Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – Sri Lanka

The name itself conjures up an image of a cutesy tourist attraction, and Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage does not disappoint.

A natural stop on the road to Kandy, the elephant orphanage organises regular feeding slots to coincide with the passing traffic. The highlight of the day however is bathing time, when all the elephants are led down to the river and are then washed by their keepers, or left to their own devices to splash, swim and play together in front of the specially erected viewing platform.

I might sound a little cynical here, and I should add that a visit here was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed watching so many elephants in what appeared to be a well-maintained environment. Seeing a little baby who was also two weeks old was also a great spectacle, as was the sheer mass of elephant in the river at peak washing time.

If our visit helped provide funding for the ongoing care of these speical creatures, then I am glad to have contributed and would recommend the visit to others who are passing that way (if you’re travelling with a guide, you won’t miss it anyway!)

(Oct 1998)

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