Monday, July 29, 2013

Travel Monday: Taking a refreshing dip under the Suratalee Falls

The waterfalls in Sri Lanka... they come in all shapes and sizes: tall, spectacular, gorgeous, breathtaking, tranquil and dip-worthy! I have made some awesome treks (yes, to see some of these you will have to put in some effort!) to view and explore some of these waterfalls, and at some point, I will blog about them all.

For this post, I decided on Suratalee (or sometimes spelt Surathali) Falls. I was on one of my infamous roadtrips with a few friends and we unexpectedly found this waterfall. It was totally unplanned, and when we stumbled upon Suratalee Falls, we had been travelling from Haputale towards Belihul Oya on the A4 highway. It is close to Beragala.

Sometimes you see something that catches your eye (and this definitely applies to any roadtrip around Sri Lanka if you're adventurous like me) so you jump out of the car to investigate. That's how we found this one.

Don't be put off by the blatant political advertising (it happens to be on every placard or sign on most, if not all, local tourism sites). It drives some of my friends completely bonkers, but I figure it's educational (yes, I'm being facetious!)

Suratalee Falls is a bit of gem in my books. It's one of those waterfalls that catches you by surprise, not because it's massive or beautiful, but because it's easy to access, off the beaten track, secluded, and you're rewarded with a dip as well. Plus, it's free of charge (for now).

So you follow the sign at the entrance. It is then an easy 20 meter trek through the jungle to get to the waterfall. There's nothing too complicated navigating through the greenery. 

It's as easy as following the sounds of the flowing water... as you near the Suratalee Falls the sounds change to gushing water and you catch a glimpse through the jungle of the waterfall.

My photos seriously don't do this place justice! I was also hesitant in taking my camera too close to the water for fear of the camera going for an expensive dip! Anyhow, it's almost like trying to capture the essence of an idyllic afternoon in an enclosed jungle oasis but falling well short. So bear that in mind as you read this post!

When we visited it was not at full flow (apparently this would happen on a rainy day).

After climbing over a few rocks you get the opportunity to take an enjoyable dip in clean and refreshingly cool water captured flowing off the waterfall into a safe and shallow basin. 

You can see the distinct segments of the waterfall as you glance up and around. My research tells me Suratalee Falls is 60 meters in height and 2 meters wide.  Interestingly, it originates from Sri Pada Reserve's Ellamana mountain range (948m). The waterfall is created by the Kadawath River, which flows along Sabaragamuwa Uva and later into the Weli River. 

My group of friends and I spent a leisurely afternoon taking a dip, enjoying an impromptu picnic and soaking up the secluded natural surroundings.

As I mentioned, the water basin is shallow and small in size. Ten or more people can probably fit into the basin, while two or three can stand directly under the waterfall! More people can sit on the rocks and look up at the waterfall and at the surrounding jungle area.

In the water you can see lots of little fish. When you dip your feet in or wade through the water to get under the waterfall, you can feel the little fish nipping at your toes. It's a thoroughly strange feeling that had me scrambling for the rocks until I figured out what was going on.

Under the waterfall is the most refreshing experience. On a hot day, it's like pure heaven. All that's missing is.... nothing at all. After a few times under the waterfall, it was lovely to sit on the rocks. And while you're sat there, little insects that look like dragon flies flutter around you. Bliss!

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