Popham's Arboretum, Dambulla

#4 of 19 in Things to do in Dambulla
A unique Arboretum in Sri Lanka's dry zone established 1963 on 7.5 acres of thorny scrub jungle and abandoned ‘Chena’ land in Dambulla which is in the geographical center of our island, where history and culture merge amidst a natural landscape of water and mountains. In 1999 further 27 acres were acquired and added to the arboretum.

Come and experience the wonders of the dry zone forest, meander along marked walking trails with our well informed guides, spend a while at our visitor center and museum housed in Sam Popham's cottage designed by Geoffrey Bawa.

What to see at the Arboretum

• Timber Trees: 102 species

• Medicinal Plants: 72 species

• Flowering Plants: 20 species

(All together 282 plants belonging to 67 families with Herbaceous, climbers and parasites)

• Mammals including bats:

• Birdlife: 83 species with migrants

• Butterflies: 67 species

• Dragonflies: 12species


Rooms are available for those nature lovers who wish to have a little comfort. Tents are available for those who prefer the outdoors. A night safari is also offered as part of the package, where, depending on your luck you could see the shy Mouse deer, Pangolin, False vampire bat, spotted deer, Rusty-spotted cat, and the Loris as they come out to feed in the early part of the night, as well ideal place for Bird watching....


Inexpensive meals could be ordered locally

Eco tours to the Menikdena, Sigiriya, Pidurangala, could be organized with a trained guide.

The Popham Arboretum is run for educational purpose for our future generation.

Your valuable donation/contribution for its upkeep is welcome
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Popham's Arboretum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
147 reviews
  • We went there during the day time and at the moment there were no guide and we were asked to go in, there were arrows colored in different colors to make our way easier we followed pink route and we g...  more »
  • Very disappointing the way the guide treated us. We had a very nice intro from another guide who explained us about the entire project (very nice preservation plan). We were supposed to walk 1 / 1 and...  more »
  • Very interesting place , surrounded with trees, herbs and plants. Leant about lots of indigenous plants, and you can find birds, insects, and species. Lovely place to have a work, many tail paths are available you can choose it as your interest and time, direction is given by boards and signs.
  • Got to know about a lot of indigenous plants and trees lovely experience with the experienced guide. Its run on donations. So do donate to continue the conservation work.
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