Posted by: lizlitzow | September 13, 2010

Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage – Sri Lanka

A must see attraction in Sri Lanka is the elephant orphanage which is government run and was set up to save abandoned or orphaned wild elephants. It is near the town of Kegalle, some 77 kms from Colombo,  just north of the Colombo/Kandy road.

The grounds of the orphanage

It has grown into the most popular jumbo attraction in Sri Lanka, and with good reason, as nowhere else, except at peraheras (processions) are you likely to see so many elephants at close quarters.

They're really huge - a bull elephant

These huge creatures are looked after and controlled by their mahouts (keepers), who ensure they feed at the right times and don’t endanger anyone.  Otherwise the elephants roam freely around the sanctuary area.

The baby and me

When we visited, there were 60 or so young elephants and some are surprisingly small; this must be one of the few places where an elephant can step on your foot and you might walk away with a smile. There was one very small chap when we were there, and my friend was able to give it a cuddle, but try as I might to do the same the baby would not co-operate and it did step on my foot many times in my endeavours to give it a pat or two.

With their mahout

Twice a day the elephants are taken down to the river to bathe. Elephants do not sweat and like hippos, need to lie around in the water. This is a magnificent sight. The elephants, being highly intelligent, know exactly when they are herded down for their twice daily swim and when they near the river, run down to jump in. You can almost think they are smiling they are so happy.

Having their swim

Most of the elephants become working elephants once they grow up. Occasionally, one of the older females produces a calf to add to the herd.

One of the calves

A group photo

Mahout and his charge

Exhausted !!!

I can’t think of a better way to spend a day!


  1. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: