Categories
Sri Lanka

Ella – tea town in the mountains

Our accommodation in Ella was called Green Village guest house, and was situated on a hill with a great view of the mountains and Ella Rock.

The guest house was surrounded by forest, and was isolated from the main town, so was very peaceful. The surrounding forest was full of local birds, giant squirrels, some deer, and even lots of fireflies at night.

For some reason there was a few power-outages while we were at this accommodation, while this was annoying, it was awesome to see the stars and fireflies more clearly without any light pollution.

Ella has numerous attractions for visitors to the town, and we made sure to visit most of them. First we decided to walk along the railway tracks from Ella station to the Nine Arches bridge. This is an old bridge, beautifully constructed with nine arches. The walk along the tracks takes about 40min, and has some great scenery along the way. The walk also takes you through one of the many tunnels along the way, and it was fun to see the bats and birds nesting inside the tunnel.

 

One of the days we took the train from Ella station, over the Nine Arches bridge, to the next station, called Demodara Station. At this station we got off and watched the train go around the hill on the ‘Demodara loop’, to return on a track below us, and go through a tunnel under the station. We then walked back towards Ella along the tracks again.

Another one of the attractions in Ella, is a hike up Little Adam’s peak. This was a lovely hike through tea plantations to get to the top of the lookout point, where you have an amazing view of the town, and Ella Rock. The hike was pretty easy, and had some stunning views. We also passed a ‘snake charmer’ along the way who had two cobra snakes that he controlled with his flute.

We visited the Dunhinda waterfall, which is supposed to be one of the nicest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. We had to hike to the falls, which again took us through some amazing forest, and lots of monkeys along the way. Even though it was the ‘dry season’ the area, there was still a lot of water, compared to the Rawana Ella waterfall, which was pretty dry, when we drove past it on our way into Ella.

We went to visit the Dowa temple, which is an ancient rock temple, with a huge carving of Buddha in the rock on the outside.

One of the places we had dinner at while in Ella was Matey Hut, which had the most amazing curry, for really cheap. We saw that they offered cooking classes for 2000 Rupees per person, which was around R180 each. We decided to do the class the next day, which was lots of fun. We learned how to make seven different dishes (Mango curry, Dahl curry, Pumpkin curry, Eggplant curry, Coconut sambal salad, bean curry, and potato curry). There was only one other couple doing the class, so afterwards the four of us had a feast, when we ate all the dishes. It was really interesting to make everything from scratch, including coconut milk from fresh coconuts.

We enjoyed our stay in Ella, being higher above sea level it was much cooler than Arugam bay, and was much more greener and scenic. We left Ella excited for our train ride to the town of Kandy. The train ride is well known as the most scenic train ride in Sri Lanka. It took seven hours to make the journey, passing through the rolling hills covered in tea plantations and jungle forests with waterfalls.

The train ride is long, but the view is worth it!

Categories
Cape Town Hike Nature

Lions Head hike

This is one of the nice and easy hikes to do in Cape Town, and probably the most popular. The locals as well as tourists all want to do this easy walk / hike to the top of Lions head, where you get 360 degree panoramic views of Cape Town

This hike takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the top from where you park your car, depending on your fitness level. The hike is not that difficult, even if you are unfit, you will be able to cope as long as you take it slow. If you are quick, you can reach the top and be down again in about 2.5 hours.

If you are in Cape Town and like short hikes and the outdoors, the hike up Lions head is a must. We have been lots of times to the top and always enjoy the experience.

To get to the starting point you need to drive up Kloof Nek road in Cape Town. At the top where the turn off is on the left to the Table Mountain cable way, you need to go right, into Signal Hill road. Drive a couple of hundred meters up the road, and park in the parking bays at the bottom of the path that takes you to the top of Lion’s Head.

Categories
Cape Town Hike Nature

Cape Point Thomas T Tucker shipwreck trail hike

Thomas T. Tucker trailCape Point Nature reserve is really pretty, and has some cool little hikes you can do if you want to spend the afternoon in nature by the sea.

The Thomas T. Tucker shipwreck trail in the Cape Point Nature Reserve is a very easy hike. This starts from the Olifantsbos parking lot. Follow the yellow markers that guide you through the fynbos down to the beach past rockpools.

Once on the shore, follow the beach towards the wreck of the SS Thomas T. Tucker. This ship was wrecked in 1942 while trying to avoid detection by German U-boats. Along the way you will find lots of interesting things washed up on the beach, and see quite a few different bird species, and maybe even some antelope, ostriches or zebras.

After the Thomas T. Tucker wreck comes the wreck of the Nolloth. The Nolloth was wrecked in 1965, it makes for a good resting point before returning back. You can either return back to the parking lot the same way you came, or follow inland ridge just past the Nolloth wreck and take it back to the Olifantsbos parking area/

If you return from the Nolloth along the beach, the route is an easy 3km and should take around an hour and a half. The inland route is 5km, and will take about two and a half hours.

Here are some of our pictures from the day we spent at Cape Point and on Thomas T. Tucker shipwreck trail: