Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage lies halfway between Colombo and Kandy. It's long been a haven for orphaned elephants, and is now home to the largest elephant herd in captivity in the world, with a successful captive breeding programme. Pinnawala is a charming place, with extensive coconut groves for the elephants to spend their days in, forming new herds and attachments as they recover from their ordeals.
Sri Lankan elephants can be seen in the wild, although numbers are not what they were. This orphanage, which is working hard to rebuild the population and to give the elephants in their charge a happy environment, offers a chance to see great numbers of these intelligent animals up close. Twice a day, the elephants are led to the Maha Oya, where they frolic and fun and bathe, to the delight of the visitors who sit on the rocky banks to watch. A lucky few visitors are given the opportunity to help at feeding time, bottle-feeding the babies.