“KNUCKLES FRONTIER” – operated by “Backwoodsman Adventures”, is our Base of activity. It is a 100 acre campsite nestled in a mist-laden valley on the south-western slopes of the Knuckles Mountain Range on the fringes (outside) of the Knuckles Protected Zone, in the North of the central hill-complex of Sri Lanka; hence the impact of our Base of activities on the environment of the protected zone is ‘minimal’ if not zero. The elevation of the ‘lay’ of the land varies from 500m in the lower parts of the campsite upto 1200m in the upper reaches encapsulating a ‘micro-cosm’ of the mighty Knuckles; montane/sub-montane forests, riverine forests, lowland-evergreen forests, scrub jungle and patna grasslands. It also includes Tea, Spice, Fruit and Rice paddy cultivations in the lower parts.
Throughout the campsite, rocky outcrops offer vantage points of stunningly beautiful views of the ‘Dumbara’ (mist-laden) Knuckles valley. Pristine waters of the ‘Heel-Oya’ flows right down the middle of the campsite for 4.5km from the very top to the lowest point, running through the entire length of the 100 acre campsite. At the halfway point in its journey, the ‘Heel-Oya’ gushes out into a 28m high ‘Ran Ella’ waterfall, creating a huge awe-inspiring ‘Black-Pool’ of approx. 30m (90ft) depth. A good 500m of ‘Heel-Oya’ flows underground with a ‘rumble’ – covered with boulders – in the upper reaches of the campsite before emerging triumphantly out into the open with a mighty hurry.
The “Knuckles Frontier” still ‘untouched & unexplored’ and of significant natural beauty and bio-diversity offers simple, un-sophisticated, minimalist ‘Back-to-Nature’ wilderness camping & adventure experience (with due ‘Safety’ & ‘Privacy’ our guests deserve), not-to-mention a fantastic opportunity to get ‘up-close and personal’ with nature’s small miracles.
The team of ‘facilitators’ at the “Knuckles Frontier” are both, occupational specialists in their adventure skills and ‘St.John Ambulance’ qualified first-aid providers. They are also trained ‘first-responders’ in natural disaster/emergency rescue situations. We have a qualified ‘Medical Doctor’ at walking distance from the campsite, to attend to medical emergencies. All the guides/trackers deployed on our expeditions/hikes are from the Forest/Wildlife Department of Sri Lanka.
The food & beverages provided (F&B – ‘self served’) are of the backcountry ‘forest village’ type meals, with the exception of ‘meals-ready-to-eat’ (mre) during certain adventure activity like long-range expedition/hiking.
We take pride in having set-up for you, very modest, but clean ‘jungle comfort’ style toilet/washroom facilities throughout the wilderness campsite and activity areas.
The closest town/village to the “Knuckles Frontier” – our Base Camp – is Rangala/Tangappuwa. From the ‘hill citadel’ Kandy to our campsite is max. 2hrs travel time on carpet road via Theldeniya-Rangala. From Theldeniya to our Base Camp via Rangala is only approx. 25km. The length & breadth of the campsite has accessibilty through a network of well maintained ‘motorable’ roads/’jeep’ tracks/’horse’ tracks/’foot’ paths.
Our Base Camp at the “Knuckles Frontier” gets an average annual rainfall of approx. 5000mm. The average annual temperature is approx. 17 degrees (Celsius) – but with the wind-chill-factor/mist and especially at night – the temperature can plummet to ‘single digits.’ The campsite has not experienced even a hint of flood/earth-slip/earth tremor in its known history. The detailed hourly meteogram/weather-forecast for the Knuckles forest reserve is at:
From here on, you are venturing into ‘God’s own 100 acre – sacred ‘sanctuary’. You are expected to be mindful of every thought-word-deed of yours, throughout your stay at the “KNUCKLES FRONTIER” for – your own good. The Knuckles forest is one of the few relict geological remnants in the world, whose origin lies within the ‘Gondwanaland’………hence, ‘godly deities’ watch over this piece of forest from the beginning of times……… Wonderful spiritual enlightenment has been experienced by many who have engaged in deep meditation, in certain mystical locations found throughout the Knuckles forest.
The Adventure “OUTPOST”
THE “OUTPOST” is the ‘Adventure’ Wing of the “Knuckles Frontier” at Rangala/Tangappuwa. At the “Outpost” you are welcome to experience a wide variety of ‘Back-to-Nature’ adventure activity, all within the ‘100-acre Campsite’ such as:-
-The “BACKPACKER” Inn (rustic cabins)
The “Outpost” also offers “OUTBACK” training programmes at the ‘Campsite’ such as:-
-Self-Confidence building/Leadership (Individual Re-orientation)
-Team Building/Leadership (Team cohesion)
The ‘Backpacker Inn’ is a cluster of ‘no-nonsense’ rustic cabins, typically situated down laid-back areas of the “Knuckles Frontier” having motorable road access; perfectly located to explore the great outdoors and to service the Camping sites and Caravan Parks.
The feel of the ‘Backpacker Inn’ is relaxed and friendly. A cook ‘Appu’ for each ‘Backpacker Inn’ is there to prepare meals and to help with any advice that you need to get you out, about and enjoying the Knuckles backwoods to the fullest.
The rustic cabins are clean, well ventilated and has electricity. Accommodation includes backcountry type meals (curries made from garden-fresh vegetables/meat/fish/eggs with rice or rice-flour based menus/fruits) self-served and freshly brewed tea at all times. Each of the four beds (two double bunks) in a cabin has a locker, night-light, convenience shelf, and linen with pillow. Additionally, a writing table/chair is provided for each cabin. The ‘Backpacker Inn’ (a cluster of cabins) has a common pantry/meal room, WC/washroom facility (with hot/cold water) and a washing machine.
“SANCTUARY” – The Nature Tourism Resort
The “SANCTUARY” is the ‘Nature-tourism’ Wing of the “Knuckles Frontier” with attractions such as:-
-Home-stay type Cabanas
-Wilderness Spa/Aroma therapy
-Specialty ‘Tea’ garden
-Model Agro Farm/Tissue Culture
-Cardamom research Centre
All our events/programmes/activities are designed & developed, keeping in mind the need to reducing their ‘Carbon Footprint’ through the use of Carbon ‘audits’ and climate compliant ‘Green’ practices.
1. At the “Knuckles Frontier” we ourselves practice, and strictly enforce a “LEAVE-NO-TRACE” (LNT) policy. Also, our 100 acre-campsite is declared a “NO Polythene/NO Alcohol/NO Smoking” area. However, we have certain designated places at the Visitor Centre and the Backpacker Inn for consuming alcohol and smoking.
2. It is strictly forbidden to ‘damage/cut’ trees in the campsite as well as the Knuckles forest reserve. Lighting ‘fires’ throughout the reserve is very strictly regulated, in that ‘fires’ are allowed only at pre-designated ‘regulated/controlled’ fire-points.
3. The use of radios/music-playing devices is discouraged (unless with head/ear-phones) as the noise destroys the ‘near-spiritual’ ambiance/nature’s ‘vibes’ as well as the delicate balance of the Knuckles eco-system – instead, listen to the music of ‘nature’.
More details pertaining to the ‘Knuckles Forest reserve/Mountain Range can be found at the official website of the Forest Department:- Central Highlands of Sri Lanka World Heritage Property.