Horton plains

Horton Plains National Park is a protected area of 3,160 hectares (12.2 sq mi)

Situated in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It is also designated to be upgraded as a biosphere reserve in the future.

The plains’ vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest, and includes many endemic woody plants. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon. The park consists of many endemic plant species and most vital being its Orchids.

The Horton plains were discovered during the colonial period by a hunting party and named after the then governor of the island and until recently was a popular tourist destination. Out of all days, today would be considerably an early one, as the drive to Horton Plains National park is essentially important for a few reasons. Principle being seeing the elusive Ceylon Whistling-thrush, a bird on every birders wish list, also the best time to witness the beauty of the place is in the morning.

Apart from floral aspects the amphibians and reptiles found here are endemic too and second to no other place, the Rhino horned lizard resembles a denizen from the past and it is not rare encountering these creatures here.

Smooth coated Otter frequent the pools and streams found here and one reason venturing out here very early is to maximize the chances of seeing this elusive mammal. The mornings also bring out large herds of Sambar deer a spectacle seldom seen elsewhere.

A trek of approximately four Km will take us to little worlds end and beyond lies greater worlds end, a shear fall over 825 meters. The view here provided it’s not cloudy would be magnificent.

Other interesting species of birds would be the Ceylon Wood-pigeon, Sri Lanka Bush-warbler and the Crimson-backed Flameback.