Sambuwatta Lake is a beautiful man-made reservoir located in Elkaduwa, Matale. The lake is bordered by Cambell’s Land forest reserve and situated at an elevation of 1,140 m. The misty and chilly atmosphere with pine trees and tea-covered slopes surrounding the lake make visitors feel relaxed and tranquil.
What puts the lake in the top as a leisure and family travel destination is the plethora of adventure activities available such as zip-lining, swan/motor boat riding, canoeing and hiking. Bathing and swimming in the lake, however, is not allowed since the lake is fairly deep (30 – 40 ft), there is a separate pool built for that purpose.
The road leading to the lake (Sembuwatte Lake Road) off Wattegama – Elkaduwa – Matale road (B461) is not in a favourable condition, especially the stretch that lies beyond the factory. This narrow and winding road stretches about 04 km from the main road to the lake. About 03 km in, there is a dilapidated tea factory (Elakduwa Tea Factory) and a small office, where you should stop to buy tickets.
Long vehicles like 54 seat Leyland buses/Coaches should be parked here. Small vehicles can safely be driven beyond this point up to the lake and park at the lake premises. Owing to the narrowness of the road, it can be heavily congested during holidays.Tuk-Tuk drivers at the turning points try to dissuade people from getting their vehicles on to the lake road so that they can earn their buck. You should hear none of this since all sorts of vehicles travel upon this road daily.
Locals: Rs 200
Foreigners: Rs 1,000
Opening Hours : 08:00 AM – 05: 00 PM
Polo Bungalow : Rs 15,000 ( 12 pax)
The Summer huts:
Rs 1000 per person in a group of min 10 pax
For a group less than 10 pax: Rs 7,500
What types of activities are available?
Zip Lining (short)
Zip Lining (Long)
Apart from these, there is a natural pool, kids’ play areas to keep little ones occupied.
It is not just a place to spend the day but to stay over and relish the natural grandeur of the area. For people who want to stay over the night, cabanas and camping facilities are available. Use the contacts mentioned below for more information. Also, note the place can get really cold at night so come prepared.
There are some hiking trails through the surrounding pines forests as well. We’ve heard about a trek from Kallebokke to the lake in passing and shall update this post once we find the exact trail details. If you do know any other trails, let us know in the comments.
There are no restaurants available hence It’s better to bring your own food and drinks. For overnight stays, a cook and equipment will be provided. BBQ Cookers are available for an additional fee.
A little bit of History
British started tea cultivations in the area and used the ground where the lake is as a polo playground. In 1949 a tea factory was established nearby and subsequently, the lake was built to generate electricity for it. The factory is long gone but the houses in the area are still powered by the electricity generated by the lake.
How the name came to be?
Folklore has it that a factory worker once found a brass pot (Sembuwa) in a natural spring nearby. He fled the country carrying the relic and his son later built a kovil where the spring originated. The ruins of the kovil are still there to be seen. Thereafter, the area was named as Sembuwatta which literally means the Brass pot estate.
The lake was developed as a tourist destination in 2005 with summer huts, a guest house, swimming pool. It is currently managed by Elkaduwa Plantations. This massive transformation project was spearheaded by superintendent Mr. Radley Dissage.