The town of Pinnawala and the Pinnawela elephant orphanage
General information about Pinnawala
Pinnawala (Pinnawela) – a small town in Central Sri Lanka and known throughout the country and far beyond the eponymous elephant nursery. The town itself is completely unremarkable and visited by tourists for the visit to the nursery.
The Pinnawela elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 in order to care for the elephants, which were found in the jungle without their mothers. But over time, he added, and the victims of the long civil war which ended only a few years ago. Here got adult elephants maimed by mine explosions and elephants that lost their mothers because of the war. There are elephants affected by poachers, and born in the nursery elephants. In General, with the support of the poachers and the civil war, this nursery became the largest population in the world, where elephants are held in captivity. Today it contains more than 80 elephants.
The nursery is often visited by tourists and is one of the famous attractions of the country. Despite the fact that he is far away from the main tourist areas, tourists are always abound. Here you can see how take care of the elephants and even to participate in this process. But the most interesting is the feeding of elephants and bathing, of which the Rangers did almost show. Tourists very touched by how the elephants are fed with milk from bottles, and even willing to pay extra money to be able to feed them. After feeding the whole herd of elephants being driven from the nursery right through the city streets to the river for bathing, which is also very interesting. An action happens twice a day:
- feeding at 09:00 swimming 10:00
- feeding 13:00 swimming 14:00
Usually a visit takes no more than 2 hours, and it is better to catch it is to feeding and bathing, because the rest are not very interesting.
To ride elephants and bathe them tourists are not. But, of course, next to the nursery has several small private elephant farm, where he proposed to feed and to buy the elephants, and in addition also to ride through the jungle. Such farms are few, and they contain only a few elephants. If you want to get necessarily into a real nursery without riding on elephants, is to be vigilant, as local tuk-tuks and the drivers often try to get tourists on a private farm where they receive Commission.
How to visit the nursery
Visit fee: adult RS 2500 / 1250 for children (see the current exchange rate of Sri Lanka).
You can see only swimming free. To do this, just need to settle in one of the hotels with views of the sea, or to pretend to be their guest, and then you can watch the show right from the restaurant or from the balcony. The Manager of one of these hotels in exchange for something that you sit in the restaurant and order, plays along and confirms that you have it live.
It often happens that the kennel together with visit the Botanical garden Peradeniya. Both attractions can be visited in one day.
If you want to visit them with one of the beach resorts of Sri Lanka in one day, you will have to use a private guide with taxi, vehicle rental or tour. If you are willing to visit this place independently on public transport, it is possible to spend the night in Kandy, Kurunegala, puttalam, Koggala (not to be confused with the town of Koggala on the coast) and in Pinnawala.
The best option for independent visit – to stay at a hotel in Pinnawala, because in this case, you will be able to see the morning feeding and bathing, which begins at 9 am. There are a few cheap hotels, and at least three of them are directly on the river with views of the sea. The bathing places are marked on our map Pinnawala.
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How to get to Pinnawala
Pinnawala is located in Central Sri Lanka, 70 kilometers from Colombo. Even on a rented vehicle or a taxi ride here from Colombo will take 2 hours, and with other seaside resorts even more. It is possible to get on local public transport for mere pennies:
To Pinnawala there are no direct buses from the popular resorts and major tourist cities. I have to change in cities Kegalle or Kurunegala. Buses in Sri Lanka only go in the daytime from early morning, quite often. With transfers and finding the right bus at the stations, no problems, just need to ask for help from local residents and the bus conductor.
From the bus station, Colombo bus No. 1 (Colombo – Kandy) or 1-1 (Colombo – Kegalle Kegalle) need a ride to the town of Kegalle. There is need to change the bus number 881 already to Pinnawala. The whole trip will take at least 4 hours at best.
Just as from Colombo you can take bus №1 and ride to See where to change the bus number 881. The trip will take 2 hours.
Just a few kilometers North of Pinnawala is the train/railway station is Rambukkana, of which the nursery can be reached even on foot, to bargain for a trip with the local tuk-tuks, or to find a bus number 881 in the direction of Kegalle.
To Rambukkana and can be reached by direct train from Colombo or Kandy and transfer to Colombo from anywhere on the island, where there is a railway. Trains run quite frequently, for example, from Colombo daily more 20, 3 and a half hours, cost from 80 rupees. The timetables can be clarified online here: https://www.eservices.railway.gov.lk.
And yet, if you are going to go to the elephant orphanage, and not on Safari don't let you fool cunning tuks. They often bring tourists to small private farm, not a kennel.