Pinnawela is one of Sri Lanka's most popular tourist destinations, it has the largest herd of elephants in Asia, almost 100 animals. (Wasgomuwa, Minneriya or Kaudulla have more elephants gathered only seasonally). But the Pinnawela herd is artificial. The elephants do not belong to a natural enlarged family and they are domesticated. The elephant camp in Pinnawela is not only a breeding ground for elephants, it is a nursery in the first place. Trapped elephant babies left by their families would be doomed to death. Rescued in time they will be transferred to one of Sri Lanka's three elephant orphanages, two of them will return them to the wild later on, but Pinnwela will domesticate them Pinnawela also integrates injured adult elephants. It is a sheer miracle that the Pinnawela herd accepts alien babies and adults.
Sinharaja rain forest
Kanneliya small rain forest
Pinnawela elephant orphanage
Dry zone south
Yala NP camping-safari
Bundala NP bird watching
Kumana NP birds and wildlife
Okanda village life and beach
Rufus Kulam remote lake
Lahugala NP with heritage site
Gal Oya NP lakeside wildlife
Udawalawe NP wild elephants
Ussangoda serpentine rock
Dry zone north
Minneriya NP elephant gathering
Kaudulla NP elephant gathering
Habarana oxcart excursions
Nelumpure authentic village life
Mihintale ancient sanctuary
Namal Uyana ironwood sanctuary
Rasvehera monastery and wildlife
Tabbowe lake near Wilpattu NP
Horton Plains trekking hotspot
Bambarakanda 240 m waterfall
Adam's Peak pilgrim mountain
Hakgala Botanical Garden
Kitulgala white water and birds
Peradeniya Botanical Garden
Meemure village life and trekking
Knuckles Range trekking highlight
Randenigala NP alternative camp
You can find a similar linklist with images just below:
No, Pinnawela is no special insider tip at all, but one of Sri Lanka's most popular places with tourists. However, it remains to be a special destination because you will not find such an artificial herd of elephants anywhere else in the world.
You can observe several activities of domesticated elephants in Pinnawela. At about nine o'clock in the morning you can take part in the bottle feeding of babies and at 10.00 am you can see the herd bathing, two restaurants offer perfect observation platforms. You can study human elephant interaction. Mahouts help washing the elephants, it would not be necesarry, but strengthens social ties. Female adults and babies take their bath together. But male adults have to be led to a separate bathing place.
You can not take part in elephant rides in the Pinnawela Elephant Orphange. But there are smaller private elephant camps in the surrounding organizing elephant rides in the jungles. You can join half an hour, one hour or two hour excursions. You can also wash animals yourself here, they are used to it, oder study exhibitions. But be aware, this is not included in the Pinnawela Orphanage ticket.
Sightseeinglanka is a tour operator based in Sri Lanka and 100% owned by Sri Lankans, specialized on organizing eco-friendly and extraordinary safari and authentic Sri Lanka village-life experiences - truly no tourism industry fake! Kapila, founder and leader of Team Sightseeinglanka, is a biologist. Please read more...
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