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.

“Disappointing experience”

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Pinnawala
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed September 7, 2012

Having visited the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage on a previous visit some years ago, this visit was a great disappointment. Even more so when compared with our visit to the Millennium Sanctuary. The grounds at Pinnawala are dry and dusty (we visited in June 2012). Many of the elephants we saw were chained up and looked miserable. Several of the elephants are wounded either by poachers or war. Although they had plenty of food, they did not look at all happy. We waited for the afternoon elephant feeding. There aren’t any baby orphan elephants so the handlers bottle fed two adolescent elephants purely for the tourists. It was all rather sad and tacky. Only the souvenir shop was worth visiting. It was full of good quality elephant carvings and carved wooden furniture. We would not recommend Pinnawala elephant orphanage. If you want to experience elephants first hand, then go to Millennium Sanctuary.

4  Thank the_2hardies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (3,245)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

2,234 - 2,238 of 3,246 reviews

Reviewed September 2, 2012

This is an excellent option for a day trip from Colombo or Kandy. Conveniently connected by train and road, Rambukkana station (on the Colombo-Kandy route) is about 2km away from the Pinnawala Orphanage with plenty of tuk-tuks plying the route for Rs.150. The orphanage itself is clean, organised and well maintained. The best part of it is that you get to see plenty of elephants of all sizes, shapes and tusks -roaming around in their natural habitat spread over hundreds of acres. Some are also kept chained.Visitors are allowed to feed, touch and take pictures with the elephants ( after paying un-authorised fees to the minders)- but were not allowed to bathe the elephants in the river. One can only watch the bathing from a distance. The routine of the elephants ( feeding and bathing) is repeated in the morning and afternoon - so you can plan your travel conveniently. I thought the manner in which a whole herd of elephants is herded to and fro from the river Maha Oya , twice daily, across a highway and a narrow lane clogged with shops,restuarants and tourists - speaks volumes about the efficiency and care of the management in running the place. To see about 30-40 giant elephants marching peacefully across the orphanage grounds and onto the river is a fabulous sight!The elephants looked peaceful and calm and were very freindly.......one Mommy elephant and her baby came over to say hello to my friend and her child! :). The elephant minders or Mahouts do have sharp tipped spears to control the animals- but while we were there , we did not see a single animal being poked or ill treated. The mahouts just used the spears as deterrents without touching the animals to maintain a safe distance between the animals and visitors. Also - there are plenty of hotels and restaurants around-outside the orphanage- for food, drink and stay- so all your needs are taken care of. Overall - a fantastic experience in SL!

3  Thank PaesFerns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

Elephant orphanage at kandi road is a must go place where you have a chance to see more than 100 + elephants including baby elephants. This Amazing view of a group of elephants no where else in the world you can enjoy.
You also have a chance to feed elephants and elephant rides even more you can perform the role of a mahout. If planning to visit this place you must reach the location by 09 Am local time. All elephants are marched to the river for bathing. See the attached photos. Offcourse its a great view.

Thank TravelMakri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

Pinnawala elephant orphanage is a facility that protects the elephants tend to wander elephants and who have lost their parents. You can also take a picture together go near the elephant.admision is about 2000 sri lankan rupees .
tips
1)you can offer donation to the pinnawala elephant orphanage
2) time table of the day is printed in the tickets back \
3) please be careful about the herbal doctors
4) government place no elephant riding (i like that ).
5) more than 100 elephant can be seen in the park and it is the biggest captive semi wild park in the country

note best place to watch the elephant:: elephant bay hotel provide accommodation to volunteers from the orphanage (nice and elegant )

1  Thank ryondell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

En Route between Colombo and the cultural triangle, the orphanage is well worth a stop. Get there in time for when they take the elephants down to the river for a bath (just before lunch). There are several restaurants overlooking the river where you can have lunch and watch the elephants (there would be 50 or so elephants). After that, head back to the orphanage and walk through the compound. You can watch the elephants being fed, or for a small fee, you can feed some of the smaller elephants a bottle. Fun for the kids. With lunch, allow 1-2 hrs for the stop-over.

Thank DTSydney
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
Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province
 
Pinnawala, Sabaragamuwa 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