Udawalawe national wild life park is situated 60 kilometers into the dry zone area of Ratnapura, This is the ideal place to watch elephants, Buffalo, crocodile and Leopard. It is home to many water birds and other big birds like eagle and kondore. The park is 120 square miles of grass land, marshes and tributaries of walawe river and part of the Udawalawe Tank. Safari Jeeps are operating from the entrance of the park whole day. The best time to visit the park is in the evening or morning. 44 variety of mammals have been found in the park, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.
“It’s not only the sacred footprint that pilgrims seek. As the first rays of dawn light up the holy mountain you are treated to an extremely fine view – the Hill Country rises to the east, while to the west the land slopes away to the sea. Colombo, 65km away, is easily visible on a clear day. It’s little wonder that English author John Stills, in his book Jungle Tide, described the peak as “one of the vastest and most reverenced cathedrals of the human race”. Interesting as the ascent is, and beautiful as the dawn is, Adam’s Peak saves its pièce de rèsistance for a few minutes after dawn. The sun casts a perfect shadow of the peak onto the misty clouds down towards the coast. As the sun rises higher this eerie triangular shadow races back towards the peak, eventually disappearing into its base.”
The trail covers from Tropical rain forests to Pygmy mountainous forests gradually, The journey will open you to the best possible panoramic view of the plains below and unique collection of flora and fauna
The season is usually from Full moon day in May to Full moon day in December where the rain fall is lower. During this period, The path is illuminated to to the top from the beginning at night.
There is no restriction to visit out of the season yet, You will not find any small shops along the way. If you prefer the solitude and the silence, You might appreciate the climb in out of season.
JOURNEY FROM RATNAPURA SIDE
There are two routes from Ratnapura side, One from Palabaddala and one from Eratne. These rotes are bit longer but provide the best scenery along the way.
The recommended route is climb from the Palabaddala side and climb down to Eratne. Local bus services are available from Ratnapura town to Eratne and Palabaddala throughout the year. you can always hire took took for a budget price or hire a car or van for drop off and pick up. We can arrange the drop off and pick up if you wish.
Beware, The there are no rescue teams, Only the locals or Police will help in case of an emergency, The help can take long time to reach. The trek is relatively easy compared to via ferrata. Yet accidents can happen. Take extreme care to cross the streams when the water levels are high. Leeches can stick to you from tree branches, they are harmless, use a piece of soap to take them out.
Light weight rucksack
First aid kit
Towel and soap
Sweater or jacket
Biscuit, Cheese or any other dry rations. Bananas for energy
Light umbrella or a simple rain jacket.
Torch, match box.
Last but not least, a good Jersey or thermal jacket, Wind chill factor can be very high at the sumeet.
The journey can be accomplished in many ways
Day trip can be tiring and requires lot of stamina, Not advised to do alone as wild animals come out at night. Do this if you are short of time and experienced.
start the climb early in the morning. Reach the summit in the evening view the sunset and climb down at night
Start the ascend at night and reach the summit in one helm to see the sunrise, Take a rest, Then around 9:00am start to climb down. you are back in town for a good night’s sleep.
TWO DAY TRIP
If you really want to enjoy the trip, This is the right approach. Start in the morning leisurely and reach Andiyamalathanna (8km). From here you can continue to reach the summit (If you want to see the both sun set and sun rise, You can spend the night at the peak.) at one helm to see the sunset, or rest in Andiyamalathanna and climb the last part early in the morning to see the sunrise, Then around 9:00am start to climb down. At the hills temperatures can drop to 5 degrees Celsius. With the wind factor, it can be really chilly, Make sure you have proper clothing. During the peak season especially on weekends the paths can be crowded so it is always better to stay at Andiyamalathanna.
Sinharaja as you already aware is a reserved rain forest, which has been designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO due to it’s uniqueness and abundance of bio diversity. If you are keen to be in the wilderness where the only sounds you hear is of nature and nature itself, You will find this, an ideal place to be. What better place to learn about a rain forest than being in one it self! The density of the forest makes it difficult to spot wild animals, But leopards, Elephants and deer roam in this jungle.
The best advice is, leave early, take the whole day out for the trip. Enjoy a trek in a leisurely manner until noon. Then Dip in a stream and cool your self. Find something to eat and spend the evening walking around.
Depending on the circumstances (weather, trekking) and your own expectations (Read Trip Adviser), you may enjoy this place or you might not, Let us give you some honest facts about the place and based on that decide your self to visit this place and if you do how to get the best out of it.
The journey to the place itself is fun, through the narrow winding country roads passing many tea and rubber plantations and water streams.
The starting place is the Kudawa Conservation Centre (KCC), where you can obtain a permit to enter the city. You can drive up to this place and park your vehicles. the nearest town is Waddagala, There are buses from Ratnapura to Waddagala frequently. it is approximately 50km. You can take a Three Wheeler from the town to KCC.
To learn about the forest, you must hire a good guide who can speak English and not prepared to rip you off, Knowing the charges before and applying some common sense, you will be able to get hold of a good guide,
We can recommend you few people that is guaranteed that you are not over charged.
The next step is how far you can walk inside the thick jungle, It rains most of the time and it is good to be soaked once in a while, When it is dry, it is humid, so take water and something to eat with you. Once in a while you can immerse yourself in a waterfall or a pool of water, so have a towel a swim short
When it is wet, leeches are everywhere, They are pretty harmless and the easiest way to get rid of them is a small piece of soap. Do not expect animals to be aware of your visit and parade themselves so you can get the shot that beat the best nature photographer in National geographic.
You will always see some animals, But do not expect to cover all of them. Do not expect huge scary animals, you would mostly spot lizards (monitor too), snakes(most of them are harmless), birds, monkeys, lots of butterflies, wild plants, insects and many more.
There is a short trail and a long trail. For a family, The short trail is recommended as little kids can get tired quite quickly.
Sitting in well-irrigated valleys between Adam’s Peak and Sinharaja Forest Reserve, busy Ratnapura (‘City of Gems’ in Sanskrit) is a famous trading centre for the area’s ancient wealth of gem stones. The region’s wet and humid climate encourages the formation of riverbeds, which are the perfect environment for gem stones to develop.
There are several ‘gem museums’ that contain modest displays on gem lore, along with less-than-modest showrooms where you’re encouraged to purchase ‘local’ gems at ‘local’ prices.
The outskirts of town are dotted with gem mines and, although none cater specifically to tourists, most guesthouses can arrange visits.
You can also observe gem merchants selling their wares along Saviya St northeast of the clock tower. The biggest local gem market, however, convenes most mornings (poya full-moon days being an exception) in Newitigala, a 40-minute drive away. Both markets are usually over by 3pm.
Another reason to visit Ratnapura is that it’s the take-off point for one of the oldest routes up Adam’s Peak. Peak-baggers and pilgrims pick up the Gilimalai pilgrimage route from the road head at Carney Estate, 15km, or one hour, away from Ratnapura by bus. It takes six to eight hours to reach the top of the peak, and five to seven hours to descend.