Traveling In The Knuckles Mountain Range: A Getaway From Colombo
Our hearts lie in the mountains. That is why you can often see us taking a getaway to some of Sri Lanka’s hill country hamlets; these are places we yearn to return again and again and one day, maybe some day in the future, we hope that we settle down in a mountain village. So just before the third wave began in Sri Lanka, we boarded a train to Kandy and hopped on a tuk tuk and reached Gomare, a stunningly beautiful region in the Knuckles Mountain Range in Sri Lanka. After a 5-minute walk uphill, we reached our destination; Venture Camps, a glamping style accommodation which is just an hour’s drive from Kandy. If you are traveling in the Knuckles Mountain Range and looking for a place to stay, we highly recommend Venture Camps.
How to reach Knuckles Mountain Range
There are two ways, from Kandy and from Matale. If you are coming from Colombo, it’s easier to reach Kandy (it takes three hours by bus or three hours by train). From Kandy, mountains are 1.30 hours away. We booked a PickMe tuk tuk all the way to our destination. Matale is approximately another hour from Kandy. You can take a bus or hail a PickMe to take you there.
Hotels and accommodation in the Knuckles Mountains Range
Venture Camps have two beautiful accommodations that overlook the far-flung mountains and the green jungle. Inside your tents are a bed and a small side table to keep your belongings. Keep in mind that there are no power sockets inside your tents. There’s a charging port in the main area that’s enough to charge your phone.
My favorite feature at Venture Camps was the outdoor open-air shower. Here, you can shower during the day and sunbath on the rocks or stargaze at night.
When we visited, there were two caretakers from the nearby villages. One of them was Raja Uncle, who looked after us well. Raja Uncle took us to quaint hamlets and poured us tiny cups of tea as we gleefully bathed in cascading waterfalls.
The dining area at Venture Camps is a cozy, beautiful place. When the sunlight dims everyday, you can sit down on the wooden bench outside with the resident doggo and watch skies turn into vibrant yellows. When the dusk settles in and nighttime brings cold air, cuddle up with your favorite person as the crackling fire warms you. It’s here we drank plenty cups of tea, sipped wine, gobbled up coconut roti with curried chicken and talked about the nothingness.
Food at Venture Camps: What can you expect while traveling in the Knuckles Mountain Range
We decided to stay at Venture Camps after seeing a few accommodation options advertised on their Facebook page. We had all our meals at the camp; they were all delicious Sri Lankan style meals cooked with love and care. For breakfast, we had island staples like coconut roti, and seasonal fruits. One of our dinners included a bottle of wine and grilled chicken. Lunches are usually Sri Lankan rice & curry; there’s either fish or chicken, several vegetables, and dal.
You can have unlimited tea & coffee! We are heavy tea drinkers and pestered Raja Uncle several times for a mug of hot tea. Each time, he would smile and run into the kitchen to boil us some hot water.
Also read: Camping in Haputale, Sri Lanka
Traveling in the Knuckles Mountain Range: Things to do
On our second day traveling in the Knuckles Mountain Range, we decided to walk across the villages, hike up some waterfalls and say hello to doggo friends. After breakfast, we started our day with Raja Uncle, who despite our nagging, pushed us to walk for about half a day.
First, we crossed a tea garden and went to see Jodu Ella. Next, we took a long walk across the jungle, tea gardens and a line of small houses and came to Sari Ella, a cascading stream that resembled a pallu of a saree. We sipped some sugary black tea here and decided to take a quick bath. On our way back, we met a playful doggo friend who came after us all the way to our camping site.
You can also hike the Knuckles Mountain Range and Duwili Ella waterfall and visit the quaint village Meemure if you come from Kandy side. If you are entering from Matale, you can visit Pitawala Pathana, Mini World’s End and some waterfalls like Sera Ella and Bambarakiri Ella. There’s also Sembuwatta Lake, a manmade tank shrouded in the cold mist and Hunnas Falls, another stunning cascade.
If you are in the region, we also recommend you visit Wasgamuwa National Park, a beautiful terrain home to wildlife like the Asian elephants. Last time when we went there, we visited a cluster of villages where the people grew orange plants to save their paddy fields from hungry elephants.
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