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AN ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE AT PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE IN SRI LANKA 

SRI LANKA

AN ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE AT PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE

The Elephant Orphanage is a sanctuary for over 80 retired, abused or orphaned elephants. Visitors from all over the world come to see these magnificent animals. At times, there are also some small babies who have been born into the herd.

The daily highlight is the walk from the Orphanage to take the herd down to the river to bathe the elephants. It's amazing to watch an entire herd splashing around and rolling in the river, just a few feet in front of you!

"This project is fabulous and if you love elephants, like me - book. Seriously, BOOK NOW!"  Jo Packer

List of ALL PROJECTS in Sri Lanka  List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa 

SUMMARY FACTFILE
Start Dates All year round - you choose your start and finish dates.
Duration From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements
Requirements  No qualifications needed, just lots of enthusiasm, initiative and ideas, and the ability to be very proactive. Minimum age 18.
Price From £895
Full Price List / Other Currencies
What's included Arranging your Programme,
Full pre-departure support and assistance,
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation

Food 
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.
Free T-Shirt.
Certificate of Completion
What's not included Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required), Return transfer to airport.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.

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 development.

  • 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!

"I wanted to end this year by thanking you, and all at Travellers, for making this year so special. As you know, my passion for elephants runs very deep and has done for as long as I can remember, and you were able to help me make my lifelong dream come true, and for that I am so eternally grateful." Travellers Volunteer, Jo 'The Elephant Lady' Harris

"I've been so wrapped up in baby elephants that I haven’t been on the internet at all! My stay so far has been really fantastic, all the staff are lovely ... I’m feeling so blessed and thankful for your organisation, as it has given me one of the best experiences of my life. I would especially like to say how wonderful Nerangela has been throughout this entire trip. She really is lovely, and so knowledgeable about the area." Laura Crilly (Australian)

AN ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE AT PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE IN SRI LANKA

WORK CONTENT:

You'll have about 3 to 4 hours manual work each day at the Orphanage, which is hot and dirty work, mainly,mucking out huge Carport type sheds where Elephants stay at night. You'll also get to wash and hose down several Elephants. In the late morning or afternoon, you'll usually go down to the river and spend about 3 hours amongst the Elephants. You can watch them relaxing, play with them and sometimes help to bathe them.

A couple of little tips from a previous participant for anyone wishing to do this extraordinary project...

"1) When washing an elephant that is lying down in the water, watch out for their trunk as they like to tickle your feet when you're not looking!

2) When sitting at the river edge: My favourite Elephant, Saboo, is very loveable and likes to stand with you. She loves to be tickled and stroked. Make sure you tickle the roof of her mouth - she LOVES this!

You will see some amazing sights here as Elephants really are clever and each have amazing characters and traits. A few funny things I saw were an elephant trying his best to balance a log on this head, the little ones play fighting by nudging each other off the rocks they were trying to balance on, the little ones also playfully charging at one another, the females chasing a very handsome looking male elephant, not to mention the sight of them all putting their trunks in the air and rumbling, trumpeting and even squeaking!

I would also like to add how amazing the Sri Lankan staff are that lived with us in the house, nothing was too much. They helped us plan our weekend trips, cooked us amazing traditional Sri Lankan food and generally took care of us the whole time. I feel truly blessed to of lived with them and the other fantastic volunteers that I shared the experience with." Sarah Ellie

This can be a life-changing experience, as the Elephants are very family orientated and the young ones love fun.If you love animals and don't mind some hard work for some wonderful memories, we highly recommend this project.

WORKING DUTIES: 
Working hours are quite short and you certainly won't be overloaded with work, so you'll have plenty of time to sightsee and explore.  Some elephants are overly large or have not been tamed or trained to a satisfactory level, whereby it is possible to safely have full hands-on contact. 

The majority of volunteer work deals more with the day-to-day aspects of running the orphanage, rather than more specialised research or veterinary based work, although you will have the opportunity to do some hands-on work

Your main duties will be:

  • Mucking out the elephant enclosures in the morning (this is hard, muddy work!)
  • Participating in bathing some of the smaller elephants.
  • While the mahouts are bathing the larger elephants, you will be able to relax by the river, chat to the mahouts and watch the elephants play and interact with humans and each other. This is an absolutely beautiful sight and being around these serene animals in such a beautiful setting can have a very calming effect!
  • You'll also have up to two opportunities per week to feed the beautiful baby elephants

There may also be the opportunity to do other things around the orphanage, however this is subject the amount of work available at the orphanage at the time of your project.

