Adventure on the
Text and pix by
M Naushad Amit
Though camping is an activity closely related with
the military, scouts and adventure-seekers, this has
now become the latest trend among holiday makers
Many investors stake their monies in creating
campsites with the latest facilities.
But an experience of real-life adventure in camping
will be an everlasting memory.
Pedro Camp, Nuwara Eliya, which stands above 6,215
feet from sea level is the ideal place for adventure
The campsite, however, is under the authority of Sri
Lanka Scouts Association and is well-known as Pedro
The camp can be found six kilometres away from
Nuwara Eliya town on the Welimada road through Hawa
Eliya within the Bomburu Ella Forest Reserve.
It also can be accessed from the byroad where the
Sri Lanka Army Camp is based turning off from the
Nuwara Eliya Economic Centre, which is also an
approximate 6km drive.
Though the main objective of Pedro Scout Camp is to
train its cub and boy scouts and to facilitate
training programmes for scout leaders, there are
many other activities being carried out which are
mainly youth training and development based.
The facilities of the cabins of this camp are mostly
the basics which may be the minimal in life but
everything is placed accordingly.
“But nowadays the camp is mostly being visited by
non-scouts. Many who come here are top executives or
top people from the society. It is really
encouraging to see many who did not do scouting
during their school days come here and wish they
did. Many parents who come and stay here are keen to
have their children follow the lessons in scouting,”
said Ajith Jayasekera, the assistant district
commissioner, Sri Lanka Scout Association, Kandy
District Branch and Warden, Pedro Scout Centre,
The camp consists of many adventure features and
skill games which are essential part in scouting.
It’s surrounded by thick and unpolluted nature where
adventure seekers can enjoy the real thrill of
hiking on a track that can span onto kilometers.
Inside the camp premises can be found four log
cabins, the legendary ‘Christopher Cabin’, recently
built auditorium and dining hall for the scouts.
There is a lodge outside above the camp entrance
which gives a picturesque view of the entire camp
where most of the non-scouts prefer to accommodate.
Eighteen people can comfortably sleep in this
six-roomed lodge which also includes a common
Utensils are provided but food and drinks should be
“To complete the hike it will take at least two
days. There are points where you can break the
hiking into stages but there are thick places in
this natural rain forest still to be explored. The
thick jungle around the camp extends out to as far
as Welimada, and if someone misses the direction he
could reappear from the Haggala Gardens or from a
remote village close to Welimada called Perawela.
It’s a very good experience and if you are a scout
this kind of adventure is nothing new,” Jayasekera,
who is a veteran of 16-climbs to the Mount Everest,
According to Jayasekera, the camp found its place
during the mid 1940s when British Chief Scout
Commissioner Brooke Elliot visited the Pedro Estate
in Nuwara Eliya to have a calm retreat in the then
Ceylon. It is still a well known destination for the
scouts around the world.
“Mr Elliot was surprised by the surroundings of
Pedro Camp which he had said resembled of Gilwell
Park, London, the ‘ancestral home’ of the World
Scouts Movement. He then took the initiative to
create Pedro Camp as a camping site for the scouts.
Today it plays an important role in every scout’s
life and has become very popular among visitors
too,” he added.
How can visitors make use of the facility, will
be a question many might have in their minds.
“This camp cannot be accessed if you come without
the correct consent. All those who are interested in
accessing the camp must get the approval from the
Sri Lanka Scouts Association in Colombo and follow
its procedures. Once you come here, you can cook
your own food, maybe have a nice barbeque with a
campfire and enjoy the adventure and its
surroundings which are preserved under the Sri Lanka
Wildlife Authority. You must be a total nature lover
to really enjoy all these, or once you come here can
convert yourself into one,” Jayasekera said