We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Great place .. Must visit” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Pinnawala
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Chennai (Madras), India
Level Contributor
36 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Great place .. Must visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2012

People have posted a lot of negative reviews of this place, I seriously don't understand why. Being from a different country, I applaud the Sri Lankan Government which has taken this initiative to safeguard and take care of these elephants who have suffered in one way or the other in the jungle. I am a hard core animal lover and a naturalist and i think that this is a great place to promote. Yes, the entry charges have gone up in the past 1 year but why not .... hasn't the market prices gone up. And there is no time restrcition at all - I spent atleast 2 hours with all these lovely animals. This place has about 90 elephants and it is just not easy to take care of such a big herd. Its easy to point out the negatives... but frankly speaking, i found none. Elephants have to be chained for our security else why would they be called wild.
I fed the baby elephant some milk which i bought for just about 2 USD and then fed some fruits to the big ones.. and trust me it was an amazing feeling to feed these poor animals who need our support. These elephants are also given bath i think 2-3 times in a day in the near by rivery pond. It is an amazing sight to see all these elephants together.. Will definitely visit again whenever i visit Lanka and I suggest all to do so too.

Visited February 2012
3 Thank bingover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

2,883 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Slovak first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
191 reviews
108 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 195 helpful votes
“Good place to see many, many, many elephants up close.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 8, 2012

This is a good place to visit, especially with kids. The entrance fee is very expensive, but I guess it takes a lot of money to feed these huge beasts. You will almost be able to walk up to them and for a tip you will be able toget your photo with the large pachiderms. No tip, no photo though, the mahouts will chase away any elephant that is curious enough to get close to you. Probably the best is that you get to see a lot of baby elephants, which are very cute.

Visited December 2011
4 Thank utas2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A great start to our tour of Sri Lanka”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 8, 2012

The elephant orphanage is a couple hours away from Negombo and was a great place to start our travels.Kathy & I much enjoyed seeing the elephants bathing in the adjoining river. These elephants are either orphaned or have been injured & are treated at this reserve.
Our guide & holiday organiser, Upil from srilankatailoredtours.co.uk,who arranged our complete 13 day holiday, was excellent and very knowledgeable about not only the orphanage but about most aspects of local culture and wildlife.
I would highly recommend a visit.

Visited February 2012
Thank RobertKathy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
46 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Sad state of affairs”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 8, 2012

Visiting the orphanage was probably the most disappointing part of my holiday in Sri Lanka. I felt the orphanage was more interested in making money out of the tourists instead of educating the visitors on the rehabilitation work they have done they encourage you to get a guide at steep prices.
I am not an expert on elephant caretaking but it seemed like the caretakers were unnecessary hard on the beautiful animals. They chain the baby elephants so that the visitors can feed them and take pictures. It seemed so inhumane and like a circus! Had to move away from the area.
The elephants are taken across the road for a bath. One can either sit at one of the adjoining cafes and sip of a drink while watching the elephants bathe (for about 10 – 15mins) or just stand near the banks of the river.
I got to Pinnawala Elephant camp from Kandy using the local buses. It's a cheap but long way of getting there. If you are traveling in a group you can negotiate with cab or tuk-tuk drivers near the watch tower in Kandy.
I would not recommend anyone to visit the orphanage and would rather encourage other to try and see elephants in the wild!

Visited December 2011
14 Thank Good_Tiding
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey, England
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Shackled for the benefit of the few profiteering on them being elephants. Don't spend your money encouraging this kind of treatm”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 7, 2012

We went this morning despite the previous comments. We had already bOoked our tickets but it only took one look at a young cow's scarred hind legs to see that the shackles on her were the cause of her discomfort. I have been to many elephant tourist attractions but have never seen so much chaining before; it seemed even more pathetic that the elephants carried their own chains with them back to their pens. We spent no longer than 10 minutes there before getting our driver to take us back. We felt embarrassed as human beings that our kind mistreat these highly intelligent and beautiful creatures. Save your money and spend it carefully elsewhere.

2 Thank joroma80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage also viewed

Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province
Peradeniya, Central Province

Been to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing