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Wildlife safaris at the Horton Plains National Park Sri Lanka 

PioneerLogoHorton Plains National Park is the only national park in Sri Lanka where you can go on guided nature trails and walking safaris. Located 2300 meters above sea level, the Horton Plains is filled with endemic plants and animals, some of which are not only endemic to Sri Lanka but also to this particular region.

 

 

History and Description of the Horton Plains National Park

The Horton Plains National Park is around 3,160 hectares in size. It was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and subsequently  granted National Park status on the 18 of March 1988. Tools dating back to the balangoda culture have been found here which is around 34,000 BP.

Horton Plains was initially known as Maha Eliya Thanna but was re-named under the British after Sir Robert Wilmort Horton who was the governer of Ceylon from 1831 to 1837. It is located on the southern plateau of the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is elevated 2,300 meters above sea level. The mean annual rainfall is greater than 2,000 millimetres and the mean annual temperature is 13 °C. Some rain falls throughout the year, but January-March is a dry season. 

The headwaters of important rivers such as the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe are at Horton Plains. Streams, swamps, and waterfalls are the important wetland habitats found here. This national park is considered a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka.

Flora and Fauna at Horton Plains

24 species of mammal have been recorded at Horton Plains National Park of which the most commonly seen is the Sambar Deer. There are an estimated 1000-2000 Sambur inside Horton Plains. Toque Macaques, Purple-faced Langurs, Rusty-spotted Cat, Sri Lankan Leopards, Wild boars, Stripe-necked Mongooses, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotains, Indian Muntjacs, and Grizzled giant squirrels are some other mammals encountered. Aquatic animals are limited to fishing cats and aquatic animals. the Horton Plains Slender Loris which is a subspecies of the Red Slender Loris formerly is found here as well.
The Horton Plains Slender Loris is considered one of the most endangered primates in the world. There have been only 2 sightings in the last 72 years.

of the 21 endemics all the highland ones occur at Horton Plains. The Dull-blue Fly catcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, Sri Lanka yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon, Spot Winged Thrush, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Scaly Trush and the Brown Capped babbler are some of them.  The Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Junglefowl and Sri Lanka Whistling-thrush have also been recorded. Migrants to be found include the Pied Thrush, Hill Munia, Hill Swallow, Pied Bushcat, Black Eagle, Jerdon’s Baza, Kashmir Flycatcher, Indian Pitta, Black Bird and Mountain Hawk Eagle.

750 species of plants belonging to 20 families have been recorded from Horton Plains. Of the 54 woody plant species 27 are endemic to Sri Lanka. Tree trunks and branches are entwined with ferns and orchids. 16 of these orchid species are endemic.

 

 

Mahoora Accommodation Options

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Excellent photographer's package

"Amazing experience. We'd been on safaris before so was immensely happy that the photographer's package included our own jeep and a naturalist guide who's also a photographer!"
James - Sydney - Australia
January 2017

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