The first and largest orphanage for the elephant is the Pinnawala elephant orphanage.

It has been recognized as the largest captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village. About 13KM from Kegalle town, Sabaragamuwa Province. And the immense amount of water required by the elephants supplemented by the “Maha Oya” running close by.

Yes, you can have a visit to Pinnawala elephant orphanage on the way traveling Kandy.

In addition, there are about 100 elephants including Males and females in the orphanage.

History

This elephant orphanage was first established in 1975 by the Sri Lankan Department of wildlife conservation. This elephant orphanage first established at the Wilpaththu national park and then shifted to the tourist complex at Bentota. After that, it shifted to the Dehiwala zoo and finally to the Pinnawala.

The key objective of this elephant orphanage is to take care of and as a sanctuary for wild elephants found in the wild.

How to visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

As a matter of fact, if you start your journey from Colombo, the best way to visit Pinnawala is by train. The best time for visiting the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage is in the morning.

If you come by train, get off at the Rambukkana railway station and take a bus to Pinnawala or hire a tuk-tuk. It is about a 2KM ride and about 6min time.

In addition, you can travel by bus, take a bus from Colombo- Kandy A1. And get off from the Kegalle- Karandupona Junction (85.1KM distance from Colombo to Karandupona). Then take a bus to Pinnawala from there or take a tuk-tuk. It’s about 1.5KM distance and about a 3min ride.

Then, you should buy a ticket from the ticket counter and the ticket fare is as follows,

This ticket included all the activities in the Pinnawala elephant orphanage like site seeing, elephant bathing, and feeding.

elephant feeding
image credit: tripadvisor.fi

Activities to do/watch in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Of course, there are many activities to do here. Here is the schedule of this place,

08.30 hours – Open to visitors

09.15 hours – Bottle feeding

10.00 hours – Herd leaving to the river

12.00 hours – Return from the river

13.15 hours – Bottle feeding

14.00 hours – Herd leaving to the river

16.00 hours – Return from the river

17.00 hours – Bottle feeding

17.30 hours – Ticket counters close

18.00 hours – Close to public

In the first place, the best and most popular event here is watching elephant bathing in the Maha Oya.

After bottle feeding is done, the pack of elephants escorted to the Maha Oya which situated near the orphanage. All the elephants, not only the largest ones but also smaller elephant babies are walking with their masters to the river. It’s beautiful scenery to watch.

However, if you manage to go early to the river. You can watch closely how elephants are bathing and playing in the river.

elephant bathing in pinnawala elephant orphanage
image credit: pixabay.com

And also there is a platform inside the elephant orphanage to feed the elephants with fruits securely. It is also a one-time life experience you can have in Sri Lanka.

Accommodations

There are many hotels nearby. So no worries if you are late or trouble in the traveling afternoon. You can book a hotel nearby.

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