...let your Journey begin.
...you’ve discovered Mandira - your haven high in the hills is surrounded by beauty and Mother Nature’s most bountiful and diverse blessings. Up here, all may seem still and quiet, but there is much to do all around you - both near and far. Sights to see, sounds to hear, discoveries to make, journeys to take... ...here is a little glimpse of what’s in store. Come, explore.
Tea factory and workers in the early 19th Century - archive photographs
...a lasting legacy Tea - the humble brew from the plant ‘Camellia Sinensis’ is probably the world’s most popular beverage today. In the early 19th century, some persevering planters experimented with tea when their efforts with coffee ground to a halt, and the first commercial planting began in 1867. The combination of elevation and climate proved perfect and the rest is history. As the world agrees to this day, there is nothing quite like a cup of pure Ceylon Tea.
...our famous brew...
Ancient lianas at Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve - a Unesco Heritage Site
...the rich biodiversity of Sri Lanka Recognized as one of the 25 Biodiversity hotspots
Flora: The natural forests of Sri Lanka are
Reptiles & Amphibians: Sri Lanka currently contains
of the world, Sri Lanka has the highest biodiversity
categorized into eight types, and there are 3,210
173 species of reptiles, of which 56 are threatened and
density in Asia due to its varied climate and
flowering plants belonging to 1,052 genera. 916
103 are endemic. Sri Lanka has one of the richest
species and 18 genera are endemic to the island.
diversity of amphibians in the world, containing over 119 species with 109 endemic species - 52 species are threatened, all but one of which are endemic.
Although the country is relatively small in size, a
Mammals: Sri Lanka is home to around 123
remarkably high proportion of the species among
species of mammals, 41 of which are threatened
its flora and fauna - 27% of the 3,210 flowering
(9 critically). 16 are endemic, of which 14 are
Fish: Sri Lanka contains 93 species of freshwater
plants and 22% of the mammals - are endemic.
threatened, including the sloth bear, the endemic
fish, and 50 of which are endemic to the country.
These species are distributed in a wide range of
Sri Lanka leopard (Pantheras Pardus Kotiya) and Sri
28 species are categorized as threatened by
Lankan elephant and the sambar. Bats have the
IUCN. There are 8 species of brackish water fish
highest amount of species (out of 200 mammalian
that also come to freshwater, and 24 introduced
orders), with 30 different species. The surrounding
exotic fish species.
grassland, aquatic, coastal, marine and cultivated. Such diverse ecosystems have resulted in a host
waters are home to 28 species of Cetaceans. Insects: The total number of insect species is about
of habitats which contain high genetic diversity. Sri Lanka has declared 24 wildlife reserves dotted
Birds: Sri Lanka is home to 227 species of birds
11,144 with 245 butterflies species recorded of which
around the island which are home to a wide range
(though some past estimates put it as high as 486)
24 are endemic. Insects belonging to all 32 orders
of native species.
- 46 of which are threatened (10 critically).
except Grylloblattodea have been recorded.
Sri Lankan sambar deer (Rusa unicolor unicolor) Sri Lankan sub-species found in Horton Plains.
Rich in fauna and flora, the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka comprising the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, Horton Plains National Park and Knuckles Mountain Range is the newest recognised world Heritage Site in Sri Lanka. 51 % of the endemics are found only in this ecoregion with five strict endemic mammals, five strict endemic bird species and 20 near endemics. Excursions to these parks are a must for avid nature lovers, but you donâ€™t have to go far to spot some of them though - there
are birds and beasts aplenty to observe in your treks around the locality, and even in our bungalow gardens.
Ceylon Hill White-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis) Endemic. Common in the hills. Bear Monkey/ Montane Purple-faced Langur (Trachypithecus vetulus monticola) Classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List - only found in highland forests of Sri Lanka.
Jerdonâ€™s Leafbird (Chloropsis jerdoni) Commonly seen around our bungalows.
...nature around us...
