5 Unique Waterfalls in Sri Lanka
This island is abundant with waterfalls which are known in the world over for their beauty and some of which are seasonal. If you are looking to visit a waterfall during your next trip, here are 5 unique waterfalls that will leave you breathless.
The Tallest – Bambarakanda Falls
The tallest of them all; Bambarakanda Falls is a must visit. Located in Kalupahana, this waterfall is 263m in height. It is the world’s 399th highest fall as well. The best time to visit the falls is between March and May. It is recommended to visit during this period as the water levels are high and clicking a picture of the falls will be an absolute treat.
There are signboards to warning visitors not to bath in the base pool. This is especially applicable when the water level is high.
How to get there:
Once you get to the Kalupahana Junction from the main Badulla A4 road, Bambarakanda Falls is located 7 km away from the road. Since the roads are tough and narrow it is recommended to use a 4WD or a tuk-tuk. Even coaster buses can reach the fall with some difficulty. [ Google Maps Directions ]
- From Colombo: 173.7km (5hrs 8 mins)
- From Belihuloya: 21.2km (58 mins)
The path is clear and well maintained to the base. Just follow the track down from the ticket counter to reach concrete steps that leads through the pine forest to the base.
The crest (the top of the fall)
At about bout halfway through above mentioned path, there is a left turn through the pines forest which leads directly to Lanka Ella. Walk on this footpath until you reach another junction from which a another footpath branching off to the right. This is the trail to the top of the fall.
After an intense climb with hairpin turns through the pine forest, which is slippery, to say the least, the trail will reach the edge of the cliff. It gives a 360-degree view of the surrounds however, this is not the final destination. Go further down the trail for another 100m or so until you reach the small waterfall and the Instagram worthy pool. Be warned, to get to the edge of the pool, there is a descent which is slippery and steep. [Detailed Trail Guide]
⚠ You must always ask the ticketing office if it is OK to climb to the top. Since there have been incidents people falling off to their death, there could be restrictions.
Ticket Price :
- Foreigners : Rs 150
- Locals : Rs 30
Open Hours :
8:00 AM – 5.30 PM
The Widest – Bomburu Falls
A beautiful waterfall tucked amidst greenery, Bomburu Falls also known as Bomburu Ella / Perawella Falls and Demuhun waterfall. It is located bordering the Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts. The waterfall is 50m in height and is known as the widest and one of the most scenic waterfalls in Sri Lanka. A hike to the waterfalls will leave you awe-stricken. Fair warning, make sure to come back on time as camping is not permitted any more.
How to get there:
From Nuwara Eliya town, drive past Hakgala botanical garden about 1km to reach Galahagama junction. Turn left from this junction to and go about 04 km to to reach the junction where you should turn left to reach the fall. There is a signboard to the effect at Galahagama. Bomuruella entry point is located some 03km from the junction.
[ Directions ]
From Welimada – One can get halfway through to the waterfall [Google Maps], by vehicle through Welimada – Pussellawa road and turn off at Ambagasdowa junction [Street View] via Pewella bus route or take the Bomburu Ella (#332) bus from Welimada. [ Directions ]
Either way, there is a hike to get to the final destination. It’s a moderate level hike where you will have to go through the jungle and boulders.
Bathing in the base-pool is dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted. There is a dam situated above crossing Bomuruella reservoir and this gets opened on time to time releasing surge of water down the fall. It’s better to ask locals about the dam opening time for your safety.
Closest to Sea – Thudugala Falls
If you are in the Kalutara district, make sure to head over to Thudugala Ella, approximately 8 metres in height and is the closest waterfall to the sea and also Kalu River. It is located in the Thudugala town, and this tranquil waterfall attracts local and international travellers alike. The best time to visit is during the months of May to September when west monsoon hits the coast.
How to get there:
There are several routes to get to the falls. Easiest would be through Kalutara – Mathugama road and by turning left from the Thudugala junction and driving until you spot a small Bodhiya (fig tree). Turn left from the junction and go until you reach a bridge.
After travelling around 10 metres, you will spot a road to your right with rubber trees. This road will lead you to a footpath which will take you to the falls. If you travelled by a vehicle, you can park near the small shop (do note that parking is limited).
Proceed ahead of the road and take the path to your right, on your way you will see an old building which was part of the tea factory. Once you reach the building turn left, walk ahead and turn left again once you reach the fork path. This path will lead you to the base of the fall and the bathing pool. There are several bathing spots so whichever route you take, you’re bound to get to at least one pool of the Thudugala Ella.
Hardest to reach – Duwili Falls (Knuckles Reserve)
To spot something beautiful, sometimes one must traverse through rough patches and in the case of Duwili Falls, a long hike through the knuckles range cannot be avoided. If you are the adventurous type and are looking for a hike and perhaps a camping experience, the Duwili Ella trail is yours to conquer. It is highly advisable to get in touch with a guide before you go in search of this cascading beauty. See Quick facts box below for contacts.
There are several treks to reach the Doowili Falls which involves strenuous trekking through hills and rough underfoot conditions. There are altogether 12 waterfalls in Doowili falls collection, reaching the first one shown in the above photo is the ultimate goal of this hike. There is a cave behind the fall which can be used as a camping ground.
There are 04 known trails with varying lengths and difficulty. Mentioned below are those currently known routes. Neither of those should be tried without a guide.
- Matale ➡ Rattota ➡ Pitawala ➡ Atanwala ➡ Walpolamulla ➡ Weddahena Oya ➡ Doowili Falls
- Matale ➡ Rattota ➡ Pitawala ➡ Illukkumbura ➡ Rambukkoluwa ➡ Weddahena Oya ➡ Doowili Falls
- Matale ➡ Rattota ➡ Pitawala ➡ Illukkumbura ➡ Pallegama ➡ Ranamure ➡ Kanumulla ➡ Doowili Falls
- Kandy ➡ Wattegama ➡ Bambarella ➡ Lebanone Estate ➡ Rathnagiriya Estate ➡ Kalupahana ➡ KMP Vadiya (Hut) ➡ Doowili Falls
- For Accommodation : Mr. Wasantha (Pitawala) (0770 423717)
- Guide : Mr. Ekanayaka (Etanwala) (0771 985904)
- Guide : Mr. Thayagaraja (Lebonon estate) – (0817 926421)
Falls onto a reservoir – Gartmore Falls
A sight one can always spot en route to Adam’s Peak via Nallathanniya Road is the Gartmore Falls. Located in the Maskeliya town, this 25-metre waterfall falls onto the Mawussakale reservoir. The cascading waterfall is also known as Sri Pada Ella by locals.
How to get there:
When you travel to Maskeliya and go along the road towards Nallathanniya, you will find a road to your left at Mulagama junction that leads to Murray estate. Once you travel approximately 4 kilometres you will reach the factory. From here, you will have to walk around 300 metres through the tea estate and you will come across the Gartmore Falls.
The Murray Estate road has seen better days and in dire need of repair. A vehicle with high ground clearance is required. You can always park the vehicle at the junction and hire tuk-tuk for the journey.