Climbing the 2nd highest mountain of Sri Lanka and hiking in the Knuckles Mountain Range

Besteigung des Kirigalpottha 2.388m
There’s a lot more to Sri Lanka than beautiful beaches and Ayurveda. The highlands of this tropical island lure you in with a breathtaking combination of high mountains, wild streams and dense, mysterious rainforests.

A bit of walking and a bit of watching in the mountains of Sri Lanka.


individualPersonlized trip: You can choose the date that better suits you!

Prices for travels between 01. November-30. April
2-3 people: 2.650 EUR/person
4-5 people: 1.990 EUR/person
6-10 people: 1.730 EUR/person

Prices for travels between 01. May-31. October
2-3 people: 2.540 EUR/person
4-5 people: 1.930 EUR/person
6-10 people: 1.680 EUR/person

Best time of travel: February-September


ආයුබෝවන්

Ayubowan!

The Sinhalese greeting

 

The hiking trails through the damp evergreen jungle offer an exciting contrast to the traditional routes found in temperate climates. Hiking isn’t yet a widely practiced sport here, and the animals aren’t used to the constant flow of people we consider normal in our natural parks. Compared to the shy fauna and relative stillness of the domesticated forests of Europe, the jungle here feels vibrant, awake, and very loud! We are very excited to explore these fascinating and rarely visited routes.

 

As a highlight of the trip we will climb the Kirigalpotta, the second tallest mountain of the island, which with its 2388 meters is in fact the highest summit of Sri Lanka open to the public. Before that, we will hike a couple of days through the Knuckles Mountain Range, following routes at the same time challenging and memorable, making for an unforgettable experience. Between the Knuckles and the Kirigalpotta are several more beautiful walks planned. In any case, this is not a tour that will give you time to get bored. 😉

 

Before all that, of course, we’ll visit a few cultural highlights such as the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, and after the (hopefully) successful ascent to Kirigalpotta we will end the tour with – of course! – some well deserved days relaxing at the beach.

 

 

Important points in our trip

 



Detailprogramm

Day 1
Flight from home

Day 2
Arrival in Colombo
Finally here! We will be waiting for you at the airport to welcome you and then take you to a beautifully situated guest house in a village 40 km northwest of Colombo (approx. 1-hour-long drive). -, -, D

The Skyline of Colombo

Day 3
First Impressions
An easy, approximately 6 km long hike is on the program today. We walk for about three hours through coconut plantations and rice fields. In this way we can get used to the weather (unusual for us) and get some first insights of the island life. We stop for lunch at a local restaurant or a family house. Very simple but very authentic food is on the menu. In the afternoon, we return to our accommodation and enjoy a few more hours in and by the pool. BF,L,D

Day 4
Rock Fortress Sigiriya
After a good 3 hour drive we reach the world famous Rock Fortress Sigiriya, built in the 5th century AD: a palace complex perched high on a massive rock with nothing to envy to the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. The frescoes of the “cloud girls” can be found in a protected angle of the rock. Let yourself be captivated by the intense (and bloody) story of Sigiriya. The climb is tiring but the astounding views from the top are well worth the effort.

Afterwards, it’s a 40 minute drive to the impressive Dambulla cave temple, a World Heritage Site with sculptures and ceiling paintings over 2,000 year old. And then still a bit more to go: after approximately 2 hours we arrive at our accommodation at the edge of the Knuckles Mountain Range. BF,-,D

Rock Fortress Sigiriya

Day 5+6
Hiking in the wilderness of the Knuckles Mountains
The hikes are quite demanding. In 2 days we will hike a total of up to 20 hours (depending on the weather) and cover approximately 25 kilometers. Depending on the season, strong winds, cold and rain are to be expected.

Probability of rain – lowest: June-September; low: March-May, moderate: December-February, high: September-November.

The wilderness of the Knuckles Mountain Range includes semi- to evergreen forests in the lowlands and over 34 peaks with altitudes between 900 and 1900 meters. We start early in the morning, walking through, over or by rivers, mountains, waterfalls, caves, rock formations, big roots, bushes and very steep slopes, sometimes surrounded by sudden and dense mountain mist. We have to remain flexible and adapt to the terrain and the weather conditions, and set camp spontaneously if necessary. But you get a more “pure” adventure experience, a lost-in-the-jungle feeling. This is not a tour for risk averse people, but for those who have the courage or even the need to feel challenged. When you are open and ready for everything, and learn to accept and adapt to what gets in your way, you can enjoy a much richer and fuller experience.

You should expect temperatures between 5,5 and 35 degrees Celsius, high wind speeds in exposed locations and a humidity between 50 and 90%. Sounds tough, but an incredible variety of animals and plants thrives under these conditions, and this should inspire you. Now attention! In case of unpredictable weather, very unfavorable or uncontrollable conditions, the hike may need to be extended to 3 days instead of 2! In such a case, the program for day 7 or 8 will be canceled!

On day 6 we finally reach a remote village located under one of the most beautiful mountains in Sri Lanka, in the middle of a 30,000-hectares-wide range. We stay with a local family under very basic conditions, and spend the night on the ground in a shared room. BF,L,D

Hiking in the Knuckles Mountain Range

Day 7
Hike & Safari
Today’s hike is a bit easier than on the days before. We walk over 5 hours and cover about 11.5 km. Total ascent: 147 m, total descent: 420 m, altitude difference 277 m.

