Friday, January 17, 2014

A Quick Guide to Camping in Horton Plains

The idea behind this post is to offer a quick insight into the 3 campsites in Horton Plains. We had camped out on campsites 1 and 2 in the past several years, but this year when we wanted to camp out on site 3, we weren't able to find any detailed comparisons on all three sites. So as I have been able to camp out on all 3 sites thought of drafting this breif post on the 3 campsites in Horton Plains.

To put things in perspective this is the latest update from January 2014.

Booking the Campsites

You would have to visit the Wild Life Department Office in Battaramulla to make a reservation to any of these campsites. It would cost you LKR 2500 per day, and you could accommodate upto 10 people. If you are travelling by a vehicle they will charge you a vehicle fee at the park entrance which would be around LKR 280.

Wildlife Offce Contact Number - 0112888585

Getting There

If you are travelling through public transport, its advised to take the Fort-Badulla train and get off at Pattipola or Ohiya stations, from there its a ascending hike of around 9kms, but if you are taking a TukTuk it will cost around LKR 1500-2000, which is worth-it if you are carrying lot of camping gear.

A rough map of the 3 campsites in Horton Plains

Horton Plains Campsite 01

This is the closest campsite to the Wildlife Conservation Office. This is my favorite camping site out of all 3. If you are camping for the first time I would recommend to book this. It doesn't have much space to camp out, but has easy access to constantly running stream of water, which will make your life much easier. It is also completly sealed off from the public eye, giving you much privacy.

The campsite is located on a small island like strip of land with water on three sides.
Getting there - below is the campsite 1

Best thing about campsite 1, a great flowing stream just next to your site.

campsite 1, its covered by the stream from all other 3 sides.

Horton Plains Campsite 02

You could camp here if all other options are out. This campsite is located just across the hiking path to World's End, so you will have visitors passing by your campsite during the daytime. So you will not have much privacy unless you are inside the tent. However, this campsite is located closer to the Chimney Pool, which is a great place to have a wash and a bath.

But I would recommend to avoid this if possible as this doesn't have much privacy and on a weekend the path would get really busy with visitors.But if privacy is not a concern it is a great place to camp as it has easy access to running water.

campsite 2 - Water Bund at campsite 2 (other than privacy, its a great place to camp)

Horton Plains Campsite 03

This campsite is located between campsites 1 and 2, and has a lot of space to setup your tent. However, the only downfall here is that you would have to walk around 100 meters along the water stream to get to a decent place to have a wash, as water just in-front are stagnant and  harder to access.

Since its not covered by larger mountains like on campsite 1, it has a great view at night and in the morning.
Campsite 3 is seen ahead, this is from the path to campsite 1 which is to the right
Campsite 3 is seen ahead- the picture is taken from where you can get access to running water, so you would have to walk a bit to have a good wash

General Tips 

  • All campsites are located within around 500ms from the Horton Plains Wildlife Centre and all sites consist of a permanent toilet (squatting) and garbage disposal facilities.
  •  If you have a lot of equipment to carry its best to get there before afternoon so you can setup your camp and be prepared for any weather changes.
  • No plastics or polythene is allowed within the park, the officers at the gate would check your bags occasionally but are not that strict, in any case if you bring any plastics please make sure to dispose them accordingly at the garbage pit at the site, don't leave them scattered in the campsite.
  • Nights in Horton Plains will get really cold, so make sure that you take enough warm clothes including socks and warm gloves if possible.
  • Make sure to take a raincoat, as it rains often, you would at least get caught in a small drizzle.
  • You are not allowed to make campfires, but the officers would not come to check on it at night but it its advised to take a gas-cooker to cook food ( with smaller gas cyclinder) as it is harder to make fires with the constant mist and rain.
If you are further looking for some solid advise on camping, traveling and sightseeing across Sri Lanka the best place I would recommend the awesome travel community Lakdasun ( It has a massive load of trip reports and a helpful forum where you can get loads of information. We managed to speak to one of its founding members, Mithila years ago, and you can check out that video on Idea Pettiya.

Special Thanks to Kelum, Varuna, Thinu & Thisara for the pics from our trips through the past few years.

Happy Camping Everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Informative post, well done. I just returned from Knuckles and was shocked to see how campers had strewn garbage all over the campsite and hiking trails.

    Just avoid polythene and plastic when camping!