|Copyright Notice: Please obtain permission from the author before duplicating, re-publishing or adapting content of a trip report|
|Be a responsible traveler! Watch this video before you hit the road! Download Video: MP4|3gp|
|Do you like to contribute a Trip Report? learn how to or download template and start straight away!|
|Year and Month||March 2011|
|Number of Days||Three Days|
10 adults (between 28 – 65 years of age) and two kids (1 year old)
|Accommodation||Morningside Forest Department Bungalow|
|Transport||A car and a double cab|
|Activities||Photography, Natural Bath and Relaxation|
|Weather||Dull and overcast in the firt two days. It rained quite hard in the afternoon of the second day.
The third day excellent with plenty of sunshine in the morning
|Route||Katubedda -> Kottawa -> Awissawella -> Ratnapura -> Pelmadulla -> Madampe -> Rakwana -> Suriyakanda -> Morningside -> Suriyakanda -> Deniyaya -> Morawaka -> Neluwa -> Palewatta -> Meegahatenna -> Horawala -> Matugama -> Kalutara -> Katubedda
Check Google earth Trail Map
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
It has been many years since I last visited this isolated corner of Siharaja. This time the trip was meant to be more of a family outing. Walking the Dhoovili Ella trail was also in cards.
We left home at around 7.30 in the morning in two vehicles. We took the A4 to Pelmadulla and then A17 from Madampe and reached Suriyakanda by 1.00 p.m. At Suriyakanda we bought some vegetables to complete the rations we were carrying for the next two days. Suriyakanda is a fairly small town with a limited number of shops. It is the heighest town in the scenic Madampe-Deniyaya-Galle Highway (A17) (From Madampe to Deniyaya, this is probably the narrowest A grade road in Srilanka 🙂 )
After topping up provisions, the next task was to find a place to safely park the car. The path to Morningside forest camp from Suriyakanda is in pretty bad shape. It is not safe to drive anything other than a proper 4WD on that route. I had got several useful contacts of places to leave the car from the forum but a helpful local person suggested that we speak to the chief monk of the temple situated right in the middle of this small town. The chief monk kindly allowed us to park the car in the temple premises.
Having sorted out parking, the next big task was to load 10 adults, 2 kids, bags and rations, all in to the double cab which had the task of tackling 6+km of rough roads to elevate us 250+m to The Morningside forest camp.
With the double cab fully loaded, we headed towards Galle on A17. In Less than 1km from Suriyakanda town, we reached the estate road on the right hand side, going uphills through the tea bushes. Conditions of the jeep track was as expected. It had been badly washed away and did not appear to have been repaired in years. Slowly but steadily the poor machine started hauling all of us uphills.
There is approximately 6.5km to the forest camp from the A17 turn off. The condition of the road was worst in the first three kilometers where the ascend was also steep. Once climbed up, the track became somewhat easier than before. All together we spent just under two hours to reach the Forest camp from Suriyakanda town.
At the bungalow we met Thilakasiri; the long standing forest department caretaker of the Morningside bungalow.
The rest of the day was spent in the bungalow. Weather was gloomy throughout. I still remember the colorful sunset that one can witness from behind the bungalow when the conditions are right. This time, we had no luck 🙂
On the following morning; we woke up early to exepreince the misty mornings which made English planters name this area “Mornigside”. It was truly a misty morning
One of the interesting hikes one can do from Morningside forest bungalow is the hike to the Dhuwili Ella falls. This is the least visited out of the four Dhoowili Ella falls in Sinharaja. I had some GPS points of this trail from a previous visit but I couldn’t locate the file in my computer before trip (I later found them and posted in the thread – Dhoovili Ella Trail – Sinharaja, MornigSide ). Thilakasiri did not encourage us to take the trail sigthing that no one has walked that for a long time and the trail may not be visible now. Without Navigation aid; we did not want to take a risk. So we gave up the plan of mapping the trail and decided to explore the Morningside estate and pay a visit to the natural pool to have a cool dip.
To reach the natural pool; one has to travel further on the jeep track without turing in to the forest bungalow to reach the Morningside Estate. Inside the estate, you can drive up to the old estate bungalow (1.8km from the forest bungalow). Beyond the old bungalow the jeep track continues towards Ittakanda where it rejoins the A17 but the road is not open for vehicles as it is a private road. You have to walk another 1km along this jeep track before turning right and walk in the jungle for another 400m to reach the Pool. (Check the trail map posted in – Morningside – Access Roads, Trails and Points of Interest). This natural pool is a nice place to spend sometime; relax and have a cool dip.
After spending couple of hours at the pool we returned to the bungalow just in time to avoid getting caught in the thunderstorm that followed. After a late lunch it was time for a good sleep. 🙂
On the third and final day of the trip; the weather changed dramatically. The sun broke out early in the day and chased away the mist. The surrounding looked so fresh and the forest had suddenly bounced back to life from the long sleep. Spider webs were glistinng all over the place in morning rays. It was like a completely different world all together
Unfortunately we had to leave this heaven as it was our last day at Morningside. We left the bungalow at around 9.00 a.m. Back on the bumpy track the truck started crawling along, this time however due to good weather conditions we could enjoy the heavenly beauty of the surrounding mountains that we were leaving behind to go back to the boring concrete jungle!
We reached the temple where we parked the car; redistributed stuff and the passengers in to two vehicles and started our return journey. Instead of taking the A17 back to Madampe; we decided to proceeded to Morawaka via Deniyaya on A17 and and then took interior roads via Neluwa, Palewatta, Meegahatenna, Horawala, Matugama, Kalutara, to return home at Katubedda.