are endemic to Sri Lanka.
Makanda is also an unknown destination for bird watchers around the world.
From Karawanella on the way to Kitulgala, the entrance to Kitulgala Rest House is about 500 km to the right of Kitulgala town. After passing that road you will come across the ferry road on the left. From there you can reach the reserve by boat across the river from the ferry near the Kitulgala rest house.