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 40 years old and used to work in the wood logging industry. She has been doing this hard work for over 30 years before we rescued her.

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 we welcomed Seetha. She is also about 40 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.

   

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YOUR VISIT

 

An example of the day:

 

  • 08:30     Welcome and safety talk
  • 09:00     Mocking out the enclosure (optional)
  • 09:30     Walk with the elephants*
  • 11:30      Tea time
  • 11:45      Cooking lesson
  • 13:00     Lunch time
  • 14:00     Wash the elephants*
  • 15:30     Go to the enclosure and feed fruit (or visit the local school for English conversation on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays)
  • 16:00     End (Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays - day end at 17:30)

 

 

The above activities are subject to change

 

Your day starts with being welcomed by our 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 for us to have a well deserved break. After the break you can enjoy the authentic Sri Lankan cooking lesson in the kitchen of the local family. 

In the early afternoon you go washing Manika in the nearby river before we go on the second walk of the day.

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.

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

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Admission fee

 

Included

One full day visit ( 8:30 to 16:30):

  • Sri Lankan cooking class (eat your self prepared lunch)
  • Walk and bath the elephant(s)
  • All project activities related transport
  • Explanation of safety rules
  • Onsite English speaking coordinator.

150 New Zealand Dollars per person (approx 108 US Dollars)

Paying in NZD - Our fees are in New Zealand Dollar (NZD)as all our bookings are arranged via our New Zealand registered booking company Volunteers at Work.

 

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
  • Sri Lankan cooking class (eat your self prepared lunch)
  • Walk and bath the elephant(s)
  • All project related transport
  • Explanation of safety rules
  • Onsite English speaking coordinator.

299 New Zealand Dollars per person (approx 216 US Dollars)

Paying in NZD - Our fees are in New Zealand Dollar (NZD)as all our bookings are arranged via our New Zealand registered booking company Volunteers at Work.

 

Longer visits are possible, see booking form for prices.

 

Child discount

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

We have special discounts for children:

 

  • Children aged from 0 to 5 pay 11 NZD per day only
  • Children aged from 6 to 12 pay 50% of the full adult price
  • Children aged 13 and over pay the full adult price 

 


 

Availability

 

We have no more availability on the following dates:

February 27 and 28

March 2, 4 and 16

April 6, 7, 8, 16, 17, 18 and 19

July 28, 29, 30 and 31

August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8


 

BOOK HERE

To visit the project you need to book in advance. You will receive a mail from us with all information.

Paying in NZD - Our fees are in New Zealand Dollar (NZD)as all our bookings are arranged via our New Zealand registered booking company Volunteers at Work.

 

PLEASE FILL IN THIS FORM TO BOOK ↓


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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. From the airport the pickup cost is 55 NZD. From Negombo to the project costs 59 NZD and from Kandy to the project costs 49 NZD.

Project days

The project runs throughout the year and is open every day.

 

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 27 NZD 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.