African Tulip Tree (Spathodea Campanulata) A tall tree common in home gardens and roadsides with bright orange-red flowers. An unmistakable feature at our Craig Appin bungalow.
Maha rath mala (Rhododendron arboreum ssp. zeylanicum) A rare sub-species of Rhododendron Arboreum found in the Central Highlands.
With half of Sri Lankaâ€™s endemic flowering plants restricted to this eco-region, the hills are offer a wealth of flora to discover. Tropical evergreen forests with tall trees, broad foliage, and a dense undergrowth of vines and creepers, subtropical evergreen forests in the higher altitudes and montane grasslands of Horton Plains, all provide incredible diversity. Many of the common hill country flora - from towering Spathodea trees to tiny Binara flowers - are found in abundance in the locality, so keep a look out on your walks around the area. A trip to the wilderness reserves is a must, however, for the true enthusiast.
Binara/Ginihiriya] (Exacum trinervium macranthum) Endemic. Common to the Central Hills.
Lush green mountains fade to greater heights in the misty blue distance; waterfalls cascade and spiral down. The air is brisk and clean. The heat of the tropics seems far behind. You are at the very heart of the â€˜tea countryâ€™ high on the South central hills of Sri Lanka - around 4500 ft above sea level. The busy little outpost of Hatton - the closest town to where we are, is around 130 km from the capital, Colombo.
Strathdon Bungalow : Wake up to the luxurious charms of the 19th century at Strathdon bungalow - once home To â€˜plantersâ€™ who presided over the Strathdon Estate. Step out across the stately porch on to the platform for a panoramic view of the distant hills. Sip a strong, plantation grown cuppa and watch a train move slowly up the faraway slope, and step back to another era.
DickOya Bungalow : Boasting an illustrious past, DickOya Bungalow was built in the early 1900â€™s as a planterâ€™s residence reigning over the slopes of Dickoya Estate - one of the earliest plantations in the district. The sprawling bungalow is furnished with indulgent comfort in mind, and surrounded by 4 acres of
scenic grounds there is much to explore too.
Craig Appin Bungalow: ...a little bit of old Scottish country home is reborn at Craig Appin. From the perfectly manicured lawns you can breathe in sights of tranquillity and believe that you have indeed turned back time. The mood may be yesteryear, but at Craig Appin all the indulgences of today are never forgotten.
Plantation Life - bungalow to bungalow: Discover your surroundings and experience the comforts our plantation bungalows. Walk with our Naturalist guide from one bungalow to another. Enjoy a packed light meal on an idyllic spot with a view or a besides burbling stream. Along the way, admire the colonial influence kept alive in old architecture, the railways and in the lives of planters even today. After a delightful high tea at one of our bungalows, our vehicle will bring you safely back in time for a well-earned dinner.
All About Tea: There is no better way to learn the true art of tea than an iconic â€˜Zinc Tea Experienceâ€™ with our expert guide to take you around the plantations. You can pluck your own two leaves and bud and even dress up in traditional garb if you wish to. Then, take a tour round the factories to learn just how the world famous Ceylon tea is made and enjoy a spot of tea tasting with the professionals.
Mountain Biking: Try out some awesome rides off the beaten track with amazing scenery to inspire you to peddle on.
Select your bike at the bungalow and set off to enjoy the mountain air and explore Dickoya and the Watawala Valley - 1,200 meters above sea level. Two routes are marked from each bungalow:
Trail 1 - 5km to 10km (Easy) Trail 2 - 10km to 30km (Challenging). Take them on your own or let our Naturalist guide take you on an exciting tour of discovery.
Trekking: Whether you are an experienced hiker or just want a quiet walk exploring the scenery, we have some great trails for you. Meander along green manicured tea gardens, discover the nearby forests or stroll around the local villages. End your little adventure with a good cup of Ceylon tea brewed to perfection at one of our bungalows. Two standard routes are planned and marked out from each bungalow:
Trail 1 - 2km to 5km (Easy) Trail 2 - 5km to 12km (Challenging) You can trek on your own, or with our Naturalist guide to accompany you.
