Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage - started in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded, the orphanage has grown to be a big family today.
There are 4 feeding time. The first one is 9am. Then you can stroll around the open area where you can take pictures with the elephants. After that, you can proceed to the riverside for viewing the elephants to bath.
Admission is Rs500.
You have to be in place when the elephants start coming down the alley to take a bath in the river. It's just amazing how close you get to so many elephants. It's quite a sight when they all but stampede down to the river.
This elephant orphanage is one of the cutest places I've ever been to. So many elephants at such close range is hard to find, except maybe in Chobe National Park in Botswana. Anyway, there is an entrance fee to the orphanage and if you want to take your picture with an elephant then you have to pay a hefty extra fee again directly to the mahout. And you get asked all the time whether you want to have your picture taken...
There is a separate building for baby elephants where they get fed and played with (picture no. 5). Also we were told that there were not so many orphan elephants coming in anymore but that most of the young elephants were actually born there. Whichever way it is, it seems to be a thriving business - but what a cute one!
There are 3 elephant bathing time. The first one is around 11am. Then you can stroll around the open area where you can take pictures with the elephants. After that, you can proceed to the riverside for viewing the elephants to bath. Admission is Rs500.
My driver knows a good place to get me to view the elephants. I enjoyed my tea there as well.
All these young men collect up all the Elephant dung and it gets recycled into paper,envelopes etc.you can buy the gifts at the shop at the Elephant orphanage,dont worry it dosnt smell they eat only natural vegitation
This is a goverment run orphanage,there are elephants young and old,we saw one elephant which had its foot blown off by a mine.some of the babys had been abandoned,this was one of my highlights of our trip.
Best to keep out of the way, or you could get sprayed in mud!
To dispel popular belief elephants do not actually drink through their trunks, they suck up and fill the trunks full of water & then use the trunk as a hose to pour the water in to their mouths.
All the babys have supplimentary milk from huge bottles. They are only brought to this covered area to feed, the rest of the time they can roam freely within the orphanage.
Sri Lankan elephants are slightly larger than mainland Asian and Sumatran breeds.
As you can see I got rather too close when the elephants went marching home! I looked around me & saw everyone else apart from me, had retreated up the slip way including my husband!!
Here is one of the family groups, mother, father & baby. Parents are very protective of there young, as can be more distant relatives. If a young elephant is distressed other members of the family also comfort the elephant by surrounding and touching the young with their trunks.
The actual orphanage is up a steep hill from the river where they bathe. it is a very organised and polite stampede home.
Female elephants can reproduce up the age of 50 years old, the offspring becoming adults at the age of approxomimately 14, when they reach puberty
This is the elephants getting ready to make their way up the slope back to the orphange about half a mile away.
Elephants are remarkable sensitive creatures, with the ability to genuinely cry, laugh & play, they also have incredible memories.
There seemed to be a type of plateau the bathing elephants kept to, along side the fast flowing river.
The Asian elephant is a closer relation to the extinct woolly mammoth than the African elephant is.
These pages are all about the Pinnawala elephants.....................
It is possible to volunteer to work at the elephant orphanages in Sri Lanka, I have added a web site below with information on how to organise this, also there are some interesting reviews from people who have actually done this. It sounds a wonderful experience!
We arrived to see the last 10 minutes of bath time for the elephants..............A wonderful sight to see, there must have been at least 30 - 40 elelphants enjoying the cool river water. A few familys too.