Elephant Orphanage

A quick trip to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka was a very interesting experience in getting up close and personal with elephants. This huge 25-acre (10 hectare) elephant sanctuary lies in a coconut plantation located halfway between Colombo and the hilly royal city of Kandy.  The orphanage was initially designed to care and protect baby elephants found in the jungle who have lost their mothers.

Herd of Elephants at Pinnawala
They started in 1975 with five baby elephants. The green elephant pasture grew to become an orphanagecaptive breeding ground and nursery known to have the largest captive herd of Elephants in the world. The facility has become one of the popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka and its income from tourism are used to care for the elephants.

Elephant Handler and Guide in Pinnawala
Bottle Feeding 
At 10 AM  and 2PM the elephants walk 400 meters to get to Maha Oya River for a bath

The elephants roam around freely during the day and the event not to be missed during your visit is to witness the elephants' social activities as they bathe and play in the Maha Oya River.  

Tourist Viewing Deck. Bathing views are available in the morning and afternoon
Baby Elephant seems happy in the water
Elephants bathing in the Oya River for two hours in the afternoon around 2PM
Young Elephants
It may not be as impressive as going on a safari (which I have yet to do) watching them in the wild, but they seem to be well looked after and I'm relieved to see them wandering freely with guides in spite of being temporarily chained occasionally to hold them in place while the baby's nursing or while they're being washed.

Maha Oya River
Where is it?

Karandupona Rambukkana Road
Pinnawela, Sri Lanka
+94 11 2 712751

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The elephant orphanage is open to the public daily. Feeding starts at 8:00 AM. It's advisable to be there at 9AM in case you're interested in bottle feeding the baby elephant.

Unfortunately, their habitat is gradually destructed as jungles are decreasing so we hope that Pinnawala's efforts somehow alleviate the loss of homes and parents to these baby elephants.

Is it a site you may be interested in visiting?
Love & Light,

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  1. such an amazing place, Arni! And such beautiful pics too! It's comforting to know that there are places in which people take care of the unprotected ones!

  2. Wonderful photos and what an informative post. Of course I would love to go there!

  3. Beautiful, just beautiful! I've been to an elephant sanctuary too, and I loved the experience. You could get up close and personal with those gentle giants. I even got to help bathe one :)

  4. I love elephants - we have something similar near to where I grew up in South Africa and my sister visits at least twice yearly. They are magnificent creatures and this would certainly be top of my list on a visit to Sri Lanka.

  5. that's great that elephants are being cared for this way. i hope there won't be more destructions to natural habitats all over the world.

  6. Very beautiful photos! This looks like a really interesting place to learn about elephants, even if they're not in their natural environment. I think it's really good that such organizations try to raise awareness about the fragile state of he earth and great that the profits are dedicated to take care of he elephant population.

  7. so beautiful!!! i love the little elephants!!!

  8. Oh this is definitely a place I'd love to visit one day! So lovely to see all the orphaned baby elephants in a place where they are cared for and loved

  9. Arni you know the main reason for me to visit Thailand is to go to an Elephant park? I know the whole country must be amazing but the opportunity of being with those beautiful animals for a day is what is bringing me to go...so next year probably my long travel will be to Sri Lanka.
    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful place.
    I hope you are enjoying the Summer a lot.

  10. This looks SO neat and amazing to see so many elephants at once in one place

  11. I'm impressed with the amount of travel you do. Seriously.

    The elephant down on his side in the water makes me laugh. Adorable.