Time of year
harpo110 wrote a review Sep 2018
Milford Haven, United Kingdom112 contributions57 helpful votes
Had about an hour and a half here and for us it was great. Loved watching the elephants walking down to the river and then bathing, we had never seen an elephant so this was a really good trip. Plenty of tourist shops line the road to the river and you should avoid these as they are overpriced. Really enjoyed this visit but would not return as we have now seen an elephant…
Date of experience: September 2018
Henry S wrote a review Jul 2018
Rochester, United Kingdom21 contributions1 helpful vote
The elephants seem quite content even though we were warned that they are not treated very well, we did not get that feeling, and when the elephants were walked down to the river to bathe it was truly spectacular.
Date of experience: July 2018
Marina F wrote a review Jun 2018
Diyatalawa, Sri Lanka19 contributions5 helpful votes
A better environment for these elephants is a must in my opinion The elephants were kept in a muddy area . Poor show.
Date of experience: June 2018
SarahGreenwich wrote a review Apr 2018
Greenwich, United Kingdom18 contributions26 helpful votes
This is such a spectacular experience. You do need to pay the orphanage to watch or else book into the local hotel for a night on the river. Beware there are snake charmers in the area, I wish I had known in advance to plan how to avoid.
Date of experience: April 2018
1 Helpful vote
DJEargasm.Thommo wrote a review Sep 2017
Western Australia4322 contributions535 helpful votes
We visited this Elephant themed site on the way to Dambulla during our private tour throughout Sri Lanka, and apart from this place (and the local Ma Oya river) there's not much else to do in/around Pinnawala. Pinnawala Jumbos is located on the east side of Highway B199, and attracts an entry fee, which is significantly cheaper if you're a national (more expensive for foreigners). If arranged beforehand, tourists can milk feed baby elephants and feed larger ones fruit & vegetables - all at an additional fee. We arrived when most of the elephants are on the west side of Highway B199, Rambukkana Road, bathing and herding with their mahouts in Ma Oya river. The river is accessible via a side road, and of course, lined with souvenir stalls aimed at tourists (elephant poo products) as well as cafes and manufacturers - of elephant poo products (some of these places offering free basic tours of their production process with the hope you'll purchase something, but no heavy pressure sales). The worst things are the snake handlers, enticing people for photo opportunities that turn into extortion of money....especially targeting young kids then ransoming the parents into paying money. Avoid them, they are scam artists and above all else IT'S CRUEL to the animal(s). The bathing spectacle is free (apart from the mahouts seeking money for a "closer" experience) and spreads across the river allowing for easy access and many view advantages along the broad river bank. There are also cafes and hotels/guest houses offering the alternative unobstructed views. When finished the elephants are marched back to the orphanage via the main road - avoid this if you have little kids as it can get a bit hectic (viewing of them at the river is perfect for all ages). This spectacle happens twice a day - morning and afternoon. While the majority of elephants are down at Ma Oya, Pinnawala Jumbos is a bit empty but there are still a few elephants left behind. However, it can be a bit of a let down - so head to the river as this is the best experience. Overall it was worth the visit and experience of the elephant herds bathing at Ma Oya, plus it was good to stretch our legs. I wouldn't recommend any travellers going out of their way to see the orphanage, but if you're heading through then definitely stop and experience. My rating of "Very Good" is based on the viewing at Ma Oya - average if I omit this.…
Date of experience: July 2017