Trip Planner:   Asia  /  Sri Lanka  /  Sabaragamuwa Province  /  Pinnawala  /  Wildlife Areas  /  Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala
(2.9/5 based on 2,400+ reviews on the web)
Visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and witness the daily life of its pachyderm residents. Meet the rescued or abandoned elephants of all ages, see them play and bathe in the river, and watch the youngest of the herd being bottle-fed. You can help wash an elephant, feed them their daily fruit portions, or take photos with them, but a tip for their carer will probably be expected. Plan your visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Pinnawala tour planner.
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22 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS July, teens, kids, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS February, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: February, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS July, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM SPAIN December, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES December, kids, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: December, kids, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES December, kids, relaxing, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, kids, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM December, kids, popular PREFERENCES: December, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM INDIA January, kids, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: January, kids, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM NEPAL January, kids, relaxing, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: January, kids, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM INDIA January, kids, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: January, kids, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES December, kids, relaxing, popular PREFERENCES: December, kids, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Actually, I was thinking there is the also in many cases happened helped, probably the elephant. Only one has unfortunately seen a lot of older elephants, which were kept in chains and have shown some abnormalities. They stood alone (elephants are herd animals as far as I know), weaving from left to right. For me there is no difference to circus elephants. Another elephant was alone all the time, and fruits in the mouth have been placed on his shoulders by tourists. Overall, I was very disappointed because it was only a tourist magnet in the end and all that was laid out. It is nice to watch the elephants in the wild, as in this prison for a Safari
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  • Just a fantastic experience that will stay in our memory's for ever, bottle feeding time is a must see experience as is washing time at the near by river. Not to be missed on a tour of Sri Lanka. 
  • We have visited this elephant accommodation because it one of the few to which the animals are treated humanely and not abused as riding for tourist purposes be. As far as we can tell that this was the same way. The feeding of the animals is performed while in front of the guests, but otherwise probably also no guests would come. It expired but completely free and easy for the animals. For a few rupees, you could buy a fruit basket and even feed the animals. Surprise has us, keeping the animals in enclosures. As well as all ways and places are freely accessible. The staff are the only protection. The subsequent dip in the River was visibly fun animals. Especially the cops get extra treatment. You want to keep them for breeding in a good mood. We have seen many elephant accommodations in Asia and this was one of the best.
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Google
  • Amazing place where younger to see semi -domesticated elephants in wild. Vast expanse of land, greenery and mountains captivating the minds. Trumpeting elephants are matched by the roar of a lovely river flowing close to the orphanage. Watching the elephants bathe in the river and then walking back to the orphanage in an orderly queue is a sight to watch. Several restaurants in the vicinity to provide good food.
  • It's lovely to see the elephants enjoying their foods. The small elephants are cute. Anyone who is keen on observing elephant behavior upclose should pay a visit to here. The guides for elephant are nowhere to be found. I think it's better to have at least one elephant care taker to be near the elephants as we witnessed one baby elephant untangled one of its chains and was trying to remove other chain as well. May be the elephant got agitated with the crowd. At that time any official was nowhere to be seen.
  • Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 km northeast of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka
  • Located in Pinnawala this location is a haven for orphaned elephants from around Sri Lanka. Sponsored by the government but dependent on public donations this sanctuary provides a worthwhile service. There are activities set at different times of the day so check before you go if there is anything in particular you want to see or do. We visited when the elephants were bathing at the river & it was fun to watch them enjoying themselves in the water. For a small fee you can feed the elephants treats, supervised by the guides/caretakers. Watch out for hawkers. There are many. Entrance fee for foreigners is 2500 LKR. Recommended.
  • After visiting this place I understand why people are conflicted. If these elephants can not be released back to the wild, this looks like a better solution for them then being in some zoo. The place looks well kept and they are mostly free to roam around and get to bathe in the river twice a day. That being said, some of the elephants had chains around their necks and feet, and the caregivers let humans go close, pet them and take pictures with them. They charge 2500 s.r. from foreigners and 100 s.r from locals - we saw it on their website and still decided to go. What we didn't know is that the guides demand foreigners to tip them for feeding and taking pictures with the elephants. There's little educational value to the visit, since there are no sighs explaining to the visitors about the elephants, and also no actual guidance from the guides. It would be nice to learn about elephants in general and also hear the personal story of some of the elephants in the orphanage. The surrounding shops are tourist traps and if you're foreign you'll be pestered from the minute you get there. Be prepared for that.