We start from the village and after a short while we enter the forest, where we walk on rough trails over hills and down valleys, following or crossing streams and rivers. We pass through areas virtually untouched, home to a large and varied population of wild elephants, sambar deer and eagles. At noon we have a picnic on the bank of a river or on a rock in the middle of the jungle. Once we arrive at our destination it’s time to get again into the vehicle. We drive about 20 km to a national park and enjoy an elephant safari. Overnight stay in the guesthouse. BF,L,D

Day 8
Treehouse by the lake
Today we hike again, this time in the southeastern part of the island. The route is easy, stretching about 10 km that we walk in around 3 to 4 hours.

In the morning we relax. We start the hike after lunch, making our way over flat terrain and rice fields to a village inhabited by the indigenous peoples of Sri Lanka. At night we sleep in a tree hut next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, which we also cross in a boat. Blankets, pillows and a mosquito net are provided. BF,L,D

Quaint night on a tree hut by the lake

Day 9
Breathtaking views
Today’s trekking falls into the medium difficulty category, covering about 14 kilometers in approximately 6 hours. We cross the lake once again and then drive about 2 hours before continuing on foot. We walk past tea plantations and endless sweet-grass fields, enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. After about three hours we reach a small isolated village inhabited by some 200 people. Here we will rest briefly before starting the next 3-hour-long walk to the meeting point, where our support car is waiting. After a two-hour drive we finally reach the place where we will rest and relax this evening and tomorrow. BF,L,D

Day 10
Hiking or Relaxing?
And what is on the program today? Relax! A day resting by the pool, surrounded by wonderful views of the mountains. Yes, this is also Sri Lanka.

But if you can’t stand inactivity even for one day, you have the option for an extra charge (for the guide) to go on a good 2-3 hours, 4-5 km hike to the highest waterfall on the island. BF,-,D

Pool with a view: a great payoff after the hardships of the last few days!

Day 11
The devil stairs
Medium difficulty hike, approx. 7 hours and 15 km long.

We start at the hotel early in the morning and walk through a dramatic scenery of remote villages, green tea gardens, small streams, fern groves and rhododendron forests. At the end of the hike, we drive for 30 minutes and walk for another 15 minutes to our accommodation, a very simple one where we share a multi-bed hall and sleep on the ground. BF,L,D

Day 12
The ascent: Kirigalpottha
The day has finally come: in a medium to advanced hike we take 7 to 10 hours to climb the 2388 meters of the Kirigallpotta, the highest mountain on the island accessible to the general public. As is true when talking about mountain weather, you can expect different combinations of strong winds, cold weather and rain – or all at the same time, or none at all!

We are now in the Horton Plains National Park, located in the central highlands and known for its mountainous grasslands and cloud forests. We must pay careful attention to the terrain and its many slippery passages, but the stunning nature makes it all worth it. Around noon we reach the summit, and we can stop for a few moments to breathe deeply and admire the view. After returning to the entrance of the National Park, we get in our vehicle and drive Nuwara Eliya where we spend the night in a hotel. BF,L,D

Have a cup of tea made in Sri Lanka!

Day 13
Off to the beach
In the morning you have some time to explore the city Nuwara Eliya. Around noon we drive for a good 5 hours through the world’s largest tea growing area until we reach the Indian Ocean, where we will spend the final days with our toes in the hot sand and the refreshing water, watching the fishermen catching up on the nets. BF,L,D

Day 14 and 15
At the beach
How will you spend the last days? On the beach, by the pool, strolling through the once small fishing village of Negombo, now a booming city near Colombo, or enjoying a very thorough Ayurvedic massage, which we can gladly reserve in advance? Do as you wish, it is completely up to you! But above all, do one thing: properly enjoy the last few days before heading back home. BF, -, –

Spend the last days relaxing at the beach

Day 16
Adieu Sri Lanka!
We will drive you to the airport and wish you a good flight back home! BF,-,-


Prices and Dates

Prices for travels between 01. November-30. April
2-3 people: 2.650 EUR/person
4-5 people: 1.990 EUR/person
6-10 people: 1.730 EUR/person

Prices for travels between 01. May-31. October
2-3 people: 2.540 EUR/person
4-5 people: 1.930 EUR/person
6-10 people: 1.680 EUR/person

 


Services included

  • English-speaking tour guide from welcoming dinner on day 2 until the end of the program on day 13
  • Colombo Airport transfer by English-speaking driver
  • Acclimatized taxi (or minivan/bus, depending on group size) / the vehicle may have to be changed in case of difficult conditions (weather, terrain, etc)
  • Local guide on the hiking days
  • Camping equipment according to local standards
  • National park and highlights entrance fees and permits according to the detailed program
  • Lake boat trip on Days 8 and 9
  • Accommodation and catering:
    – 6 nights in middle-class hotels
    – 4 nights in guest houses
    – 2 nights in tents and/or camping cabins
    – 1 night in a family house or shared bedroom cabin
    – 1 night in a tree hut on camping mats / Pit toilet. No electricity and no shower. Camping mats, blankets, pillows and mosquito net are provided.
  • Meals according to detailed program

 

Not included

  • Flights
  • Insurance (Travel insurance is recommended)
  • Tips
  • Drinks
  • Visa for Sri Lanka
  • Vaccines
  • Additional costs due to illness, accident, delays and/or changes on the route due to force majeure.
  • Additional costs due to flights cancellation and/or delays.

 

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