Trip Planner:   Asia  /  Sri Lanka  /  Sabaragamuwa Province  /  Pinnawala  /  Wildlife Areas  /  Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala

(2.9/5 based on 2,600+ 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We visited in 2011 for my 60th birthday. The highlight of the day was feeding a baby elephant with a big bottle of milk in the orphanage. Close encounters with the elephants was fantastic. Then the el...  more »
  • the elephants bathing and playing in the water was worth seeing. they are taken very well care of. its worth seeing this place. 
  • We visited elephant orphanage when we were on our holiday. It was definitely worth it! I know that some people would argue that this place is not the best for real animal lovers and they don't treat e...  more »
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.