Welcome to

the Elephant Freedom Project

Our small family run Elephant Freedom Project is a shelter for captive elephants. Surrounded by the many elephant riding places we make the difference.

We are the only place where there is no elephant riding - never. Just accompanying on walks. We are no mass tourist attraction and don't like elephant tricks. We aim to give elephants a good and safe home. At this moment elephant Nilame is staying with us. For many years he had to work in the harsh wood logging industry.

You are very welcome to visit us and experience a special elephant encounter which is suitable for all. To keep a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere for the elephant and you, we limit the amount of visitors per day. For this reason you need to make a booking in advance. You can find us in Kegalle, between Kandy and Colombo and only 2 hours away from the airport.


You can come for 1/2 day in the morning or afternoon, a full day or even volunteer for 1, 2 or 3 weeks.

  • Walk with our elephant for one and a half hour, much longer than any other place
  • Help bathing for 30 minutes
  • Strictly limited amount of visitors

The below activities are subject to change

1/2 day in the morning:

  • 09:00 Welcome and safety talk
  • 09:15 Clean the elephant bed
  • 09:45 Walk with the elephant
  • 11:15 Visit the dung factory, here they make paper from elephant dung -very interesting to see*
  • 12:15 Tea time
  • 12:30 Wash the elephant
  • 13:00 Delicious Sri Lankan Lunch
  • 13:30 End

Admission fee 6500 LKR p.p.

*on Sundays the factory is closed, we'll offer an alternative activity.

1/2 day in the afternoon:

  • 13:00 Start with a delicious Sri Lankan Lunch
  • 13:30 Wash the elephant
  • 14:00 Visit the elephant dung factory*
  • 15:00 Walk with the elephant
  • 16:30 Help prepare the elephant food
  • 17:00 End

*on Sundays the factory is closed, then we'll follow a slightly different program.

Admission fee 6500 LKR p.p.

The FULL day (elephant, cook, lunch and school, total 8 1/2 hours!) :

  • 09:00 Welcome and safety talk
  • 09:15 Clean the elephant bed
  • 09:45 Walk with the elephant
  • 11:15 You can choose to help with the cooking or to visit the dung factory, here they make paper from elephant dung -very interesting to see (not on Sundays)
  • 12:30 Wash the elephant
  • 13:00 Delicious Sri Lankan Lunch
  • 14:00 Travel to the local school for English conversation with the eager students -this is so much fun and gives you a great insight in the REAL Sri Lanka, probably the only opportunity you will have during your holiday - highly recommended!
  • 17:30 End

Admission fee 10500 LKR p.p.


You can reach the project by bus/train/tuktuk. From the airport or Negombo takes about 2-2.5 hours. From Kandy about 1.5 hours. If you like more comfort and less hassle we would love to arrange transport by AC car/van for you.


The project offers accommodation onsite at the family home for 3000 LKR per person per night, including dinner and breakfast. Note that this does not include spending the day with the elephant, but is for the accommodation only. Staying with the family gives you a great insight into the Sri Lankan culture.

All basic rooms have attached bathrooms with Western style toilets and refreshing typical Sri Lankan cold showers. Bed sheets, mosquito nets, ceiling fan, purified drinking water and toilet paper are provided. There are Wifi, a TV, a washing machine, a homely seating area and veranda. Towels are not provided.

the family house

living room

dining room

About the project

The small, family run, Elephant Freedom Project offers refuge, freedom from work and hardship to the elephant Nilame. At the project he is free from working in the riding industry and the wood logging. Nilame is an adult male elephant which are solitary in nature.

During the day the elephant can roam around freely inside the enclosure, go for a guided walk in the countryside and go to the river every day to be washed.

Elephants are not pets. For safety purposes the mahout carries an ankus when the elephant is out of the enclosure. He will rarely use this and NEVER in an abusive way. Remember that elephants are very big and immensely strong animals.

In Sri Lanka it is impossible to buy elephants - no one is selling - , we are renting Nilame. This comes with some restrictions, but is the only way to ensure Nilame doesn’t end up at a riding place or another bad environment.

One restriction is the elephant owner demanding that we chain his elephant at night. This is not out of ill intent but simply because he is afraid his elephant Nilame might get injured when walking in the enclosure during nighttime. The owner will only rent out Nilame on this condition, there is nothing we can do about this. If the Project doesn't rent Nilame he will go back to an elephant riding place, something we really don't want to happen. We hope for your understanding.

The Elephant Freedom Project aims to give captive elephants a good and safe home, which is made possible thanks to your visit.

walk and observe

for all ages