Visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphange
Pinnawala Elephant Orphange is one of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka. It was founded in 1975 to provide feeding, care and sanctuary to baby orphaned elephants that were found in the wild. It also now a centre for captive breeding and the orphanage has become one of the most successful captive breeding centres for Asian elephants.
The opportunity to see a large herd of elephants up close interacting together and be walked down to the nearby river for a twice daily bath are the highlights of Pinnawala Elephant Orphange. See below for more info on getting there, costs and the daily schedule of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphange.
Pinnawala Elephant Orhanage is best visited from Kandy however if you are travelling from Colombo you can hire a private tour guide with car for around $80-100 USD for a return journey. Distance is approx 90kms from Colombo to Kandy but due to traffic journey can take up to a few hours each way. My advice here would be catch the train from Colombo to Kandy and use Kandy as your launch pad to visit.
I was travelling with 3 friends so we hired a private van for the return trip which coast us Rs. 4000/= so less than $10 USD per person which we thought was reasonable as we stopped many times on the journey to enjoy some lunch and fresh corn and king coconuts. The drive is around 1 hour from Kandy city centre so remember to factor in the travel time when heading off.
Train from Kandy is also possible by taking the train from Kandy Station & getting off at Rambukkana, it is around a 2km walk from the station.
If you are traveling by bus, take the Kegalle Kandy road, 4-5 km from Kegalle at the Karandunpona junction take the road north heading towards Rambukkana for about 6 km – the bus price from Kandy to the junction is about Rs 40, ask the bus driver to drop you off at the turn for Pinnawala.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Schedule
Gates open at 8:30 am, the bottle feeding and river bathing schedule is as follows. There is a couple of restaurants by the river with decking overlooking the water so you can enjoy refreshments whilst enjoying the show.
- 10:00 am – Elephants parade down to river for bath time
- 1:15 pm – Bottle feeding time
- 2:00 pm – Elephants parade down to river for bath time
- 5:00 pm – Bottle feeding time
- 6:00 pm – Elephant Orphanage Closes
- Current entry fee to the Elephant Orphanage is Rs. 2500/=