||All year round - you
choose your start and finish dates.
1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements
||No qualifications needed, just lots of
enthusiasm, initiative and ideas, and the ability to be very
proactive. Minimum age 18.
Full Price List / Other
►Full pre-departure support and assistance,
►Payment Protection insurance
►Meeting you at Colombo airport
►Transfer to your accommodation
►Transport to and from your project
►Local in-country team support and backup
►24-hr emergency support.
►Certificate of Completion
What's not included
Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required), Return
transfer to airport.
Who can do
This project is open to all nationalities and all ages
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out,
grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in
some conservation and caring for animals and working
with wildlife overseas.
Suitable if you want to learn about the care and habits
of wildlife in a zoo environment, projects abroad or
Also available as a summer placement or a short break
WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT:
An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Asia and the
fascinating culture of Sri Lanka
The satisfaction of helping
captive animals and
knowing that your efforts made a difference to them.
New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding
of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional
An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head
and shoulders above most others in the job market.
And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
Work starts early
because a lot is done before opening time at 8.30. Below is a
summary of current and potential work at the Zoo.
Much of the work involves cleaning
out the animal cages so that they're kept comfortable and healthy.
This usually takes place between 7.00 a.m. and 9.00 a.m., before the
Zoo opens - therefore, you need to be capable of
feeding the primates
Washing down the
enclosures and refilling the animals' baths
Feeding some animals (excluding
any of the dangerous ones, such as crocodiles and possibly the big cats).
observation, plus on occasion caring for sick animals.
maintain the surroundings.
Helping to build
the children's play area.
here are opportunities to learn about the different
species and what is involved in animal care in a
third world country.
Although you'll help care for and feed
of the animals at the Zoo, your work with any big or
dangerous animals will only be undertaken under close supervision.
You will learn about
enrichment programmes and implement projects of your
choice ranging from building a hammock for the monkeys to
stimulating the environments of the bears through food/smell
enrichment techniques to rebuilding whole enclosures for the
Your presence at the zoo will make a
real difference to the lives of some of these captive animals.
contact with the animals will depend entirely on whether there are
young or tame animals at the Zoo during your placement. There are times
when the majority of work takes place behind the scenes in Zoo-keeper duties, observation, DIY work and enrichment projects.
"There were various 'favourite' bits during the
placement, including the bathing and scrubbing of the elephants in the
pond at the zoo using a coconut shell. Where else would you be able to
do something as amazing as that? However, for me, the hand feeding of
the male hippo was the most exciting part - being that close to
something usually deemed so dangerous! Also, during our free time we got
to release some baby turtles back into the sea - one of those things
that makes you feel so good inside - the work they are doing there is so
selfless in a country that has so little money - it is very humbling.
Overall, the closeness we got to the wildest of animals was something I
will treasure forever." Mandy Whitten
Other work duties may include the opportunity to help the local staff with their English so that they can better converse with tourists, visitors and international Zoological experts.
The Zoo also needs to have the general information signs for visitors reproduced in good, accurate English, particularly signs which advise the public on how to treat the animals, warnings against littering
(because the animals can choke on litter), feeding the animals, etc.
You may also be asked to make yourself available in the Zoo grounds to answer general questions from Zoo visitors. These questions could be things like, “Can you tell me a little bit more about the chimpanzee,” “Where does the Orang Utan come from?”
Our project in Colombo Zoo has been running since 2002
and during this time, progress in improvements has been slow but
steady, with lots of enclosure enrichment projects adding new elements to the
quality of the animals' lives. When you apply for this project, we'll give you
lots of ideas and suggestions for enclosure enrichment that you will be able to
become involved with, or you may even be able to instigate your own ideas for
projects that will improve the animals' quality of life.
“I'm thoroughly enjoying it and
one of the high lights so far was being able to watch a giraffe giving
birth! it was an amazing experience and well worth sitting in the rain
for 4 hours for. Sounds like madness but it's a once in a lifetime
that we weren't going to miss.”
The conditions in which some of the
animals are kept are not very good and can be
distressing. We have seen many
improvements as a result of our volunteers' work, but we hope that in time
our volunteers can make even more effective
contributions to the animals’ welfare and have a positive
influence on the conditions under which some of them live.
You'll need to have patience with cultural differences. It can
take a long time to get anything done and the speed of your
progress may be halted by such things as language barriers, unexplainable
delays and the general slow pace of the other local workers at the zoo.
This is all part of the experience so please appreciate what you will come
to know as ‘Sri Lanka time’ and work with it the best way you can.
"I am having the most
incredible time here at the zoo. It is something that is very much changing
my thoughts and perception of things."
Travellers has a traditional Sri Lankan house in Ja-Ela.
It has marble floors and lots of bathrooms! It is spacious and
comfortable, with a garden, several balconies, two lounge rooms and many
bedrooms. You will most likely share a room with other Travellers
volunteers. There is a TV and DVD player for evening entertainment, in
the upstairs lounge area and with the latest DVDs cheap to buy locally,
there is usually something to watch!
A chef will cook
all your meals and we have other staff at the house 24 hours a
day for cleaning, assistance, security and comfort.
Experience and the Colombo Zoo placements are all based in
Ja-Ela and so the house is often full and offers a lively,
sociable atmosphere – there is usually no shortage of friends to
spend weekends at the beach with! Ja-Ela volunteers also have
the advantage of easy access to Colombo’s facilities, major bus
stations and also nearby Hotel's that allow you to use their
fantastic facilities (such as the swimming pool) for a small
fee. The hotels are all only a short trip away from the
volunteer house: perfect for those lazy afternoons!
