Nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka’s verdant jungles, you’ll find a place of refuge for some of the most magnificent creatures on earth. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an institution that has become a sanctuary for orphaned, injured, and abandoned elephants. As you step into this sanctuary, you become part of an inspiring journey that speaks volumes about conservation, love, and survival.
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is located in Pinnawala village, around 90 km northeast of Colombo and 50 km northwest of Kandy, two of Sri Lanka’s major cities.
Hours of Operation
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage opens its gates to visitors daily from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
As of June 2023, the entrance fee for foreign adults is approximately 3000 LKR and 1500 LKR for children.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage offers a unique opportunity to get close to these gentle giants in an environment that prioritizes their welfare. Seeing the elephants in their natural habitat and witnessing their daily routines of feeding, bathing, and socializing is a memory to cherish.
Things to Do and See
- Elephant Feeding: Witness the heartening sight of baby elephants being bottle-fed by their caretakers.
- Elephant Bathing: Watch the elephants enjoy their daily bath in the Ma Oya river, a sight that brings sheer joy to the onlookers.
- Educational Display: Learn more about elephants, their conservation, and the orphanage’s efforts through an informative display.
Most areas within the Orphanage are wheelchair accessible, though certain terrains might be slightly challenging. For visually impaired visitors, tactile experiences such as elephant feeding can be especially rewarding.
Best Time to Visit
The dry season (January to April) is usually considered the best time to visit, as the weather is more predictable. However, watching the elephants take their river bath, typically between 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, is a highlight at any time of year.
- Early Arrival: It’s recommended to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot for the elephant bath.
- Comfortable Attire: Sri Lanka’s tropical climate calls for breathable, light-colored clothing. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are also advisable.
- Respect Boundaries: While it’s an exciting experience, remember that the elephants are not pets. Always maintain a safe distance and respect the guidelines provided by the staff.
Culture and Etiquette
While the Elephant Orphanage isn’t a religious site, it’s still important to respect Sri Lankan norms. Dress modestly, and avoid any actions that could stress or provoke the elephants.
A visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is more than just a unique wildlife encounter; it’s a touching testament to humanity’s ability to care for nature’s gentle giants. This inspiring journey will leave you with a deeper appreciation for these magnificent creatures and the efforts to ensure their survival.
Q: Can we ride the elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage? A: No, the Orphanage emphasizes ethical treatment and does not support elephant riding.
Q: Is it suitable for children? A: Absolutely! Children tend to find the elephants fascinating. However, always supervise your children and ensure they respect the safety guidelines.
Q: Are there places to eat near the Orphanage? A: Yes, there are several restaurants nearby offering a range of local and international cuisine.
So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – a journey that promises to delight, educate, and inspire.