Horton Plains National Park
This highly distinctive landscape to the south of the Hill Country is unlike anywhere else on the island. Despite only encompassing a comparatively small 3,160 ha, Horton Plains is of extreme conservational and biodiversal importance since it contains most of the habitats and endemic plants and animals representative of the island’s wet and montane zones. Horton Plains is also immensely enjoyable to experience because you may go by foot on a circular route allowing you to really appreciate what it has to offer. You can spend as much time as you want observing birds, butterflies and endemic lizards or standing in the misty spray of Baker’s Falls while the ultimate highlight, the journey to World’s End, is a glimpse down a sheer cliff face of nearly one kilometre to the southern hill country below.Park consists of montane cloud forests embedded in wet montane grasslands. Horton Plains has rich biodiversity. Most of the fauna and flora found in the park are endemic and furthermore some of them are confined to highlands of the island.The Horton Plains National Park is the only National Park situated in the Hill Country and falls within the Nuwara Eliya district . Panoramic scenic beauty of the Hill Country could be witnessed within the Park.
The famous `Worlds End’ is a major attraction within the ParkThe World’s EndThe most awesome physical feature of the Horton Plains – and perhaps the whole of Sri Lanka – is the escarpment at the edge of the plateau that falls 880 metres to the lowlands of the southern region of the island creating an astonishing escarpment, revealing breathtaking views across much of the southern area of the island. The whole panoramic view is right in front of your naked eyes. Aptly known as World’s End, the view from the precipice of the countryside below towards the south coast is spectacular. Unfortunately, however, this view is often obscured by mist, especially during the rainy season from April to September. Dawn or early morning is undoubtedly the best time for observing it.FloraForests are dominated by Calophyllum sp. & Syzygium sp. Giant tree fern Cyathea sp. and colourful Rhododrendron are among the main attractions. Park is also famous for beautiful flowers of endemic Nellu , Bovitiya, Binara, and many other orchid species. Endemic dwarf Bamboo dominates the edges of the river while Chrysopogon zeylanicum and Garnotia mutica dominate the grasslands. Grasses have colonized the plains, such as the tutturi and the gawara , which prefers marshy areas. In addition, the dwarf bamboo is widespread along the banks of the streams.
The grasslands are interspersed with patches of dense montane cloud forest mainly consisting of the species known as keena . Although the canopy is up to 20 metres high, there are many stunted trees covered with trailing lichen called old man’s beard. Large tree ferns are dotted. The rhododendron, which is common on the Horton Plains, hasarrived from the Himalayas.FaunaFew large mammals inhabit the plains, like sambhur deer at dawn or dusk, slender loris, hares, the striped-necked mongoose and the long-tailed giant squirrel provide the most frequent sightings. The lighter skinned montane leopard, otter and rare bear monkeys will prove harder to find. You have much more of a chance of finding and observing many varieties of endemic lizards and frogs at really close range such as the horned lizard.Horton Plains is alive with birdsong. Residents include 12 species of endemic birds, as well as all six of the highland endemics such as the Sri Lanka blue magpie, the dusky blue flycatcher,the Sri Lanka white-eye, the Sri Lanka bush warbler, the Sri Lanka wood pigeon as well as the Sri Lanka spurfowl, the Sri Lanka junglefowl, yellow fronted barbet, rufous babbler and the Sri Lanka whistling thrush. Migrants such as the alpine swift and swiftlet as well as raptors, harriers and buzzards swooping silently in the sky above may also be observed on your harmonious walk around the park.