Jeep Track from Bambarakanda to Ohiya, a must do for the adventure seeker

By : Ranga Chandrasekara
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Year & Month Number of Days Crew Weather Transport
Apr, 2011 2 4 Excellent, occasional mild showers Toyota land Cruiser BJ40
Trip Route
Colombo, Ratnapura, Balangoda, Belihuloya, Kalupahana, Bambarakanda

Bambarakanda, Ohiya, Boralanda, Haputale, Ratnapura, Colombo

Bambarakanda Resort

Travel Tips, Travel Notes and Special remarks
  • Pack some high calorie snacks, some glucose, and plenty of water.
  • Make sure the tires have good treads, as certain places get slippery if it rains, and it’s no place for trial and error.
  • Make sure the 4×4 is in order, and that you have topped up required fluids.
  • Map/compass will surely come handy as chances of you getting correct information from locals is very minimum. The estate workers do not talk about distances in usual measurements like km’s etc and information could be very deceiving.
  • The trip from Bambarakanda could take hours so start early, as mist hovers into the mountains in the early afternoon.
  • It’s going to be slow and long, so have the proper mindset before setting off.

We started the much awaited trip to Bambarakanda on the 30th April from Colombo, and proceeded towards Ratnapura, where we stopped and got hold of some essential items for the journey. It was a nice and a sunny morning and we weren’t in a hurry as our plan for the day was to reach Bambarakanda and stay the day at the Bambarakanda rest. Just after passing the 171st kilometer post on the road we found the turnoff to Bambarakanda. A couple of kilometers along the way, the falls suddenly opened up in front of us.

We were greeted by Mrs. Mayakaduwa who runs the Bambarakanda rest, and after having a sumptuous lunch, we hiked to the base pool of the falls and had a very refreshing bath.

devils staircaseWe were greeted by Mrs. Mayakaduwa upon arrival at the rest.

Smart aren’t we?

The following day was a big day for us as we were getting ready to do the real adventure. We loaded breakfast packed by the lady onto the jeep and after checking the jeep on fluid levels etc, we set off towards Ohiya. Mrs. Mayakaduwa enlightened us on the trail and the surroundings before us setting off.

Need more oil?

Just meters away from the resort, the conditions of the road changed drastically, in to a broken rocky track with a fair ascent towards an unknown territory.

Heading towards the unknown

devils staircaseThe only vehicle on the track for the day.

The road conditions were pretty much the same if not worse for a fairly long distance and it was a very slow climb. On to your left was the precipice of the Bambarakanda and in certain places it was clearly visible. It’s important to engage 4X4 and be cautious on the steering. Thereafter we came to the infamous V-cut pass, where the first flat terrain is found after leaving the resort, and it was a perfect place to rest a bit and click on some beauty.

A small rest at the V-Cut pass

It’s a peculiar place!

The local elderly person we met there seemed to be very helpful in giving us information on the terrain ahead etc, however we later found that the information given was hardly correct. We actually later realized that even though many people talk about this track, not many people have actually done the track so it s more of what they have heard than what they really have seen.

Another land mark was just around the corner as we started from the V-cut pass, which was the feeder stream of Bambarakanda falls. We crossed the stream which flows across the track. A good place for some more clicking.

Crossing the Bambarakanda feeder!

The road conditions continued to be challenging, with hairpin bends with the same gradient of the track, and it was always rocky. The slow journey continued through many tea estates – four estates to pass till ohiya – where the sceneries are always in abundance.

The “West Haputale” sign board gave us the indication that we were closing in on the most awaited part of the track. From the start, it was self explanatory why they named that part of the track as devil’s stair case. It is a series of very sharp bends descending rapidly over a short distance. The drizzle made it even more challenging, and you truly start to praise the inventor of four wheel drive. Be careful here as a wrong decision on any of your pedals could cause serious situations.

Negotiating the bends was strenuous and we needed a small break, and the perfect place was right beneath the stair case, where the track becomes flat aside a huge boulder.

Just after negotiating the Devil’s stair case. She obviously looks tired..

The only sign board you would find for a long distance

Continue straight, not a place to turn

As we continued the journey we found an option of turning towards Ohiya – Horton plains road which was three kilometers long as opposed to the alternative route which was ten kilometers. As we were planning to return to Colombo the same day, we opted to take the shorter route with a view to saving time. The climb as well as the challenges kept on continuing. It became rockier too. The assistance given to us by Ganesh, a friendly local who offered his services as a guide was extremely important to us.

Could it be steeper?

Could it be steeper?

Hold on tight brothers!

Almost there!

We reached the Ohiya – Horton plains road near the 26th km post, and the rubber met some proper roads at last. After bidding farewell to Ganesh, we climbed down towards Ohiya, where we indulged ourselves in some Rotti, Seeni sambol and plain tea. The much awaited shop was a treat in itself as all of us were way too tired and hungry. The refreshments gave us a good boost to start our journey back home. We headed towards Boralanda, cut across to Haputale and headed home with some unforgettable memories of the infamous devil’s stair case. Nadeera, Harsha, Nava and I, along with my beloved old cruiser did it together as a team. We feel great about it!

The locals – Ranjith, Ganesh and Ganesh’s pet dog –
Thanks for the guidance guys!

Some Related Trip Reports

Ohiya – Kalupahana Jeep Track ( Devils Staircase | Devils Road )

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මිහිදුම් සළුවෙන් හැඩවූ කිරිගල්පොත්ත මනාලිය

Have a Safe Journey!

3 Responses to “Jeep Track from Bambarakanda to Ohiya, a must do for the adventure seeker”

  1. Hi Ranga.

    A real adventure !
    Enjoyed much.
    Thanks for sharing.



  2. Thanks a lot for your lovely report

  3. Much enjoyed. Superb article. Thank you for sharing :)