Best Waterfalls in Sri Lanka

Exploring the waterfalls in Sri Lanka is a very interesting adventure for most Travellers in Sri Lanka. Therefore, waterfalls are included as important places in most multiday Sri Lanka road trips. If you are heading to Sri Lanka’s mountains on the trip, naturally you are visiting a few beautiful waterfalls, along the way. Whether it is a one-day tour from Colombo or a multiday Sri Lanka package, it is highly possible to visit Ramboda waterfalls, you heading to Nuwara Eliya and the upcountry tea plantation.

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Sri Lanka hill country

Sri Lanka’s hill country is located in the middle of the island and the hill country rises up to 2500 meters above sea level. Sri Lanka hill country considered one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Sri Lanka’s hill country shows a different contrast against the low country of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s hill country is abundant in natural attractions such as waterfalls, rivers, streams, green-capped mountains, and patches of forests. If you like to see waterfalls, venturing on a hill country tour of Sri Lanka is the best option for you. Because it allows you to visit dozens of beautiful waterfalls within a short period of time.

Sri Lanka 3-day tour with Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla golden temple Kandy, and Nuwara Eliya

Sri Lanka’s natural wealth

With compared to the small size of Sri Lanka, it possesses a large number of natural resources, surpassing other countries of its size. Beautiful beaches, fascinating wildlife, primaeval rainforest, mighty cliffs, thunderous rivers, cascading waterfalls etc… many of the waterfalls in Sri Lanka are impressively tall and provide enjoyable sights for spectators. Same time most of the waterfalls of Sri Lanka are distinctive due to some reason or other.

Exploring the waterfall is a very interesting adventure for most Travellers in Sri Lanka. Therefore, waterfalls are included as important places in most multiday Sri Lanka road trips. If you are heading to Sri Lanka’s mountains on the trip, naturally you are visiting a few beautiful waterfalls, along the way. Whether it is a one-day tour from Colombo or a multiday Sri Lanka package, it is highly possible to visit Ramboda waterfalls, you heading to Nuwara Eliya and the upcountry tea plantation.

Rivers and waterfalls of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has over 100 rivers, radiating from the central hills and spilling across all corners of the island. And along each of these waters’ journeys are photogenic moments that remind you why not set forth on your travel in the first place.

The ingredients of a waterfall are a flowing river and an erosion-defiant rock formation. An irresistible force and an immovable object. While each of Sri Lanka’s waterfalls is a miracle of natural engineering, there is a palpable element of the magic present in their creation.

As diverse as they are prolific, Sri Lanka’s waterfall types include the cascading, the plunging, and the multi-trend, capturing moods ranging from spectacular to spooky. With close to 400 distributes across Kegalle, Ratnapura, Badulla, and Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka could well claim a record for the most waterfalls per square mile.

Sri Lanka’s hill country

Mountain ranges, spice gardens, and tea plantations all surround some. Almost all are entwined in folklore, legend, and stories as tall as the falls themselves. Tales of treasure, demons, and doomed lovers—tales as enchanting and enigmatic as the falls they describe

Sri Lanka’s mountain resort

Depending on the elevation Sri Lanka is divided into three different climate zones namely Low land, Semi Mountains and mountains. Vegetation, landscape and the weather in the mountains are totally different from the other 2 climate zones on the island. There are several dozens of waterfalls in the Sri Lanka mountains.

The mountains are abundant with cascading waterfalls of charming beauty and most of the waterfalls in Sri Lanka can be seen here. There are 103 rivers in Sri Lanka and the number of waterfalls arising from these perennial water resources exceeds 130 many of them are not known to the world, they are hidden in the jungles and remote countryside that should be reached on pathways lie on difficult terrain. In fact, for its size, Sri Lanka has recorded waterfalls more than any other country in the world.

The formation of the Hill Country of Sri Lanka is very suitable for the formation of waterfalls. The unbroken, central mountain range rises up to 5000 feet in the middle of the country and spread on the North-South axis it is more than 50 miles long, thus forming a precipitous nature very favourable for the formation of waterfalls.

The highest mountain in Sri Lanka is called Pidurutalaga in Nuwara Eliya is 2525m in height. Most of the rivers in Sri Lanka spring from mountains other than the Malwatuoya. When the rivers flow down the hills to the lowland form a large number of cascades of which a considerable amount is spectacular to behold. The number of waterfalls thus formed is numerous in proportion to the size of the island.

