World’s End

Lonely Planet review

This is the only national park in Sri Lanka where visitors are permitted to walk on their own (on designated trails only). The walk to World’s End is 4km, but the trail loops back to Baker’s Falls (2km) and continues back to the entrance (another 3.5km). The round trip is 9.5km and takes a leisurely three hours. Note that around 9am to 10am the mist usually comes down. All you can expect to see from World’s End after this time is a swirling white wall. If you aim for a 5.30am to 6am departure from Nuwara Eliya or Haputale and get to World’s End around 7am, you’ll have a good chance of spectacular views.

Try to avoid doing this walk on Sundays and public holidays, when it can get crowded. And despite the signs, weekend groups of young Sri Lankan guys will do their utmost to make noise and inadvertently scare away the wildlife.

Guides at the national park office expect about Rs 750. There’s no set fee for volunteer guides, but expect to donate a similar amount. Some guides are well informed on the area’s flora and fauna, and solo women travellers may want to consider hiring one for safety’s sake. One guide, who is genuinely enthusiastic about the park and unusually knowledgeable on the area’s fauna and flora, is Mr Nimal Herath . He normally works as a guide/jeep driver through the Single Tree Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, but is available on a freelance basis as well.

Wear strong and comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sunglasses. Bring sunscreen, and food and water, as the eatery at the Farr Inn is expensive. Ask your guesthouse to prepare a breakfast package for you, and reward yourself with an alfresco brekkie once you reach World’s End. The weather can change very quickly on the plains – one minute it can be sunny and clear, the next chilly and misty. Bring a few extra layers of warm clothing (it’s very cold up here at 7am). It is forbidden to leave the paths. There are toilets at Farr Inn.

Note that there are no safety rails around World’s End and there have been a couple of accidents where people have fallen to their deaths. If you have young children with you keep a very firm grip on them as you approach the cliff edge!

Although the main focus of the park is on World’s End don’t underestimate the joy of the walk across the grassland plains. It’s also possible to do a shorter (3km), and less rewarding, walk to what has been dubbed Poor Man’s World’s End; the trail is just beyond the park entrance gate and normal park fees apply.