As someone who adores traveling across Sri Lanka, let me share a little about one of my favorite spots – Olu Falls (ඕලු ඇල්ල). It’s so grand it’s been dubbed the “Sri Lankan Niagara”. And there’s a charming wooden bridge next to it that adds an extra layer of beauty. What’s cool about this waterfall is that it flows strong all year round, even when it’s not the rainy season.
Olu Falls, found in the beautiful Kegalle district, is the highest waterfall in the area. It’s tucked away in the scenic village of Yatianthota Dombepola. Standing at 200 meters tall, it’s the fourth-highest waterfall in the whole of Sri Lanka.
This waterfall is split into two parts thanks to a wooden bridge – the oldest one still in use in Sri Lanka. During the rainy season, it’s a sight to behold as the water pours over the wooden bridge.
Olu Falls is a bit different from other waterfalls, like Dunhida and Bambarakanda. Instead of being one massive waterfall, it’s actually made up of lots of little ones. These smaller falls come from a river called the Wee Oya, and they end up joining the Kelani Ganga. The waterfall is around 60 feet wide and the streams that make it up vary in size and speed.
Finding Olu Falls is pretty simple. It’s near the Dombepola village, on the road from Yatianthotin to Malalpola to Seaport, near the 16th-kilometer canal. You can get there by a couple of different roads from Colombo to Yatianthota. It’s about a 65-75 kilometer journey, depending on the route. Once you reach Yatianthota, it’s another beautiful 16-kilometer ride to Olu Falls.
If you’re coming from the city of Kegalle, you can take a left turn at the Panapitiya junction on the Kotiakumbura/Warawala road, which takes you to Parussella via Bulathkohupitiya road.
Olu Falls starts from the lovely Wevelthalawa, part of the Hangolla Tea Estate that was built during British rule. They used to call this area Velvet, and over time it’s become known as Vevelthalawa. This place is also the only spot in Sri Lanka with a cable car system.
Wevelthalawa is a peaceful, secluded village, over 2800 feet above sea level. On the way there, you’ll see plenty of tea plantations, the Yatiantota Independent Television Broadcasting Center, and even a huge rock that has water all year round. You’ll also pass through the tea fields of the Halgolla Estate, surrounded by forests full of wildlife like leopards, elks, and jackals.
Recently, things have changed a bit. This used to be an open area for tourists, but now there are signs saying that it’s a private estate belonging to the Kelaniveli Plantation Company. We’re still allowed to visit, but not as freely as before. Sadly, some people haven’t been respectful of the area, leaving behind rubbish like plastic and glass bottles.
So, if you’re like me and love Olu Falls, let’s do our part to keep it beautiful. When we visit, let’s take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints. After all, we want this amazing place to be around for future generations to enjoy!