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“Total Heaven - standing in a river scrubbing an elephant !!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Millennium Elephant Foundation

Millennium Elephant Foundation
Ranked #2 of 5 things to do in Kegalle
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
France
Level Contributor
50 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Total Heaven - standing in a river scrubbing an elephant !!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 29, 2013

Having read the disappointing reviews, since I got back, I can only think that these people are not "animal people"
This was one of the most brilliant experiences of my life ( and I am VERY old ! )
I found the museum and information kiosk very interesting. I was delighted to hear that the only way you can ride an elepant here is bareback - as it has been dicovered that any form of back or side carriages, eventually damage the animals
Admittedly, we were there with our local guide and received nothing but politeness and as much time as we wanted with the elephants.

I didn't actually go for a ride but those in our party who did, absolutely loved it. We also met up with the European girl who was in charge of the volunteers and she had nothing but praise for the place - and we were left alone to speak to her without any of the mangement listening in.
Remember, we go there to see elephants at close quarters and the money it costs is to give a better life for them. I think it works.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Marianne R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Grenoble, Rhone-Alpes, France
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A shame !!!!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 27, 2013

We went to the Millenium Fundation because we thought the aim was better than at Pinnawella and we hoped we would live a great experience with the elephants. But it was the most wasting money and disappointing visit in Sri Lanka : it is very expensive, you don't get what you pay for, and the mahouts are only interested by money and not by their elephants.

We were 6 people, paying for a 10mn ride and elephant bath. We were hurried to go on elephant's back and rode not more than 5mn. Then we were hurried to go to the bath where there was a single elephant brushed by everyone, we got 3 coconuts for 6 and had only 5mn max to spend with the animal.

But what disappointed us the most was the behaviour of the mahouts who are supposed to take care of the elephants, but they only show that the only thing they care of is their wallet. After the 5mn ride the mahout asked for a tip... We gave him a small amount according to the service he provided (value 0). he said it was not enough and started being impolite. We had bought a fruit plate for our elephant (we could not take the fruits we had bought from outside, so we had to buy a very expensive plate); Since we did not give a sufficient tip, the mahout forbid his elephant from eating the fruits and just left. I had to complain to the manager to be able to give my poor fruit plate and was so upset by this awful behaviour that I did not enjoy the rest.

The shameful 5mn bath was again followed by the harassment from another mahout to have a tip, whereas the only thing he did was sitting and asking us to stop brushing the elephant...

If you want to help elephants don't go to this place, and if you want to have fun and take time to experience with domestic elephants, run away !!!!!! there are plenty of elephants ride around this place, and are not so spoilt as this one recommended by foreigh touristic books. After, we stopped to another place to give our bananas we were not authorized to give at Millenium,and both elephant and mahout were happy about it ! THAT was great !

Visited April 2013
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5 Thank Charlotte D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Nice experience but not a whole lot to do”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2013

I just got back from this so its fresh on my mind. First we drove to the Elephant orphanage....everyday at 12noon the elephants cross from the river to the orphanage across the road...its a great way to see quite a few elephants without actually having to pay to go in the orphanage. After that we drove to the Foundation. The prices are 2000, 3000 and 4000....however there is an unlisted price of 1000 lkr that allows you to go to the "museum" (a small hut with elephant bones and some informative facts on elephants), scrub the elephant with a piece of coconut, sit on it bareback and have a "shower". My mahout allowed me to ride the elephant from the river to the top of the sanctuary but i'm not sure if that is included in the 1000lkr.

He asked for a tip and when we gave him 100lkr, he complained it was very little. The guide said that 1000lkr is a good tip which is ridiculous considering that is what we paid to enter. The whole experience was over in less than 30 mins.

In retrospect...1000lkr is a good price to pay for the experience of touching the elephant, bathing it and being showered by it....not sure if the longer rides are worth the money.

Oh and don't forget to bring a change of clothes....your clothes smell TERRIBLE after!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank brentito86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
1,178 reviews
795 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 681 helpful votes
“Close interaction with the Elephants. Bad morale condition.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 15, 2013

Its difficult to grade this attraction. The interaction with the elephants its amazing but at what price!?! The tickets are expensive with prices starting at 2000, 3000 and 5000 Sri Lankan Rupees. Plus the constant scam of asking you for tips for use of the camera or breathing.

The elephants are so nice and to ride with them and to have the time and opportunity to wash them with a coconut scrap its great. They really show how nice this animal is and how much they trust in the human bean.

The bad part its the situation of the elephants. Its clearly a business for the "mohut" (keepers) to keep them and the constantly hitting them to do tricks or sit plus the use of the chains. They try to sell you also the "donation" to keep feeding them but it shows clearly it just for their personal profit.

Go if you can handle it. After all, the elephants in Sri Lanka its a show business not a natural conservation purpose.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank RMartinSDXB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
90 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Good but ethically questionable !?”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 13, 2013 via mobile

I visited here after reading bad reviews of the Pinnewalla Orphanage.

On arrival I felt happy with my choice as it felt smaller (only 8 elephants) and less touristy / busy. But as the trip continued I did start to question whether it was ethically right and at times felt uncomfortable and like they were exploiting the animals for money rather than genuinely interested in their welfare.

I understand the elephants were rescued and are not able to return to the wild but one was bred in captivity which made me think whether the original objectives have changed!? Volunteers are clearly gap year students rather than experienced veterinary or welfare people.

As per previous comments I also experienced the disappointment with tips but I guess despite all the questions and emotional ups and downs it is a one in a life time experience.

Washing them in the river was great and clearly something they enjoy, however not sure about the ride as this feels like something more circus like - I read on the website they do quite a few per day.

I guess for me I was quite emotionally torn during the whole experience. Enjoyable vs Guilt ridden - 30 mins was enough otherwise i'd have thought too long and hard about it. Overall it's up to individuals to decide and make their own options so go with an open mind and just do what makes you feel comfortable.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank Clairesmithlondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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