Aberdeen Falls is a scenic waterfall located in the Nuwara Eliya District of Sri Lanka. Often less crowded than some of the other waterfalls in the area, it provides an ideal setting for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The falls attract visitors with its breathtaking beauty. This travel guide aims to offer you all the details you need to plan a visit to Aberdeen Falls.
Details of Aberdeen Falls
History and Naming
The waterfall gets its name from Aberdeen, the third-largest city in Scotland. British colonialists are credited with naming it during their rule. There's no specific historical importance to the falls, but it is a notable natural attraction in Sri Lanka.
Aberdeen Falls is an impressive natural wonder that stands at a height of 98 meters, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. The waterfall is distinctive for its two-tier cascade, which means that the water flows down two separate but closely aligned vertical drops. The first tier is more gradual and serves as a prelude to the second, more dramatic drop, where the water plunges into the deep pool below. The sight of water thundering down these two drops provides an awe-inspiring visual spectacle.
The pool at the base of the waterfall is another noteworthy feature. It is quite deep and covers a substantial area, making it an inviting option for swimming. The water in the pool is generally cool, offering a refreshing experience, especially after the walk to the falls. The pool's edges can be rocky, and the depth can vary, so it's important to be careful if you decide to take a dip.
Aberdeen Falls is more accessible compared to many other waterfalls in Sri Lanka. It requires a 1.2-kilometer walk from the parking area to reach the viewpoint. The pathway is well-maintained but can be slippery during the rainy season.
Viewing Platforms and Points
While the waterfall can be viewed from various angles along the trail, there is a specific viewing area that provides an unobstructed view of both tiers of the falls. This platform is a popular spot for taking photographs and simply soaking in the beauty of the falls. There's also a secondary viewing point a bit further down, which offers a different perspective, capturing the pool and the lower portions of the falls.
Things to Do at Aberdeen Falls
Swimming is perhaps one of the most enjoyable activities at Aberdeen Falls. The natural pool at the base offers a large area for swimming, suitable for both beginners and experienced swimmers. The water is cool and refreshing, which can be particularly inviting after the walk to reach the falls. The pool has varying depths, allowing for different swimming experiences. Some areas are shallow enough for wading, while others are deep enough for a more adventurous swim. However, please exercise caution and swim in designated areas or where locals deem it safe.
Aberdeen Falls offers multiple opportunities for photography, whether you're an amateur or a professional. Early mornings offer soft, diffused light, ideal for capturing the beauty of the falls. Late afternoons also provide good lighting conditions. The two-tier cascade, the surrounding greenery, and the deep pool at the base offer varied subjects to capture through your lens.
Visitors often bring along a packed lunch or snacks to enjoy a picnic near the falls. The area around the waterfall has some open spaces suitable for laying down a blanket and enjoying a meal with a view. Since there are limited shops in the vicinity, it's advisable to bring your food and drinks.
For those interested in hiking, the surrounding areas offer trails that are moderate in difficulty. These trails allow you to explore the forest and may lead you to smaller streams or viewpoints overlooking the landscape. It’s a good way to spend extra time if you're not in a rush to leave the falls.
The area around Aberdeen Falls is home to various bird species. With a good pair of binoculars, you might spot birds like kingfishers, orioles, and various types of flycatchers. Early morning is generally the best time for birdwatching.
Flora and Fauna
The area around Aberdeen Falls is rich in different types of trees and plants. You can find common species like jackfruit and mango trees. There are also a variety of herbs and medicinal plants.
While the falls themselves may not be rich in animal life, the surrounding areas are home to different species. These include birds like kingfishers and various species of monkeys. Though rare, sightings of leopards have also been reported in the broader region.
Location and How to Get There
Aberdeen Falls is located in the Nuwara Eliya District, specifically near the Ginigathhena town.
From Colombo, Aberdeen Falls is approximately a 3.5-hour drive. Public transport options include buses that go towards Ginigathhena. From there, you can hire local taxis or tuk-tuks to reach the falls.
If you are traveling from Nuwara Eliya, the distance to Aberdeen Falls is around 68 kilometers. The journey by car usually takes about 2-2.5 hours, depending on road conditions. You can choose to rental with a driver or drive yourself if you're comfortable navigating Sri Lankan roads. There are also public buses available that run between Nuwara Eliya and Ginigathhena, but you'll still need to take a local taxi or tuk-tuk for the final stretch to the falls.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Aberdeen Falls is during September to December. During this time, the weather is generally clear, and the water levels are moderate, making it safer for activities like swimming.
Tips and Advice
- Footwear: Choose sturdy and slip-resistant shoes for the hike to the falls. The trail might be slippery, especially in the rainy season.
- Swimming Safety: If you plan to swim, be cautious of the water currents and the varying depth of the pool. Always swim with a buddy and in areas considered safe by locals.
- Food and Water: Carry your own snacks and bottled water, as there are limited shops near the falls. It's also a good idea to bring a small, portable cooler if you plan to spend more time.
- Waste Disposal: There are not many trash bins in the area. Carry a small bag to collect your trash and dispose of it properly later.
- Local Guides: Consider hiring a local guide if you're unfamiliar with the area or plan on hiking. Guides can enhance your experience by sharing knowledge of local flora and fauna.
- Photography: Early mornings and late afternoons provide the best light conditions for photography. A tripod can be useful for capturing long-exposure shots of the waterfall.
- Public Transport: If using public transport, plan your return journey in advance as services may be limited, especially in the evening.
- Weather Check: Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip. Sudden rain can make trails slippery and water levels unpredictable.
- Devon Falls: Located approximately 40 kilometers from Aberdeen Falls, this waterfall is a prime spot for photography.
- Laxapana Falls: About 12 kilometers away, this waterfall offers a grand view and hiking opportunities.
- Kitulgala: Just 15 kilometers from Aberdeen Falls. Kitulgala is Sri Lanka's most famous spot for white-water rafting.
- Hatton: Located about 28.7 kilometers from Aberdeen Falls, Hatton is a town known for its tea plantations. It's also a common base for those planning to climb Adam's Peak.
- Kotmale: Around 47 kilometers from the falls, Kotmale is known for its reservoir and dam. The area offers picturesque views, and the Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya stupa is a noteworthy site to visit.
Aberdeen Falls is not just a destination but an experience that offers a balanced mix of adventure and relaxation. Its location allows for easy travel, and the variety of activities available cater to different interests. Coupled with other nearby attractions, a trip to Aberdeen Falls promises a fulfilling and well-rounded Sri Lankan adventure. So don't miss the chance to include it in your travel plans.