At an altitude of 2,100 meters above sea level, Horton Plains National Park can easily pass off as one of the coldest and windiest locations in Sri Lanka. As it is located in the central highlands, its landscape is mainly montane evergreen forest and grasslands. Horton Plains is home to numerous endemic species of flora and fauna, such that it has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Horton Plains is located about 193 Km from Colombo. However, it is only about 30Km from Nuwara Eliya, also known as Sri Lanka’s little England. Because of this, it is advisable to make Horton Plains an excursion from your visit to Nuwara Eliya. This park is to be explored on foot and the 10 Km trail includes all the highlights of the Park. The best time to visit is during the morning as clouds tend to develop during the afternoon inhibiting visibility from the viewpoints.
Sambhur deer and Slender Loris
While the last of the elephants left the region in the 1940’s the vast number of Sambhur deer will make up for it. Toque macaques and Purple-faced Langurs are in abundance and you will surely see them making the best of the cloud forest around them. The Horton Plains Slender Loris is considered to be one of the world’s most endangered primates. Consider yourself lucky if you see one. 21 species of endemic birds are known to inhabit the skies of the plains, four of which are found nowhere else on the island.
The highlight of Horton Plains would have to be World’s End. This is a sheer precipice with a drop of about 1200 meters. Take your time to appreciate the magnificent panoramic view from Worlds End. On a clear morning, you might even see the southern coastline. Be sure to get there early though, as heavy mist develops after 10 am. 200 meters from Worlds end is another attraction; Baker’s Falls. This waterfall comes in at around 20 metres and makes for great pictures.
Horton Plains National Park is worth a visit for it is so different from other national parks in Sri Lanka. If safaris in the heat of the sun aren’t your thing, Horton Plains is certainly the place to be.