A secret famous route to Ella’s Rock.
Another popular hiking route from Ella town is to Ella’s Rock. However, the route is not easy to navigate as there were no signs to indicate the direction during this trekking trail.
Here is what we were told by our host: just follow up the walking path beside the guesthouse, then you will follow the rail track for 30 minutes then you will cross a black bridge and turn to a small path when you see this and that …
We couldn’t remember the exact words but it was clear that it wasn’t as simple as would be suggested.
The suggested hike time is approximately 4 hours, but I would give ourselves a little bit more time due to the hiking experience in Patagonia. (Read my post on: The Painful 28km hike, El Chaltén)
Before starting, here is the previous post on Sri Lanka Adventure, another scenic train journey to my town, Ella
How to get to Ella’s rock? Here is the real experience…
The reality was no one could really explain the exact route by just describing it verbally. The best and easiest way was to get a local guide to take you up and back. Alternatively get the app Map.Me, I didn’t know about this app until later in the trip when we met a french traveller who used it to navigate the trekking route.
Fortunately, we met a solo Scottish traveller just at the start of our hike, she was walking with a local guide. We invited ourselves to follow them and the girl didn’t seem to mind having more travellers to be part of the day. Not just us, but more travellers started to follow us and we ended up part of a larger group.
The hike was easy to begin with but it got harder and harder when we started to ascend steeply. We met another group coming from the other side of the hill and the guide of the other group mentioned there was incident with the hornet’s nest so it was not advisable to walk through the usual route. So the 2 large group merged and the group had to find an alternate route.
Got lost in middle of the nowhere… A local farmer helped us.
It seemed we were the only unfit people in the group. We stopped to have a quick rest and I thought we could catch them in 2 minutes. But we got lost! Just in 2 minutes we lost the sight of them in amongst the trees on the side of the mountain. It was a very bizarre situation. We were left alone suddenly and did not know which direction to continue.
As we walked towards a random direction with hopes to meet other living souls, a voice shouted behind us, it was a local farmer who spoke barely any word in English. He just pointed towards a completely opposite direction and gestured us to follow him.
We had no other choice but to follow him until we finally saw other travellers who was following the right route up the mountain towards Ella’s Rock. We thanked the farmer and continued our hike to Ella’s Rock.
Ella’s Rock is a rocky cliff on the summit with overhanging rocks. The view was spectacular. We saw many travellers sat by the edge of the cliff enjoying their moment. The Scottish girl we started the journey with who had just arrived too. The group was also wondering where we were as we disappeared so suddenly. The situation remained as an unsolved puzzle. Anyway, one thing we did realise was without that Scottish girl and her guide, we would have never been able to make it on our own to this place.
Returning to Ella
We rested a bit at Ella’s Rock then we started to descend. Trekking back was much easier and quicker. We just followed the crowd and we can clearly see the walking path and the ongoing travellers.
We arrived back in Ella just a couple of hours before our departure to Tissamaharama, our next destination in Sri Lanka. Cafe Chill is the most popular restaurant in Ella which had been recommended to us by many other travellers. I liked this place very much not just for its excellent food but also it’s the only place where you can get a nice and chilled alcoholic drink easily. We highly recommend eating the local cuisine – the curries are fantastic.
Continue reading: Yala National Park Safari, Say “Hi” to the leopard.