I find it hard to go past a National Park without wondering if it will be a better alternative to what is outside its gates, so when I found myself near Horton Plains National Park in Sri Lanka's hill country, it seemed too good to pass by.
After a somewhat speedy and hair-raising jeep ride to get there in the hands of a rally-driving wannabe, the reward was breathtaking cloud forest and plateau scenery and a welcome opportunity to stretch out the legs on the popular 9.5km hiking circuit to World's End and Baker's Falls.
Although the leopards, boars and purple-faced langur (monkeys) were staying out of sight, it was kinda cool knowing they were lurking in the vegetation somewhere..... but they may have been kept away by the constant chatter from the selfie-stick wielding girl hiking in red ballet flats and a sun frock.....
One of the most impressive things about this National Park is the proactive steps they are taking to ensure this pristine environment stays free of plastic and waste. As visitors enter the park, all bags are checked and any loose plastic items (including bags and shrink-wrapped drink bottle labels) are removed or swapped for a paper alternative - reducing the risk of plastic it making its way into the waterways and onto the plateau.
The results speak for themselves and I didn't see a single piece of litter on the whole trail. Kudos to this National Park for finding a better alternative to managing plastic and for keeping this piece of Sri Lanka special.