Sri Lanka’s cable car is Ella’s best kept secret

©Andress Eichstadt

Sri Lanka’s hill country offers thrills, excitement and inspiration to all. But in Sri Lanka an exciting cable car ride was the last thing on my mind. Little did I know I was about to hop onto a cable car and soar through the skies.

Our destination on a cold morning was Ella Jungle Resort – an oasis of serenity tucked away in a quieter part of Ella and surrounded by a thick canopy of jungle. From the entrance of the resort, transport in a four-wheel jeep is preferred.  So, we hopped on a jeep and set off on our way. The road leading to the quaint resort began smoothly. As we progressed further, however, it became rugged and bumpy.

Bend after bend, I held on to the seat as the jeep swerved, enjoying every moment. I was stunned when I saw a drifting cable car as our driver stopped the jeep in front of a small wooden platform. The road had come to a dead end so he had no choice. He signalled us to get off and directed us to the wooden platform.

Intrigued, I watched the cable car gliding slowly towards the platform where we were standing. Soon the little cabin came to a grinding halt. High above us, a happy couple jumped on to the wooden platform, bidding adieu to Ella Jungle Resort.

Finally, it was our turn to ride the cable car – my very first time. Excited like a kid anticipating an adventure, I quickly hopped on. But the moment I looked down, I could feel a little adrenaline rush coursing through my veins. The vast expansion of the canopy looked like a giant patchwork quilt of various shades of green.

Once the three of us were comfortably seated, the guy in charge of the cable car joined us and closed the little side door of the cabin. As our journey began, we were awed by the picturesque view of the silvery Kirindi Oya snaking amidst the greenery. My cheeks blushed against the cold breeze and my hair danced in the air. We were thrilled as we effortlessly floated through the thin air. 

The cable car steadily glided above the Ella jungle and we spotted another empty cabin moving towards the opposite direction. The two-wire cable line stretches across 400 meters and is the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka. The only way to reach the resort is to take the cable car, which comes totally free of charge.

To our dismay the lobby of the resort appeared quicker than we would wished and I reluctantly stepped out of the cabin. A bright-eyed man sat in front of a massive crown wheel facing the entrance of the reception. He greeted us with a warm smile and introduced himself as the cable car operator.

Having visited so many hotels in my life, I must say it was a novel experience to walk into a lobby housing a cable car operating base. As the cable car operator explained, for over two decades the two manual cable cars of Ella Jungle Resort have been drifting back and forth to carry their discerning guests.

Excited by the prospect of taking the cable car ride again, we walked past the lobby to explore the beautiful nature resort. The best kept secret in Ella: this is sure a thrilling experience that should not be missed.