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Welcome to

the Elephant Freedom Project

Visit us and experience a special elephant encounter which is suitable for young and old, families, couples and single travelers. This is your chance to get a memorable impression of a day in the life of lucky Sri Lankan captive elephants who are not being used for working nor riding.

We offer an exclusive experience. To keep a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere for the elephant(s) and you, we limit the amount of visitors per day. For this reason you need to make a booking in advance.

Almost all we do is centered around our adorable elephants Manika and Seetha.

Manika is nearly 42 years old and used to work in the wood logging industry. She has been doing this hard work for over 30 years before we started renting her and could give her a much better life.

When she first arrived at the project she was an angry and aggressive lady. Within two days at our project she visibly calmed down and since she is getting more and more relaxed by the day. Manika still gets a little anxious when being touched except whilst having a bath in the river. She is a great elephant and the interaction is totally safe.

Seetha At the end of March 2016 we welcomed Seetha. She is also about 41 years old. Seetha has been a riding elephant in the tourist industry for a long time. Seetha has been at our project before, in July 2015. That time she had a very bad mahout (elephant keeper). He was hitting her and was drinking alcohol and smoking while being with her. Finally Seetha got a new mahout who is great and now she is back with us. Seetha is a very calm and friendly elephant.

Please note, elephants are not pets. During the walk we ask you not to touch the elephants (except for feeding the fruit). In the afternoon you will have a very long time interacting during the bathing in the river.

*Often one of the elephants has to leave for 1 or more days for a Perahera (religious procession). The project has not control over this.


YOUR VISIT

You can come for 1 or 2 days or even volunteer for 1, 2 or 3 weeks.

An example of the day:

  • 08:30 Welcome and safety talk.
  • 09:00 Mucking out the enclosure (optional)
  • 09:30 Walk with the elephants*
  • 11:30 Tea time
  • 11:45 Cook your lunch the Sri Lankan way
  • 13:00 Lunch time
  • 14:00 Wash the elephants*
  • 16:00 Go to the enclosure and help bring the food to the elephants
  • 16:30 End


On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays you can visit the local school for English conversation with the eager students -this is great fun! (the visit is completely optional -you can also stay at the project if you like)

The program will then be:

  • 08:30 Welcome and safety talk.
  • 09:00 Mucking out the enclosure (optional)
  • 09:30 Walk with the elephants*
  • 11:30 Tea time
  • 11:45 Cook your lunch the Sri Lankan way
  • 13:00 Lunch time
  • 13:30 Wash the elephants*
  • 14:45 Visit the local school
  • 17:30 End

The above activities are subject to change

Your day starts with being welcomed by the local Sri Lankan family or coordinator in their beautiful house with a nice cup of tea.

After a short introduction you can help mocking out the elephant enclosure before joining the elephant(s) on the daily morning walk. It is very important for elephants to get plenty of exercise. This walk is guided by the keeper (mahout) who is the only one who can control the elephant.

When the elephant(s) are back in the enclosure it is time to have a well deserved break. After the break you can enjoy making your lunch in the authentic Sri Lankan way using the kitchen of the local family.

In the early afternoon you go washing the elephants* in the nearby river. Afterwards we go to the enclosure where you can help bring the food to the elephants.

On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays you can join us when we go to a local school for English conversation. This is a lot of fun and helps the children to improve their English skills.

This concludes the day visit. If you stay for the night now it’s time to relax and later enjoy the evening meal.

*Often one of the elephants has to leave for 1 or more days for a Perahera (religious procession). The project has not control over this.


Admission fee


Included

One full day visit ( 8:30 to 16:30):

  • Cook your lunch in the authentic Sri Lankan way
  • A very long time together with the elephant(s) - you will not find this in any other place in Sri Lanka
  • Walk and bath the elephant(s)
  • All project activities related transport
  • Explanation of safety rules
  • Onsite English speaking coordinator.

10.500 LKR per person


Visit for 2 full days (including 1 night):

  • A shared room at the home-stay with a warm and welcoming host family, right next to the elephant enclosure
  • First day - lunch & dinner and accommodation. Last day - breakfast & lunch. All the days in between - breakfast, lunch & dinner and accommodation
  • Cook your lunch in the authentic Sri Lankan way
  • A very long time together with the elephant(s) - you will not find this in any other place in Sri Lanka
  • Walk and bath the elephant(s)
  • All project related transport
  • Explanation of safety rules
  • Onsite English speaking coordinator.

21.000 LKR per person



Longer visits are possible, see here for more information.


Discounts

We have special discounts for children:

  • Children 3 years and under are free
  • Children aged 4 to 12 years are half price
  • Children aged 13 and over pay the full adult price


Please note that when applying for child discount you will be required to provide proof of age by passport.



More information

Transport

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. For example, one way from the airport cost is 5900 LKR, from Negombo to the project costs 6500 LKR and from Kandy to the project costs 4200 LKR.

Project days

The project runs throughout the year and is open every day for everyone, young or old, families, couples and single travelers.

Extra night only

If you are coming the evening before your day with the elephants or you wish to leave the morning after you can book accommodation for the night including dinner and breakfast for 3000 LKR per person. Note that this does not include spending the day with the elephants, but is for the accommodation only. Accommodation is included when staying 2 days (and 1 night) or longer.

Accommodation

The project offers shared accommodation onsite at the family home, next to the elephant enclosure and across the road from the river. Staying with the family gives you a great insight into the Sri Lankan culture. They have 3 shared basic rooms:

  • 1 room sleeps 4 people with a double bed and 1 bunk bed
  • 1 room sleeps 4 people in 2 bunk beds.
  • 1 room sleeps 6 people with 4 single beds and 1 bunk bed.

All 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.

About the project

The Elephant Freedom Project offers refuge, freedom from work and hardship to the elephants Seetha and Manika. At the project they are free from working in the riding industry and the wood logging.

During the day the elephants 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.

For safety purposes the mahouts carry an ankus when the elephants are out of the enclosure. They will never use this in an abusive way.

In Sri Lanka it is impossible to buy elephants, we are renting them. This comes with some restrictions, but is the only way to ensure the elephants don’t end up at a riding place or another bad environment.

One restriction is the elephant owners demanding that we chain their elephants at night. This is not out of ill intent but simply because they are afraid their elephants might get injured when walking in the enclosure during nighttime.

Also the owners are sometimes required to have one of the elephants attend a religious procession (Perehera). The processions are an important part of Sri Lankan culture and the primary reason why elephants are being held in captivity.

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


Location

Rambukkana Karandapana Road, Kegalle 71000, Sri Lanka

We will mail you directions after your booking.