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.

“A bit touristy, but still a great experience”

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Pinnawala
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A bit touristy, but still a great experience”
Reviewed 25 November 2013

Great seeing the elephants up close, and i would definitely recommend feeding one of the adult elephants, but be aware of the guys who work there letting you touch the elephants... They will demand money after wards. Just do NOT give them your camera to take a picture of you, some people apparently then have it taken ransom!

Lovely seeing the elephants bathing!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Emma M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

3,020 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    864
    924
    544
    273
    415
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
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
74 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Elephant Contact!!”
Reviewed 24 November 2013

Wow - we left our resort at 06.30 in the morning to make sure that we reached the Elephant Orphanage in good time for feeding. It was extremely busy but we were lucky enough that our guide had already pre-booked tickets so we were able to progress straight through (there is also a separate queue to tourists). The baby elephants being fed were very cute and it was also good to see how the centre cares for disabled elephants as well. There was plenty of room for the elephants to roam and they seemed very contented. We got really close to elephants of all ages and got some amazing photos as memories. Mid morning the elephants walk through town to refresh and play in the river (quire surreal) - i think this is the part of the day that the elephants love the most! There are some great viewing spots and the whole experience was well worth the early start.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Simona326
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The elephants were amazing but....”
Reviewed 23 November 2013

I have always loved elephants and wanted to volunteer at Pinnawala Elephant orphanage. If you look around, there are many companies that offer accommodation including access to the orphanage which gives you hands on experience with the elephants. I am sad to say i was a bit disheartened with the whole experience. I understand that Sri Lanka needs income from the tourists but feel the advertising for the orphanage was misleading. The elephants we were allowed to get in to contact with, the mahouts expected money for allowing you to stroke them and feed them and myself and another volunteer did see levels of neglect. The worst experience however was the actual "co ordinator". He was a very unprofessional man who offered us drugs on the first day, showed a lot of anger, sexual harrassment to another volunteer and was drunk every evening -i would warn anyone- especially a female to sign up with this guy. I should have gone with a more reputable company like i originally planned. Sadly i opted for his "company" because he was much much cheaper- i guess you get what you pay for.
I will say there ARE better companies to go with that have had better feedback, so i would recommend NOT to opt for a cheaper Sri Lankan based company like i did,. I am unable to say the person's name, but it is one man running it and he has a blog spot, not a website, so please be vigilant. The country of Sri Lanka was nice however and i would recommend people to go there- and the orphanage, but sadly this guy has put me off the whole experience,

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank sazzalk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Definitely worth a visit!”
Reviewed 22 November 2013

I had read very mixed reviews about Pinnawala before visiting Sri Lanka, however, I would definitely recommend a visit.

Don't bother paying to bottle feed a baby elephant - certainly the worst (and only negative) aspect of the day!

Other than the bottle feeding of the baby elephants who were all chained to the floor, the rest of the visit was very pleasant. The elephants all look content and well cared for, and have plenty of natural space to roam around in. Mid-morning they let them all walk down to the local river where you can see them splashing around and enjoying themselves!

There were a few elephants with chains but generally large males for safety reasons.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank TRAVELLER B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gosport, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great experience”
Reviewed 21 November 2013

What a wonderful place. Elephants of all ages that have been abandoned or orphaned, there are also some that were injured by the mines left by the Tamal Tigers which is heart renching. I got to feed milk to one of the babies which was over as quick as it began but worth it & afterwards we walked down to watch them having a bath in the river which was brilliant. Highly recommended.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Melanie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage also viewed

 
Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province
Peradeniya, Kandy District
 

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