Some of those are really hidden in the elevated mountainous jungles, you could only reach them by foot or through narrow tracks formed by the people, who pluck tea in the steep tea plantations, most of those falls are confined to the centre, south and east of the hills and a few to the west and many of the falls could be seen in the Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts.

Normally the waterfalls are most beautiful during the monsoon when the waterfalls are at their fullest capacity. Especially Bambarakanda and Diyaluma depict an extremely attractive panorama with a soft white trail of an unbroken mass of foam gliding down gracefully. One should not miss such an eye-catching spectacle during the holiday in Sri Lanka.

13 Best Waterfalls in Sri Lanka

  1. Aberdeen waterfalls
  2. Baker’s fall
  3. Bopath Waterfall
  4. Devon Falls
  5. Elgin Falls
  6. Laxapana falls
  7. Manawela falls
  8. Rambod falls
  9. St Clair’s falls
  10. Dunhinda Waterfall
  11. Suratalie Ella
  12. Gartmore Falls
  13. Laxapana waterfall

Aberdeen waterfalls

Aberdeen waterfall arises from the waters of Kehelmuwa Oya and it is nearly 100 meters in height. Kehelmuwa Oya starts from the Castlereigh reservoir in Dick Oya. Aberdeen is the name of the tea estate where the waterfall is situated. Laxapana waterfall is situated in the former Aberdeen estate and it can confuse you with the Aberdeen waterfalls. Aberdeen waterfalls consist of three cascades and its background is formed by a granite monolith.

Baker’s fall

Baker’s falls is 20 meters in height and located in the well-known Horton plains. The wildlife tour at Horton plain national park includes 4 hours-long trekking through the pristine forest, you will come across the baker’s fall towards the latter part of the trekking.

Unlike most other waterfalls it plunged over wide granite rock. The waterfall is named after Samuel Baker, who had been in Sri Lanka from 1847 to 1855. Samuel Baker was one of the very first, who explored the Horton Plains and popularize Nuwara Eliya as an emerging resort. He established an English-type farm by importing livestock and equipment from England. The waterfall is to be found around three kilometres from the entrance of the national park.

Bopath Ella Falls

The waterfall arises from the Kuru Ganga a tributary of Kalu Ganga of the western province. The picturesque waterfall is around 30 meters in height and looks like a leaf of the Bo-tree (Ficus religiosa). Bo -the tree in the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, pat- the leaf of the earlier mentioned tree. Therefore Bopath literally means the leaf of the Bo tree. It plunged in three cascades and a shallow pool can be seen at the bottom of the waterfall.

The waterfall is located in the district of Rathnapura. One needs to take the narrow road to the left from the high-level road just before Ratnapura on arriving from Colombo.

Devon Falls

Devon falls is another beautiful waterfall in the district of Nuwara Eliya. This waterfall is also located on the Colombo- Nuwara Eliya main road. Devon falls is 97 meters in height and it is formed by a tributary of Kotmale Oya. The name derived from the nearby Tea estate Devon.

The waterfall is one of the most popular in the country due to the easy access; it can be clearly viewed from the A7 main road. Modern constructed viewpoint allows the passerby to have a nice clear view of the waterfall. One can reach the bottom of the falls by walking down the tea estate about one kilometre.

Every waterfall is depending on rainfall for its beauty but rainfall is more significant for Devon Falls than other waterfalls mentioned here. If you visit the waterfall during the dry season there is nothing more than a trickle here. The waterfall is most beautiful during the wet season of the mountains (April-November).

Elgin Falls

This beautiful waterfall is situated on the northern slope of the Horton Plains. The waterfall is quite an unknown tourist attraction to the people in the country. Elgin falls is about 25 meters high and it is created by the waters of a tributary of Dambagastalawa Oya.

The name is derived from the tea estate where it is located, Elgin tea estate. One can clearly see the waterfall while travelling on the train between Talwakele and Badulla. It can also be easily reached by a vehicle by travelling 19 km on the road and walking another 2 km on a footpath.

Laxapana falls

Laxapana is one of the highest waterfalls in Sri Lanka with 127 m in height. It arises from the waters of Maskeliya Oya. Today the mighty waterfall is tamed by the dam, which was constructed to generate hydroelectricity. Even though the dam has reduced the flow, it still provides a great sight for spectators. The traditional name “Vedda hit Ella” denotes the place where the Vedda lived. The waterfall is situated in the Gramasewa division of Kottalana of Maskeliya.

Manawela falls

Manawela falls is one of the least known waterfalls in Sri Lanka,  situated in the Uva basin. It is fed by Ho Oya and is about 22 meters in height. According to the legend it was created by a hermit called “Manawa”, between 676-711 AD. He had blocked the Oya by constructing a dam across the water flow. The waterfall is given the name of the same hermit. He had constructed the dam to protect his treasure that is hidden in the rock face of the waterfall. It is believed the falling eater whispered “nidhanaya mehi toyanawa” which means treasure lies here.

Rambod falls

Ramboda waterfalls are located on the steep Ramboda pass. The stream that generates the waterfall comes from the mountains and flows into the Panna Oya. The fall is over 100 meters in height and can be easily viewed from the A5 main road. Ramboda falls is the 10th-highest waterfall in the country.

St Clair’s falls

St Clair’s Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sri Lanka, it is a double cascading waterfall fed by many sources, and it is situated near the Deon falls. This cascading waterfall is situated on the Colombo-Hatton main road. The biggest and most beautiful is the Maha Ella, which is about 80 meters high and is fed by Kotmale Oya. The smaller part of the waterfall calls Kuda Ella and it is 50 meters in height. The waterfall can be easily viewed from the A7 main road.

St Clair’s Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. Even though it is not as high as most other waterfalls, it surpasses most other waterfalls in beauty. The waterfall is beautifully shaped by three cascades of rock that it is anchored on. St. Clair waterfall is largely depending on the Kothmale Oya for its share of water from nature.

Dunhinda Waterfall

If you judge the quality of the waterfall on the amount of water that flows through, then Dunhinda is definitely one important waterfall for you. This Sri Lankan marvel has a great sheet of flowing water on the island. It produces a mist at the moment it touches the ground that is capable of covering the whole region. The waterfall is surrounded by a beautiful forested area and a light trek leads you to the waterfall from the main road.

Suratalie Waterfall

Suratalie Ella is located on the Ratnapura-Bandarawela main road between Belihuloya and Beragala. The waterfall is picturesquely located amidst the thick jungle. The vegetation of the surrounding area is categorized under wet evergreen rainforests. As the name suggests (rain forest), this low-elevated area records high rainfall throughout the year. Therefore, Suratali Ella is pouring down with heavy force and a large amount of water.

The waterfall is about 100 meters away from the main road. The path that leads to the waterfall can be easily found, due to the signboards that show the location of the waterfall.  The footpath goes through the thick jungle and you feel like being in a totally different world, upon entering the jungle. The surrounding area of the waterfall is extremely calm and serene; you hear only the birds in the jungle.  The patch of forest, where the waterfall is located belongs to the Sri Pada forest reserve.

Earlier the waterfall was known as “Marangaha Ella” but later it was named “Sutalie Ella”, after a film, in which the waterfall was included in several scenes. The stream which begins on the “Ellamana Mountain” is the main source of water for Suratalie Ella.  This perennial water stream begins about 948 meters above sea level.

The cascading waterfall can be clearly seen in several steps. And the upper part is the highest of all parts of the waterfall.  The entire waterfall is about 60 meters in height. The forest is very rich in Bio-diversity and harbours any number of animals, birds, vertebrates, fish and flora species.

This patch of the forest shows a high concentration of endemic fauna and flora species of Sri Lanka. Therefore, this waterfall and its surrounding is a very valuable natural asset of the country.  Even though it is the duty of the current generation to preserve it for the future, unfortunately, some people have polluted the immediate surroundings of the waterfall. One can see a lot of non-degradable stuff along the footpath and at the foot of the waterfall.

Gartmore Falls

Gartmore Falls also known as “Sri Pada Falls” or “Adam’s Peak Falls” is located near the city of Nuwara Eliya. The waterfall is located in Maskeliya, which is a small town near Nuwara Eliya. This beautiful waterfall is 25 meters in height. The waterfalls are called “Gartmore Falls” as it is located in the tea plantation of Gartmore. This beautiful waterfall is located near the holy mountain of Adams peak therefore it is also known as “Sri Pada Falls” or “Adam’s Peak Falls”. It is fed by two streams which join above the Gartmore falls. Each of these streams creates a waterfall before joining and lies inside the Gartmore Estate. These two waterfalls named Upper Gartmore Falls and Lower Gartmore Falls, in combination are called Gartmore Estate Waterfalls or Gartmore Falls.

Laxapana waterfall

Laxapana Falls is 126 m high and the 8th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and 625th highest waterfall in the world. It is situated in Maskeliya area in Nuwara Eliya District, about 16 km from Maskeliya town on Maskeliya-Norton Bridge road, in a village called Kiriwan Eliya.