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“See the Elephants in their habitat”

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
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Day trip Kandy & pinnawatal
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Pinnawala
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed 3 May 2018 via mobile

Get up close and personal to the Elephants, watch them bathe and if you want you can help wash them. You can follow them throughout the day if you wish. Great vantage point by the river, there is a well located cafe and its a delight to have a coffee and literally the elephants are a few feet away. Buy some food for them and they will stop and grab it from you, great fun.

1  Thank Martin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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119 - 123 of 3,583 reviews

Reviewed 1 May 2018 via mobile

Several times during the day groups of elephants are walked from the orphanage to the near by river for a soaking. This alone is worth the visit. Once at the river you can watch the elephants take a shower. There is a restaurant that also overlooks the river. Food was ok. View was great. Then you can visit the orphanage across the road. Good set up.
The street to the river is lined with shops. Best ones are products made from elephant dung - recycled paper. Very clever and good souvenir. Recommend a visit if you like elephants. Two main viewings at 10 and 2. This is when a large number of elephants go to the river. At other times the groups are smaller. Also at the orphanage we saw elephant babies being fed milk and for an extra fee you can feed them the bottle. Takes about 20 seconds for them to finish the milk.

2  Thank Helen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2018

This place houses elephants that are old, injured, handicapped, pregnant or just really young. It is one of the only ones of its kind in Asia, so it is a very nice initiative. The elephants roam around free in certain areas whereas in the other areas they are chained and kept. It is about an hour's drive from colombo.

Thank MadhaviM79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2018 via mobile

When I was looking for a place to visit animals close to Kandy, the Elephant Orphanage was indicated and my first question was if they have animals for tourists or because they take care of them, and I was told that they were taking good care of the elephants!
Unfortunately, I didn’t like what I saw... the animals are clearly scared from the staff, who handle stick with sharp metal in the end.
Another elephant was chained in the neck and paws while people was giving him food, one after other... no limit!
Even the baby elephants were with chain in front and back paws! Really sad!
I left because they were just having business with the animals... because the elephants should be the ones in comfortable environment, not the people!

10  Thank Tati C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 May 2018

I have to be honest after reading negative reviews of the orphanage on trip adviser I did not want to visit here and was talked into it by our tour organiser..but I am so glad I did.
We arrived early and our organiser bought us tickets to give the babies their milk and to feed an older one fruit. I was wary of this as it seemed very intrusive but watching the babies playing with the keepers reassured me they were happy and the older one certainly new which treats she wanted first from the fruit basket.
Everywhere was spotless and I saw nothing but care from the keepers to the elephants. Soon enough the elephants were down at the river. I got a little upset as one elephant had been chained and seemed distressed. On asking our guide why he explained she would run away if not and could not take care of herself in the wild on her own and did not have the social skills to join a herd. My unrest was soon settled though as some other elephants joined her and she soon settled she just wanted company.
Whilst it is not ideal for elephants to be kept in captivity it is however a fact that these elephants need cared for. Sri Lanka now also has a transit orphanage so hopefully moving forward more orphans will be returned to the wild.
Given that the elephants at Pinawalla will always need cared for I recommend you visit if only to help pay for their upkeep. I see no need though for a breeding programme to be in place. Tourists would rather see older elephants knowing this is ethically sound than to visit somewhere which is breeding babies to show although we did not see any really young ones. Something for the management to think about.
More and more travellers are now wildlife tourists who care about all of the animals they see. To end on a positive I do recommend still visiting as it was such positive experience whish put a lot of my fears to rest.

2  Thank LB205
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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