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Excursions beyond Ahaspokuna

 

Horton Plains Trails

The famous Horton Plains is a nature reserve characterised by a beautiful landscape of rolling hills, forests, and grassland. The highest plateau in the island, spanning approximately 10,000 hectares, is home to 24 species of mammal – such as elk, deer, giant squirrel, wild boar, wild hare, porcupine, and leopard.

In Horton Plains, you will first visit Baker’s Falls. To reach it, you will deviate from the main trail and go approximately 500m on a steep downward path. From the waterfall, you will continue to World’s End – the famous escarpment that falls 880m to the lowlands of the southern region of the island. When the clouds clear up, the misty cliffs boast a fabulous view of the tea estates below all the way out to the distant southern coastline. A trail down to Horton Plains from Ahaspokuna is one of the interesting excursions on offer.

Horton Plains

 

Mulgama Village Experience

Mulgama, based on the foot of Ahaspokuna, is a small village that takes you back in time making you ponder what rural Sri Lanka has been once a upon a time. It has a long history in which it is believed that it held a prestigious position as the treasury during the reign of King Wimaladharmasuriya II. It is a place that is yet untouched by travellers or influenced by modernisation, mainly due its geographical disposition of isolation. The people in Mulgama reflects the pace of life that surrounds them. As a guest at Ahaspokuna, you can opt to catch a glimpse of rural Sri Lanka by stepping out for a visit in Mulgama. The experience consists of seeing the traditional paddy cultivation, the way of life of locals, the beautiful setting of the village itself and perhaps meeting a few elders in the village who are likely to share some interesting stories of Mulgama.

 

Journey to the Forgotten Kingdom

Wild ElephantDuration: 9 hours

Highlights

  • Visiting prehistoric human settlements
  • Exploring the Forgotten Ruined City
  • Udawalawe Safari
  • Meeting the Village Locals
  • An introduction to Curd-making
  • Picnic breakfast by the Walawe River
  • Authentic country-style lunch with freshly-made curd for dessert, prepared by the locals.

This fascinating half-day excursion will take you from Ahaspokuna to the Udawalawe National Park, famous for its Elephants. Interestingly, you will go on Safari in the northern part of the park that has barely any visitors. You will observe the wildlife in the hunting and gathering grounds of prehistoric people, explore some historical sites dating back to 103 BC surrounded by the most breathtaking scenery and interact with real local people.

Wake up to an early morning tea or coffee, served in your tent at 5:30am and then follow your guide on an easy downhill walk to the main road where a 4wd jeep will be waiting for you. As the morning sun rises around 6am, you will head off to the Udawalawe National Park, which is an interesting 40 minute drive through a village track.

On the way, you will pay a visit to Kamal who makes his living from making curd from his own domesticated buffaloes. During the short visit to his humble home, your host will reveal the secrets of the curd-making process and provide you with a couple of pots for dessert at lunchtime.

Within about 10 minutes from Kamal’s, you reach the entrance to the Udawalawe National Park which is completely cut off by a river from the busy southern section of the park. Although it is a relatively smaller area, you will have exclusive use and enjoy plenty of wildlife too.

This part of the park is very intriguing; discover the early settlement of the prehistoric “Balangoda Man” who lived 40,000 years ago, and, of course, the ruins of the Forgotten Kingdom of 103 BC. For further investigation, visiting the entire prehistoric settlement is a full day adventure on foot if one dares to explore further.  <Read More>

With so much adventure on wheels all morning, it’s time to stretch your legs and enjoy a picnic breakfast set against the beautiful surroundings of the Walawe River. In fact, you may want to take a little stroll along the river bank, under the giant Kumbuk Trees, while the staff sets up the meal. This river is famous for the precious gems that have been found hidden in the sand, and, just recently, a local tourist found a gem worth Rs. 8.5 million on the riverbank!

After breakfast, your safari in the Udawalawe National Park will continue, and you will have an opportunity to spot more of its abundant wildlife and the various species of birds.

As we exit the park around 10:30am it will be time to experience some local wonders. To start with, you will discover a traditional way of communication that is still in use in this part of the world, despite all the modern technology you left behind in the city.

Then, you will be taken to Handagiriya, where the ancient Intermediate Kingdom of King Walagamba is believed to have been situated. The Forgotten Kingdom commands its place into a very brief, but important period of our 2500 year long history. This is one of the places where King Walagamba settled during his 14 years of gathering and preparing an Army to recapture his own Anuradhapura Kingdom from the invaders [103 BC to 89 BC].  <Read More>

Following an enthralling exploration of the site and ruins of Handagiriya, it will be time for lunch. Today, your lunch is an authentic country meal prepared and presented by locals. Other than for some of Ahaspokuna’s guests, they have very little exposure to foreigners. Hence, you will have to excuse their shyness! Apart from the few locals around, you will be in private and serene surroundings.

Your day’s adventure with diverse experiences and unforgettable memories will come to an end at 2pm, at which point your drive back to the camp through the village tracks will begin.

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A H A S - P O K U N A   

In the Sinhalese language (spoken in Sri Lanka), “Ahas” means “Sky” and “Pokuna” means “Pond” or “Pool”. Ahaspokuna is so named in reference to the lake here, high up in the hills, that is only fed by rain water. A former settlement that sprung up on its shores was subsequently also named “Ahaspokuna”. Today, the jungle tide has washed over where people once lived and the camp provides a wilderness retreat for those in search of something different.
Ahaspokuna by Eco Team



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