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HORTON PLAINS - WORLD'S END

HORTON PLAINS - WORLD'S END

The great plains of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka were discovered by the planter Thomas Farr in the early 19th century. In 1834 it was named Horton Plains in honor of then Governor of Ceylon (1831-1837) Sir Robert Wilmot Horton. In the year 1969, Horton Plains was declared a nature reserve. In 1988, the reserve was elevated to the status of a National Park. Horton Plains in Sri Lanka, is the coldest and windiest location in the country. It consists of ecosystems such as Montane evergreen forests, grasslands, marshy lands and aquatic ecosystem. At an altitude of 2,100 meters (7,200 feet) above sea level, and is located 32km from Nuwara Eliya via Ambewela and Pattipola road. Horton Plains is spread over the southern ridge of the central highlands in between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale. The tourists approaching Horton Plains from Nuwara Eliya find an entrance point at Pattipola while those approaching from Haputale find an entrance point at Ohiya. Three kilometers drive from either entrance leads to the newly built visitors center. Visitors center exhibits interesting displays on the history of flora and fauna of Horton Plains. Horton Plains was made a Nature Reserve in 1969 and upgraded as a National Park in 1988 due to its unique watershed and bio-diversity values. Its flora has a high level of endemism, and its undulating hills are covered with diverse wet low evergreen forest with large trees growing flattened to the ground on the high windswept slopes. Horton Plains harbours 52 species of resident birds and 11 species of migrant birds. More than 2,000 to 3,000 sambhur dear, monkey, leopard, barking deer, giant squirrel, fishing cat, wild boar and hare roam the forests and grasslands but are seldom seen except for the Sambhur, which comes out onto the plains to feed in the early morning and late evening hours. Baker’s fall, named after the British hunter and explorer Samuel Baker should also be visited when at Horton Plains. This is the only National Park where visitors can walk without a game warden along designated trail. Horton Plains spreads across over 3,169 hectares of the highest tableland of the island. In view of the large number of endemic flora and fauna species, Horton Plains was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 30th July 2010.

World’s End is a frightening escarpment offering stunning views of the lowlands and is located at the edge of Horton Plains. World’s End has a vertical drop of about 1,000 feet and continues to drop a little less steeply for another 4,000 feet. For best viewing conditions get there before 10am to be able see the silver rim of the Indian Ocean to the South as mist tends to obscure vision after that.

The Climate of Horton Plains is that of a wet Montane forest. The average annual temperature of 14-16⁰ Centigrade while the humidity is relatively low at 65%. Though annual rainfall of the highlands is about 2540mm, Horton Plains records over 5000 mm of rainfall annually.

During the dry season, the temperature drops to around 5⁰ Centigrade in the day time. Swept with strong gale force winds at times, over-night frost is fairly common.

The gently rolling plateau of Horton Plains at the southern end of the central Montane massif of Sri Lanka is interspersed with network of streams and channels. The Montane forest is also the source of three major rivers of Sri Lanka: River Mahaweli-the longest river of Sri Lanka, River Walave and River Kelani. Still more, Horton Plains is bounded by the country’s second and third highest mountain peaks of Sri Lanka: Mount Kirigalpotta Kanda (2389 m) and Mount Thotupola Kanda (2357 m).

The most frequent site of wildlife at Horton Plains are herds of Sambar Deer. Among the other mammals in the park are Strip-necked Mongoose, Long-tailed Giant Squirrel Wild Boar, the endemic Bear Monkey and Toque Monkey, Fishing cat, Otter and

All of the Montane endemics of Sri Lanka are found in Horton Plains. Sri Lanka bush warbler, Dull-Blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka whistling thrush and the yellow-eared bulbul, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Sri Lanka White-eye, Spot-winged Thrush, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Scaly Thrush, Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Brown-capped Babbler, Sri Lanka Spur-fowl and Sri Lanka Jungle-fowl. Other highlights are the Himalayan migrants Pied Thrush, Kashmir Flycatcher & Indian Pitta. Black Bird, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Black Eagle, Jerdon’s Baza, Pied Bush chat, Hill Swallow and Hill Munia.

Now the Horton Plains has become a happy field of herds of Sambar Deer. However, the growth population of Sambar Deer has resulted in the increase of number of Leopards. Wild Boar, the endemic Bear Monkey and Toque Monkey, Slender Loris, Fishing cat, Otter, Barking deer, Strip-necked Mongoose, Long-tailed Giant Squirrel are some of the other mammals found here.

Until a century ago, Horton Plains was rich with Elephants. Then the whole population was hunted down to extinction by the British colonialists in Sri Lanka then called Ceylon. Today Horton Plains is the only national park in Sri Lanka where elephants aren’t seen at all.

Best time to visit Horton place is November to March. But through out the year can visit except heavy rainy day.

 

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    "We came for a wedding and then embarked on an amazing holiday. Cyril show us magnificent sights and scenery of Sri Lanka. To do the country just we need to return with more time. Many of the sites we visited just made us want to know more about them, even though Cyril was a fountain of knowledge. We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Cyril and his excellent company, and it was so nice to go home a guardian angel looking after us. He is consistently courteous & good humored and now fe..." Andy Powell UK

    "Cyril was our driver and guide for the last nine days. We had the comfortable white Toyota van shown in the pic - it was just as clean and shiny, and not a scratch on it. He is clearly a very skilled driver. He is particularly knowledgeable about the history of the many places we visited. We were pleased we had Cyril as our driver. He had been recommended to us by an acquaintance. Andrew Speirs Melbourne, Australia Travel period 04 Jan - 12 Jan 2018" Mr. Andrew an Mrs. Suzy Speirs from Australia

    "Dear Cyril, We would like to thank youthat you have arrange ourholiday which we have enjoyed so much, that we can call them the best holiday we have ever had. You are avery helpful guide- because you know about your beautiful country very much. We also appriciate your advices that you gave us during our two weeks long journey and your  perfect trip arrangement we have enjoyed every single day. All the best to you and your family. Hope to see you again. Martha & Jarda   08 No..." Martha & Jaroslav Jirout

    "We had an excellent and memorable trip and all credits to Cyril. In-depth knowledge about the places, roads and history and culture. From the airport assistance - Food, accommodation provided and the vehicle was excellent. Very matured and patient, We being on safe hands.  Thanks for making it a memorable experience for all of us.  " Aubry De Souza and group from Dubai

    "We had a fantastic holiday in Sri Lanka, thanks Cyril Tours, Our driver, Amiila, was brilliant and nothing was too much trouble for him. The places we visited were really interesting and we saw some lovely scenery.I would definitely recommend your company to other people. Emma - UK 2010 December " Emma Patterson

    "If you ever plan to visit Sri Lanka (and I think you should) this is your guide!!! Martha Iordanidou  - Thesoloneki - Greece  " Martha Iordanidou

    "Thank you so much for wonderful Sri Lanka trip.We had a great time. The trip was very relaxing as well as fun. My daughter MAHI who lovingly started calling you "Cyril Dada"(grand farther) Had a memorable trip. She cannot stop talking about elephants. Our trip to Sri Lanka will be full of great memories, its because of you. Thank you for showing us your beautiful country the way we wanted, eating local food, lots of King coconut and Corn stops. We will be surely coming back  to see rest o..." Mithil Patel

    "We are an older couple celebrating a lot of years of marriage (and hiking) in Sri Lanka in February this year, for two weeks, and three days in the Maldives. Although we love to drive, we chose to go with a driver-guide, after planning the trip completely independently. (It turned out he might help us in the planning and selection of hotels, we own). The main advantage is reaching the sites, some of which are tired, refreshed after someone else used to bad roads, with bad signage - If you are i..." Sam

    "Cyril Tours is a very good agency. Because we did use it from 01st of March to 14 March 2013. From the start till end of our emails, he has (Mr.Cyril) given all required details. Also he send us very detailed itinerary with pictures. Actually no need guide after go through it.Cyril Tours is not a big agency. He was a guide in Sri Lanka more than 26 years. Many clients recommend him to their friends and to relatives who want to visit Sri Lanka.They asked from him to travel, that is why he be..." John and Mary from Canada

    "Hello, We had 2 weeks exploring Sri Lanka and for most of that time Cyril drove for usto various towns, sites of interest. Cyril wsa a very pleasant chauffeur. Always prompt and greeted us with a smile. He was well informed about the sites we visited and pointed out many interesting historical buildings en-route. We had a great 2 weeks in Sri Lanka and Cyril's plesant and helpful nature contributed to this briliant holiday. Thank Cyril Sara and Steve from Birmingham, England" Sara and Steve

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