Places to visit in Kitulgala
Nestled amidst the lush green hills of Sri Lanka lies Kitulgala, a small town that’s a paradise for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, gushing waterfalls, and pristine rainforests, Kitulgala is a destination that’s sure to leave you spellbound. Located about 95 km from Colombo. As you approach this beautiful town, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the majestic Kelani River, which flows through the heart of Kitulgala and offers a range of exciting activities such as white water rafting, kayaking, and canyoning. One of the top attractions of Kitulgala is the Makandawa Forest Reserve, a protected area of rainforest that’s home to a wide range of flora and fauna, including many endemic species. Other places to visit in Kitulgala include the Belilena Cave, an archaeological site that’s believed to have been inhabited by prehistoric humans around 32,000 years ago. For those who love waterfalls, Kitulgala offers several options such as Handun Ella, Laxapana Falls and Aberdeen Falls. With its stunning natural scenery and thrilling adventure activities, Kitulgala is a perfect getaway for anyone looking to add a touch of excitement to their travels. So pack your bags and head out to Kitulgala for an unforgettable experience!
1. Belilena Cave
Belilena Cave, located near the town of Kitulgala, is one of the popular places to visit in Kitulgala, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore the prehistoric past of Sri Lanka while enjoying the stunning natural beauty of the area. Discovered in the 20th century, the cave has since been the subject of several archaeological expeditions, unearthing prehistoric human remains, tools, and other artefacts. The cave is believed to have been inhabited by humans around 32,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest known human settlements in Sri Lanka. The excavations have revealed the lifestyles and cultural practices of the people who lived in the cave, offering a glimpse into the country’s rich history. The cave’s interior is home to a variety of bats and other fauna, making it a fascinating location for nature enthusiasts as well. Visitors to the cave can take a guided tour, learning about the cave’s history and significance from knowledgeable guides. Belilena Cave is easily accessible by road and can be reached from Colombo in just a few hours. It is a must-visit destination for those interested in Sri Lanka’s rich history and natural beauty.
2. Makandawa Forest Reserve
Makandawa Forest Reserve, which is one of the most popular places to visit in Kitulgala, offers visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of Sri Lanka and learn about the country’s important conservation efforts. The reserve is located near the town of Kitulgala and covers an area of approximately 200 hectares. The forest reserve is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including many rare and endangered species. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful walk through the forest, surrounded by lush greenery and the sounds of birds and other wildlife. One of the main attractions of the Makandawa Forest Reserve is the presence of several species of primates, including the purple-faced langur, the toque macaque, and the grey langur. Visitors can also spot a variety of birds, butterflies, and other insects in the forest. Makandawa Forest Reserve is also an important site for research and conservation efforts. The reserve has been recognized as a biodiversity hotspot and is home to several endemic species, making it a critical area for conservation efforts. Visitors to the Makandawa Forest Reserve can also participate in a range of activities, including birdwatching, nature walks, and camping. The reserve offers a range of camping facilities, including tents, camping gear, and other equipment.
3. Handun Ella
Handun Ella is a breathtaking waterfall that attracts visitors from all over the world. The waterfall is a multi-tiered cascade that drops from a height of around 60 meters, forming a stunning pool at its base. Visitors can take a dip in the refreshing waters of the pool or simply admire the majestic beauty of the falls from afar. Handun Ella is also a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts, as the surrounding hills offer several trekking routes that lead to stunning viewpoints. The trek to the top of the waterfall can be challenging but is well worth the effort for the stunning views that await. Apart from its natural beauty, Handun Ella is also known for its traditional gem mines. Visitors can learn about the age-old methods of gem mining that have been practised in the region for centuries, making it a unique cultural experience. The best time to visit Handun Ella is during the monsoon season from April to September when the waterfall is at its fullest and most spectacular. It is easily accessible by road and can be reached from Colombo in just a few hours. Handun Ella is a great addition to any itinerary that includes places to visit in Kitulgala.
4. Laxapana Falls
Laxapana Falls, located near Kitulgala, is one of the great places to visit in Kitulgala for nature enthusiasts, offering a refreshing escape to stunning natural beauty and an opportunity to learn about Sri Lanka’s hydroelectric power generation. With a height of 126 meters, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in the country and is located amidst stunning natural scenery. The waterfall is located in the Laxapana Estate, which is known for its tea plantations and lush greenery. Visitors can take a short hike to reach the waterfall, enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding hills and tea plantations along the way. The surrounding area is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, birds, and butterflies. Laxapana Falls is also significant for its role in Sri Lanka’s power generation, as it is one of several hydroelectric power stations in the country. A visit to the Laxapana Power Station, which is located nearby, offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the country’s energy production and conservation efforts. Laxapana Falls is easily accessible by road and it is a great addition to any itinerary that includes other popular destinations in Kitulgala.
5. Aberdeen Falls
Aberdeen Falls is a magnificent waterfall situated in the Kehelgamuwa Mountains. The falls, which are about 98 meters high, are a breathtaking sight to behold and offer visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of Sri Lanka. To get to Aberdeen Falls, visitors must take a hike through the lush forests of the area. Along the way, they will encounter a diverse range of flora and fauna, including various species of birds, butterflies, and monkeys. Once visitors arrive at the falls, they will be greeted by a stunning display of cascading water that tumbles down the rocky cliff face into a deep pool below. The pool is perfect for a refreshing swim, and many visitors enjoy taking a dip in the cool, clear water while taking in the breathtaking scenery around them. According to local legends, the falls were named after a group of Scottish soldiers who were stationed in the area during the British colonial period. The soldiers were said to have been so struck by the beauty of the falls that they named it after their hometown of Aberdeen in Scotland. Aberdeen Falls, with its breathtaking natural beauty, is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the places to visit in Kitulgala.