A Solo Traveller’s Guide to Exploring Horton Plains
Going solo in Horton Plains National Park and wondering how exactly it can be done? Fret not. Hiking in the park is completely safe and quite easy, as long as your fitness levels are up to the mark. Pack your essentials – avoid carrying plastics as this is prohibited, and you’ll be just fine. Our guide gives you ample information on camping, nature trails and popular attractions situated within the boundaries of the nature reserve.
1. Baker’s Falls
If you do choose one of the older nature trails in the nature reserve, this particular cascade of water is arguably, the first major attraction you will witness when you walk along the uneven terrain. This waterfall is named after the famous British explorer, Sir Samuel Baker, and is 20 metres high, with two distinctive drops. Keep in mind though that you will be trekking through some difficult terrain, which requires trekking shoes, trekking gear, and is also highly advisable to have a backpack with essentials such as water and food.
2. World’s End
The World’s End is what makes the Horton Plains National Park a popular one, as many consider it to be the best observation deck of the island’s hill country. This attraction is a sheer cliff that allows you to see the surrounding mountains of two provinces, along with many other interesting features.The nature trail that leads you to the World’s End is similar to the trail leading to Baker’s Falls, but a bit more easier, as it is well marked. Regardless, it is advisable that you come clad in the right hiking gear, along with essentials. The path takes you through some amazing scenery, which also allows you to witness some interesting wildlife as well, such as the Sambar Deer and the Jungle Fowl, but nothing compares to the stunning vistas of the hill country from the cliff. From here, you can see the central highlands in all its glory, and if you are lucky, you might also be able to see the southern coast too on a clear day.
3. Kirigalpoththa Mountain
Dubbed as the second highest mountain of Sri Lanka, exploring the Kirigalpoththa Mountain is not an easy task, as the trail is not clearly demarcated. Therefore, it is highly advised that you take a guide with you on your climb. Moreover, the grassy plains in which you have to pass through are akin to that of a typical swamp, so having the right trekking shoes is highly advisable along with the right gear and essentials. The journey up to the summit, which lies at an elevation level of 2388 metres above sea level is a difficult one and can be quite dangerous since the trail to the summit leads you through some sheer cliff drops as well. The view at the summit though is something that you are guaranteed to cherish throughout your life, as you are able to see the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. The view is so amazing that you are even able to see the distant Ambewela Farm, and a part of Nuwara Eliya on a clear day.
4. Thotupola Mountain
This mountain strays away from the difficulty level of Kirigalpoththa, as a clear path is demarcated, and does not take you through uneven terrain. The trek up top takes you through some great viewing points that allow you to understand the vastness of the park, along with some other interesting sceneries. If there is no cloud cover, and if you time it right, you will be able to witness trains pass through the nearby Pattipola railway station in the distance from the summit, which towers at 2357 metres above sea level. Moreover, this particular mountain is also steeped in myth, as it is believed to be a landing point of King Ravana’s Dandumonaraya (aircraft) more than 4000 years ago, according to the Ramayana.
Camping can be done in various ways and depends on your preference. You could opt for a travel company to assist you in your camping trip, or you could be independent and sort it out by yourself. If you are a nomad and prefer the latter, it is advised to consult with the authorities first so that you know the safest areas to set up camp, since the weather and other external factors affect these places periodically. All you need are basic camping equipment and hiking gear!