Image by Kevin Clogstoun Getty Images
The Horton Plains plateau comes to a sudden end at World’s End, a stunning escarpment that plunges 880m. The walk here is 4km, but the trail then loops back to Baker’s Falls (2km) and continues back to the entrance (another 3.5km). The 9.5km round trip takes a leisurely three hours. Unless you get there early, the view from World’s End is often obscured by mist, particularly during the rainy season from April to September.
All you can expect to see from World’s End after around 9am is a swirling white wall. The early morning (between 6am and 10am) is the best time to visit, before the clouds roll in. That’s when you’ll spy toy-town, tea-plantation villages in the valley below, and an unencumbered view south towards the coast.
Try to avoid doing this walk on Sundays and public holidays, when it can get crowded.
Guides at the national park office expect about Rs 800. There’s no set fee for volunteer guides, but expect to donate a similar amount. Some guides are well informed about the area’s flora and fauna, and solo women travellers may want to consider hiring one for safety. Two guides who are genuinely enthusiastic about the park and unusually knowledgable on the area’s fauna and flora are Mr Nimal Herath and Mr Kaneel Rajanayeka – just Raja to friends. Both normally work as guide/jeep drivers through the Single Tree Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, but are available on a freelance basis as well.
Wear strong and comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sunglasses. Bring sunscreen, food and water. 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 6am).
It is forbidden to leave the paths, which can be slippy and tough to negotiate in places. 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.