There is a local
live-in cook at the Travellers house who will prepare your
breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, throughout the week. The
food is usually local cuisine which means lots of curry, rice
and salads. Whether a curry fan or not, you will be by the time
you return as Sri Lankan food is delicious! You can buy snacks
and treats, including a growing variety of Western tastes
(chocolate!) from the local store. There is also a KFC in Ja-Ela
for those who need a fix of home.
The area of Ja-Ela
is an industrialised town and although it is not one of the
paradise beauty spots, it's a good point at which to start your
exploration of the island's many beaches and beautiful inland
just wanted to let you know, that I had the time of my life in
Sri Lanka. It was FANTASTIC, I wish the entire experience had
never had to end. I would just like to say thank you to your
team of organisers for organising the spectacular trip. And also
a big thank you to Roshan, Shivani ...
and all the boys at the house for making my stay very welcoming
and memorable. I miss them all very much. And I will definitely
want to return and pay them a visit."
Got any questions? Please email us:
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT:
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll
contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on
details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have
access to all the documentation and information which we've put
together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your
Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you
throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on
your placement and on your return home.
The documents you'll have access to also include a Country
Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on
your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment
Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we
can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.
As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is
different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the
most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in
Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in
all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this
On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our Sri
Lankan staff who
will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn
about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how
to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.
You will have weekends free and this will also allow some time for travelling
and sight seeing.
While on your placements, you can also book some Optional
Add-Ons to make the most of your Travel Experience.
project can also be combined with any of our other projects in Sri Lanka, or
you could even do a second project in a different region of the country, thus
doubling your adventure and enjoyment!
LOCATION, EXPLORING AND SIGHTSEEING:
cannot BEGIN to tell you how beautiful this paradise island is!
Nor how cheap to live and get around. It is almost
too good to be true! But it is true.
Towering Pagodas, Hindu temples and ancient fortresses to holy
rivers and sacred mountains. The
local people are very welcoming and friendly, especially in the
rural areas. The tea plantations are a must, the lace making,
monuments and architectural splendours, etc., but the most appealing is the Elephant
Orphanage at Pinnawala. Not to be
missed! It's an
emotive sight that you'll never forget!
SRI LANKA'S FANTASTIC BEACHES!
Sri Lanka has miles and
miles of amazing beaches. Some of our favourites are:
MIRISSA: Perhaps a
contender for the most beautiful beach in the world. Long,
deserted and hot. You know you have got away from it all as you
sit and watch the sunset over this horizon…The snorkelling is
also incredible here.
NEGOMBO: To the north
of Colombo lies Negombo, a busting fishing town with golden
beaches and a pallet of colour provided by sails and boats
against the deep blue of the ocean.
UNAWATUNA: A sleepy
peaceful cove with deep still water and a temple overlooking the
bay from the protecting cliffs.
HIKKADUWA: A long
stretch of beach with plenty of hostels, restaurants and some
nice bars, not forgetting the impromptu beach parties held on
the beach front bars blaring Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Led
Zeplin and many other classics! Sri Lanka is a conservative
island brimming with culture and Hikkaduwa offers an exciting
opportunity to holiday for the odd celebratory weekend! Many a
volunteer birthday has been seen in over Hikkaduwa cocktails.
You can also body board and even surf on this beach.
ARUGAM BAY: This tiny
fishing village is Sri Lanka’s newest hot spot and hosts the
best surfing and an easy going happy party atmosphere. With its
wide sweeping beach in front of the village and year round
gorgeous swimming it is no surprise that this bay has developed
into a low budget travellers haunt.
"Thank you for the experience you gave me, it was stunning and a
memory that always always always Tim Hancock
brings me warmth"
White Water Rafting:Sri Lanka’s boulder stream rivers are
the ideal setting for white water rafting. This is the best way
to see the stunning environment what this region has to offer.
Many tours are available and many begin with days of action,
rafting the white waters. This high adventure is suitable for
fish time ‘go for it’ rafters and experts alike. Rafting
has become a very popular exciting yet safe adventure sport
Rock Climbing and Mountaineering:
Mountaineering is an adventure sport that requires skills and
levels of fitness that few other adventure sports can match. The
mountain ranges in Sri Lanka offer breath taking, enthralling,
climbing routes. Climbing is all about discovering the natural
world around and with you.
Hiking and Trekking: There’s no better
way to explore the natural scenic beauty of this island with
diverse climatic zones. Trekking is an excellent way to explore
a country, people, their traditions and beliefs. Paths and
campsites have been set up to give nature lovers the experience
of a lifetime. All possible steps are taken to ensure local
community benefit and nature conservation in keeping with all
international camping guidelines.
Canoeing & Kayaking: This relatively
new sport is rated as the most adventurous of all adventure
sports. It involves descending a stream as it drops over
waterfalls and boulders. In Sri Lanka they have low waterfalls
for beginners and some as high as 700 feet for the very
experienced - all surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
The driest and best seasons are from December to March on
the west and south coasts and in the hill country, and from May
to September on the east coast. December to March is also the
time when most foreign tourists come, the majority of them
escaping the European winter.
The coastal stretch
south of Colombo offers palm-lined sandy expanses as far as the
eye can see. The Kandyan dances, a procession of elephants or
the masked devil dances. Then there are the ruins, ancient and
inspiring architecture in the cities of Anuradhapura and
Polonnaruwa to satisfy any archaeologist.
To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you
arrive in your new country, please
Support & Backup:
To read about the excellent
& Backup we provide before you leave and during
please click here.