29th Mar 2025 - 6th Apr 2025
9 days/Sri Lanka /Moderate
This four-day trek gives you an insight into Sri Lanka’s natural beauty and biological diversity as well as a great opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
This trek requires stamina, a good level of fitness and a positive mental attitude. You will be trekking on steep and uneven terrain through hot and humid jungle, staying in comfortable campsites and lodges along the way. We finish at Unawatuna Beach for a relaxing two-night stay, where Different Travel’s first trip took place back in 2005!
You don’t have to fundraise to join an open challenge but you can support a charity of your choice if you wish. See the costs tab for more details.
Also called the Knuckles Massif, the Knuckles Mountain Range is situated at a height of over 3,000ft above sea level. The Knuckle Forest reserve has many streams feeding the downstream rivers and is considered a vital water catchment.
The vegetation is mainly semi evergreen with large trees, the upper slopes containing evergreen rain forest and the upper levels with cloud forests.
The trek can be undertaken by anyone with a good level of fitness, who is healthy and determined.
Adequate preparation, planning and training is important because the fitter you are the more you will enjoy this experience. An ideal candidate would be a hill walker, an open-minded person with a sense of adventure or someone who would like to take part in a life-changing fundraising experience in the beautiful landscape.
You must be at least 18 years old to participate on this trek unaccompanied. It may be possible for you to participate if you are 16 or 17 years old, but you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit.
You will be accompanied by first aid trained English-speaking guides who have an excellent knowledge of hiking, culture and nature in the region. You will also be accompanied by a team of local support staff and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager.
You must arrive in Sri Lanka and prepared for this challenge. You should start training when you sign up to this trek to ensure the best chance of success and enjoyment on the challenge.
Hill walking while carrying a heavy backpack should form a major part of your training as this will most closely replicate the actual trek and is the best way to prepare your body for the numerous ascents and descents involved.
The climate in Sri Lanka is hot, humid and wet all year round. It cannot be stressed enough that the distinction between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ seasons is not marked, and while weather patterns and rainfall is unpredictable it will generally be hot and wet for most of the trip. Temperatures historically reach up to 30°C during the day and drop to around 23°C at night although it may feel cooler at higher altitudes. The humidity is high, usually at least 78% every day.
The terrain varies greatly on this trek, from overgrown jungle paths to good open tracks and smaller paths. You can expect uneven and often slippery ground underfoot. There will be a number of steep ascents and long descents so you must arrive in Sri Lanka fit and prepared. The paths can be muddy and slippery after rain.
You will spend the first night in a chalet, two nights camping in basic campsites (tents are provided, but you will need to bring a lightweight sleeping bag), two nights at a forest hotel and then the final three nights at a beach hotel.
There are basic toilet and shower facilities whilst camping, and we suggest you bring a pack of baby wipes for general hygiene. It may also be possible to bathe in some of the streams near camp; if you do this you must use natural, bio-degradable products which will not contaminate the water.
If you need to use the toilet during the trek day you must inform the guides you are stopping and find a private area off the trail. You must never leave used toilet paper on the ground; this must be packed up into a nappy bag or sanitary disposal bag and carried to camp.
Sri Lankan food is traditionally spicy with lots of chilli, ginger and coconut. Meals are cooked by your trek team and will comprise of various simple local dishes, usually served with rice. Plates, mugs, cutlery and other equipment are provided for you and dietary requirements can be catered for if we are notified in advance.
Your recommended kit list can be found here
London – Colombo
Fly to Colombo on an overnight flight, arriving the next day.
Upon arriving in Colombo we will transfer to the Knuckles National Park (approx. 4 hours) for our first nights in a chalet. We will meet the local team and prepare for the activities to come before a welcome dinner.
After a hearty breakfast we set off on a full-day trek exploring the stunning scenery of the Knuckles Mountain Range.
Trekking: Approx.15kms 7 hours
Knuckles – Belihul Oya
We leave this morning for Belihul Oya (approx. 5 hours), and enjoy lunch on arrival before commencing an afternoon trek.
Trekking: Approx. 3 hours
Belihul Oya – Deniyaya
Another morning of trekking, enjoying the remote and peaceful landscapes of this beautiful area. After lunch back at camp, we set off for our third trekking destination, Deniyaya (approx 4 hours).
Trekking: Approx. 4 hours
Sinharaja Rain Forest
Today’s trek is through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sinharaja Rain Forest, home to over 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of mammals and butterflies. There is a chance to enjoy a refreshing dip in a waterfall this afternoon before heading back to our hotel for the night.
Trekking: Approx. 5-6 hours
Sinharaja – Unawatuna
After breakfast we set off for Unawatuna (approx 3 hours), the location of Different Travel’s first ever trips back in 2005! Enjoy a couple of relaxing days on the beach, or exploring the local area.
A day at leisure followed by a farewell dinner this evening.
Unawatuna – Colombo – UK
We will transfer to the airport for our return flight back to the UK. You may arrive back the next day.
N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual weather, the ability of the group, wildlife movements and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary but we cannot be held responsible for changes that occur outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the group’s health and safety.
Registration fee: £395 (please contact us to discuss paying this in instalments) and then either…
Flexi: £1,900 trip costs and £1,900 sponsorship for a charity* of your choice
This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.
This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.
This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.
*If your chosen charity is not on this list, please seek permission to fundraise for them by taking part in this challenge before making your booking.
If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.