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.


Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Private Day Tour Pinnawala Open Zoo & Elephant Orphanage With Kandy From Negombo
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 June 27, 2013

Every time we returned to Colombo from Kandy, we made it a point to see Pinnawala. Pinnawala can be reached by A1 Colombo Kandy road with a turn off at Kegalle. It’s approximately 85 kms from Colombo and is a 3 hour ride.
It is a unique elephant orphanage where orphaned elephants are lovingly taken care of; something unheard of in most parts of the world when elephants are killed for their tusks. Both adult-elephants and baby elephants maimed or orphaned in the crossfire during the war or by villagers protecting their paddy fields are sheltered here.
Tickets costing around $20 are a must. The best time to visit Pinnawala is after 1 pm. We were always in time to watch hordes of these majestic creatures lazily strolling towards the river Maha Oya for their bath. Watching the baby elephants playing in the water is really a sight to behold. Photos can be taken up very close. At 5pm, one can participate in the bottle feeding of the elephants at the main center where one can watch the babies greedily quaffing the milk.
The fun part is the shops lining the lanes leading up to the river. One can buy interesting souvenirs ranging from leather bags to elephant-poop papers and bags. Bargaining is a must.
All in all, a wonderful experience.

4  Thank Girija_Nagarajan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (3,295)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages

2,077 - 2,081 of 3,295 reviews

Reviewed June 26, 2013

Was obviously lovely to get up so close and personal with the elephants but so great to see how well the Sri Lankan people care for the and look after them. I was so glad that we had our driver (chauffeur guide) as he told us so much information about it all. Actually, i must recommend him to you, he really made our trip for us. His name is Srinath Seneviratne and his details are:

E-mail Address - srinathsenevirathne721@gmail.com
Web Address - www.travelholidayssrilanka.com
Phone Number- +94777438681 / +94770861973

He was such a kind man, really knew so much about Sri Lanka. I trust him 100% and we are coming back next year and will definatly use him again. It was thanks so him we had such an amazing time. You could get him to organise a tour for you or he will gladly go wherever you want, happily chattering about his country that he is s proud of. But not too much that you feel overwhelmed, he was so intuitive and it really was fabulous to have him with us. Thanks Srinath!

1  Thank GoatasticUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2013

This was a unique experience for me. I've never seen so many elephants in one place before. Never seen the milk-feeding to Elephants before. I liked this place, took a lots of photos for my travel website too.

Thank wesshere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

We had our day trip organized by Azamara Club Cruises as part of our SE Asia cruise. When asked for the highlight of our trip my wife and I both nominated this day. A interesting bus trip through the Sri Lankan countryside then several hours watching and interacting with the 73 elephants at the Pinnawala Orphanage/sanctuary. Here visitors must take it for what it is. It's a sanctuary - not a free range nor a zoo!! It's a wonderful and unique way to spend time with these wonderful animals. The elephant trek to and from the river, the bathing and then the roaming on the open field all had you fascinated by being up and personal. The only disconcerting aspect was the chains restraining the baby elephants while feeding and that was probably only to protect the handlers and public. Then the return to Colombo in the refurbished Viceroy train through villages, plantations and paddy fields! A truly wonderful, memorable experience.

1  Thank Trevor J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013 via mobile

Its advertised as a sanctuary for wild elephants that are in danger from poachers. Yet some of them are chained up, u. d to mske money from tourists who pose with them while the elephants strike a specific pose.

Most are herded from one place to another by the herders to suit a tourist schedule e.g. 1pm feeding, 2pm bathing etc.

At least they dont let tourists ride them. Then it would just be a circus.

My expectation was to see wild elephants roam free in a protected area. I was dissappointed.

If you still want to go, you take the bus there (follow the instructions in lonely planet). If you take a tuk tuk, make sure they take you to tge right place. A competing park called 'millennium' pays tuk tuks commission for bringing tourists there instead.

3  Thank A_ninja
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