ABOUT PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE

The Elephant Orphanage is a sanctuary for rescued, injured or abused elephants and attracts visitors from all over the world to view these magnificent animals. Around 80 elephants have found homes at Pinnawala, including some small babies who have been born into the herd.

Elephants are orphaned for a number of reasons. Habitat destruction and fragmentation is one of the main causes resulting from irrigation projects, development of industries, agricultural projects and human encroachment. Elephants have lost over 30% of their natural wild habitat.

Other reasons for elephants becoming orphaned include hunting for tusks (although there is little of this in Sri Lanka compared to other countries around the globe), humans catching wild elephants for taming and domesticating and lastly due to the Human - Elephant conflict, which is rife in Sri Lanka. This occurs when elephants encroach on farm land to find food. The result is that 150-200 elephants are killed a year and around 60 people die.

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage helps this Human-Elephant conflict by giving the orphaned elephants a wonderfully happy and healthy life, including allowing for natural social behaviour, good medical treatment and food satisfaction.

The Orphanage is reputedly one of the largest centres of its kind in the world, with one of the most successful captive breeding programmes for Asian elephants.

"I have walked with the elephants, fed babies, cleaned up after them, had an afternoon with the vet to talk about elephants. I have been to heaven and back. I have watched them play and scratch, watched a baby get to grips with her trunk, it was hard work but when she finally picked up the twig she gave the biggest squeal of delight and went to show her mum.

I am the luckiest lady in the world to have been given the opportunity of living a life’s dream. It was more than I could have imagined and has changed my life completely. I will be going back to Sri Lanka next year, I have left my heart over there and need to go back to pick it up.”  Lesley Rogers

ABOUT KEGALLE
During the day Kegalle bustles with people and street markets. The evenings are quiet with the Sri Lankan culture favouring early mornings and early nights. There are always a few volunteers on this placement together, so there is a very sociable atmosphere in the house. However, do keep the quietness in mind and be prepared for slow-paced evenings.

Climate: In the lowlands the climate is typically tropical with an average temperature of 27OC in Colombo.  In the higher elevations it can be quite cool with temperatures going down to 16OC at an altitude of nearly 2,000 metres. Bright, sunny warm days are the rule and are common even during the height of the monsoon - climatically Sri Lanka has no off-season.


Watch Graham Jenkins washing an element and hear what he has to say about his placement at the Elephant Orphanage

AN ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE AT PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE IN SRI LANKA

AN ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE AT PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE IN SRI LANKA


Waiting to take the elephants back after their trip to the river to bathe

ACCOMMODATION:

You will live in a lovely house in the nearby town of Kegalle. The house is typical of the Sri Lankan style and is very 'homely' with five bedrooms, two bathrooms a regal entrance hallway and a brilliant large dining room and living area to socialise in. You will have all necessary facilities such as a washing machine and a TV and DVD player (Sri Lanka is a great place to buy DVD’s, costing about a pound to buy in the cities of Colombo and Kandy). There is cold water only in the house, but with the year round heat in Sri Lanka this has only ever been looked upon as a blessing by our participants!

Food and Transport
A live-in chef will cook all your meals for you and our current volunteers agree with us that the food is delicious!! Transport will be provided for the 25-30-minute journey to and from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

You will be met at Colombo airport by our Sri Lanka Manager, Roshan, and will be taken, usually by car, to Kegalle. You will have the same high level of support provided in all our programmes. You can also combine a one-month placement in the Elephant Orphanage with two months in a teaching placement in Ja-Ela - this way you get the best of both worlds!

Communication
There are internet facilities in Kegalle during the day. There is also a phone in the house that your family and friends can call you on. With a phone card that you can buy locally, you can make international calls home.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Got any questions? Please email us: info@travellersworldwide.com

  

Click here to see the BBC News Profile Video of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

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 mind.    Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity! 

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.

  

Feedback on the Elephant Experience Project in Sri Lanka

Volunteer Jenny Short with an Elephant


Photo Galleries
Diary of Life in Sri Lanka

OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

While on your placements, you can also book some Optional Add-Ons to make the most of your Travel Experience.

1-Wk Elephant Orphanage
Meditation Course

This 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!

"Just wanted to drop you a line as my project in Sri Lanka comes to an end to tell you that I have had the best time of my life. The project has been amazing, both the teaching and the elephant orphanage. It has been a truly amazing experience."  David Constable

 

LOCATION, EXPLORING AND SIGHTSEEING:

We 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 brings me warmth"
Tim Hancock

ADRENALIN JAUNTS:
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 option.

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.

Climate
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.

TRAVEL:
To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your programme, please click here.



CARE FOR CHILDREN IN CHILDREN AND ELDERS HOME NEAR JA ELA IN SRI LANKA



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