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Imagine standing on the edge of the cliff, looking out across rolling valleys dotted with tiny tea plantations some 4,000 feet below. The aptly-named World’s End viewpoint is the most popular attraction in Horton Plains National Park - and it’s not difficult to see why. Trust us when we say the views really will take your breath away.
At 2,100 feet above sea level, Horton Plains is one of the highest (and coldest) points of Sri Lanka. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site too. Famous for its spectacular scenery and rich biodiversity, it’s home to a large number of endemic animals and plant life. On top of that, there are vast areas of Montane cloud forest, some of Sri Lanka’s highest mountains and three of its major rivers, plus the scenic Baker’s Falls.
If you really want to get away from it all and spend some quality time with nature, this is the place to go.
As expected, hiking is the most popular activity in Horton Plains National Park. You can take your pick from numerous trails weaving through the forests and valleys. One of the most popular treks starts at the visitor’s centre, taking you on a 9km circular trail through beautiful grasslands and cloud forests where wild spices grow.
The star attraction is the World’s End precipice, located on the southern edge of the plateau. On a clear day, you can enjoy uninterrupted views all the way to the island’s southern coast. A word of warning though - you’ll need to get there before 10am to avoid the mist, especially during the wettest months of May, June and July.
After visiting World’s End, a walking trail will take you towards another picturesque location, Baker’s Fall. Cameras at the ready!
If you love wildlife, you won’t be disappointed. The most commonly sighted animals in the park is the sambar deer, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you might also spot rare species like toque monkeys, slender loris, the stripe-necked mongoose and the long-tailed giant squirrel. Bird-watchers will be in their element too, with an abundance of exotic species to keep an eye out for, including the Sri Lanka bush warbler and Sri Lanka jungle fowl.
If you want to learn more about the flora and fauna, the park’s visitor centre has some interesting displays and exhibits which are worth checking out.
Horton Plains National Park is spread over Sri Lanka’s central highlands in between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale.
The park can get crowded on the weekends and on public holidays. If you’re planning on visiting World’s End (and you definitely should), it’s best to visit in the mornings before the clouds start to appear.
You can choose to pay for a guide at the park’s official office, which will cost around 800 Rs. Volunteer guides are also available, but you may have to pay a donation of a similar amount.
Make sure you wear comfortable walking boots and a sunhat. Bear in mind that the weather can quickly change, so it’s worth bringing some warm layers in case it gets chilly. It’s also a good idea to bring sunscreen, plenty of water and a backpack with some food if you’re spending all day in the park.
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