Golf in the hills : Return to the green like the planters of old for a round or two at one of the oldest clubs in the world. Founded in 1889, Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is steeped in tradition with an ambiance thatâ€™s hard to equal. The 18-hole course has a length of 6075 yards and a course par of 71 with fairways which are long and narrow, bordered by tall trees and dense shrubbery. A constant uphill and downhill trek with many water hazards provide some tough challenges whatever your level of play. Just an hours drive away from our bungalows, you can indulge in a happy day of golfing in the grand colonial style.
The tranquil surrounds are ideal for a quiet Yoga session, or treat yourself to some wellearned pampering with a private in-room Spa Therapy treatment. Book your time in advance, so you can look forward to some quality â€˜me timeâ€™ after a day of exploring.
Bike & Train Trail: An authentic ‘Zinc Journey’ to remember. Two adventures, one unforgettable ride. Take a scenic train ride Over the mountains from Hatton to Thalawakele or Watawala, and return via a connecting bike ride on a pre-planned route taking in some landmarks of interest - nature, history and local life, along the way.
Check with us for availability. Early booking recommended.
To explore the wonderful diversity of Sri Lanka’s ‘Up Country’ further,
talk to us about creating your own expedition...
Adam’s Peak: Sri Pada, also known as Adam’s Peak is a 2,243 m (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain in the central highlands. Thousands of pilgrims pay homage to its famed sacred footprint - a 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) rock formation at the summit revered by Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Moslems alike. The view at the top is certainly awe inspiring - the hill country rises to the east, in the west the land slopes away to the sea. Colombo at sea level, 65km away, is easily visible on a clear day. However, the mountain saves its mesmerizing show for a few minutes after dawn. As the sun rises, the shadow of the peak seems to be projected in from the air and as the sun rises higher, this eerie triangular shadow on the misty clouds races back towards the peak, eventually disappearing into its base. One of Mother Nature’s
wonderful mysteries, well worth taking the arduous ascent for.
...sights to see...
Nuwara Eliya: Sri Lanka’s tallest mountain range ‘Pidurutalagala’ looms over the landscape at over 6000 feet, and nestled in its shadow Nuwara Eliya - the resort capital of the hills is world away in climate and in character, The British planters developed it as their summer retreat creating an exact replica of an English town. Fondly termed ‘Little England’ it retains its charm - with abundant colonial architecture, a stately park, a golf course, racing track, boating lake and grand period style hotels; and the chilly climate adds to the overall effect.
“...and like phantoms in the mist, they headed across the plains...”
Horton Plains National park: A protected reserve of montane grassland and cloud forest in the central highlands at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900– 7,500 ft), Horton Plains is around 28km from Nuwara Eliya. The highest plateau in Sri Lanka it ends dramatically with a sheer drop of 870 m (2,854 ft) called World’s End with astounding views on a clear day. With many endemics - flora and fauna the reserve is a vital biodiversity hotspot. A land of cascades - including the popular Baker’s Falls, three major rivers of Sri Lanka – Mahaweli, Kelani and Walawe also begin their journey here.
Mandira Bungalows is managed by Zinc Journey - a network of exclusive hotels and resorts around the world, each with an experiential offering that makes it unique. Zinc Journey properties have a focus on heritage or authentic discoveries, delving into the untouched beauty of unique properties that are destinations within themselves. Eco-friendly and culture-conscious, each property that is part of the Zinc Journey collection pays respect to the local customs, culture and heritage of the area. Situated in novel destinations Zinc Journey offers travel experiences to those looking for a holiday with a difference. Zinc Journey is a part of Zinc lnVision Hospitality - a cutting edge company breaking new ground through pioneering hospitality products that stand out for the value and experience they provide to guests and stakeholders.
Docket flap: Inserts to come here. Photograph of guest on an expedition Naturalistâ€™s profile Maps/Check lists/ other info sheets.