Why Elephants in Sri Lanka Should Not be visited in Pinnawala

Why Elephants in Sri Lanka Should Not be visited in Pinnawala

Sri Lanka has a great population of elephants. Just before our visit, we were told to admire the elephants in Sri Lanka. Either in one of the National parks or Pinnawala. We decided to do both without doing any research.

Quick jump to:

  1. Where to visit elephants in Sri Lanka?
  2. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage ?
  3. Udawalawe National Park ?
  4. Places to see elephants in Sri Lanka ?

Visit elephants in Sri Lanka

Elephants are not build to give a tour while you are on its back, you can’t cuddle with tigers and a whale shark shouldn’t be fed to use them as a tourist attraction. We know these animal attraction are a hot topic right now. And different people have a lot of different opinions. These are the options you’ll have when you would like to visit elephants in Sri Lanka.

This photo of doyoutravel is the one that made us visit Pinnawala. Don’t get us wrong, we really love the travels of doyoutravel and gypsealust but we hate that Pinnawala is getting the promotion they don’t deserve.

Please let us show you the real Pinnawala… 

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

It’s a 2-hour drive from Colombo to reach Pinnawala. We stayed at a hotel what was near the river. This was the first strange thing we’ve noticed. The owner told us that the elephants would pass every morning. So we woke up early to make sure we won’t miss them.

elephants in sri lanka pinnawala chain

Then they came, in a whole different way than we had expected. Local people walked the elephants out of town, chained, into the river. Attaching them to rings on the rocks in the river. Hidden under the water surface so it won’t really get on photos. But we had a low tide that day.

Elephant riding in Pinnawala

Those same people are going to wash the elephants. We’re not elephant experts but it looked like a group of scared elephants. They’re being hit with sticks and getting the full human weight hanging on their ears to get them kneel into the water.

elephants in sri lanka pinnawala

After seeing a few of these moments we left. We like to stop this kind of money making businesses. But where will these elephants than go? We visited an elephant sanctuary in Thailand before and they acted completely different compared to the elephants in Pinnawala.

Take a look at this video again

Udawalawe National Park

A week later we got up 4:00 AM and drove from Ella to Udawalawe. We had to be there at 6:00 AM, sunrise time! We bought our entrance ticket, while the jeep started his engines.

How to get from Ella to Udawalawe National Park

We only found one (not so cheap) option, get to the main street the night before leaving. Find some people that also would like to visit Udawalawe and split the costs of a van.

elephants in sri lanka visit udawalawe national park monkey

The park itself was beautiful. We’ve seen parrots, deer, buffalos, monkeys and after driving for an hour we finally found two near the road. Elephants! They were curious but shy. The moment he would like to touch the car, the driver drove a few meter further. It was beautiful to see that these animals actually could live in the wild and not being used and fed.

elephants in sri lanka visit udawalawe national park safari go pro
elephants in sri lanka visit udawalawe national park safari

We were a bit unlucky that day because the groups of Elephants weren’t near the road that day. But it was a beautiful experience. Which made us a little bit more happy about the elephants in Sri Lanka.

Must read: 7 awesome things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka

Places to see elephants in Sri Lanka

Eventually, we were happy we had both experiences but it hurt that Pinnawala is such an attraction. What we don’t know is, where do these elephants go if these orphanages weren’t there… do you? Please, make a good decision on which kind of businesses you would like to support.

  1. Yala National Park
  2. Minneriya National Park
  3. Kaudulla National Park
  4. Udawalawe National Park

Go to a national park or take care of the elephants like we did back in Thailand. Christian LeBlanc made a really good YouTube series about Elephants in Thailand.

Help to stop this and share it with your friends or leave your experience in the comments down below.

elephants in sri lanka visit udawalawe national park buffalo
Nil Diya Mankada Safari Resort
Nil Diya Mankada Safari Resort

A cool Safari Lodge 9 km from Udawalawe National Park. Starting at $60

Happy Elephant Resort Udawalawe
Happy Elephant Resort Udawalawe

A backpacker price stay near the national park. From $11 a night

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15/02/2018 https://saltinourhair.com/sri-lanka/elephants-sri-lanka/
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