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Sri Lanka Elephant Orphanage Volunteer!

Do you dream of getting up close and personal with Elephants in an ethical way? Are you looking for the adventure of a lifetime in an exciting country that lets you make a real difference? Then join Global Crossroad’s Sri Lanka Elephant Orphanage Volunteering program today!

Sri Lanka is an amazing country that draws travelers from all over the world to experience its deep culture and history, amazing wildlife, beautiful scenery, spectacular beaches and clear blue waters with great surfing conditions.

Sadly, the magnificent Sri Lankan elephant is facing significant risk of extinction. Though poaching is less of a problem here than for other elephant populations, the expansion of humans into their traditional habitats as well as leftover land mines from the country’s civil war means that hundreds of wild elephants lose their live to human causes every year.

By becoming a volunteer with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka, you get to directly contribute towards the happiness of these elephants. You will also help work towards their conservation and continued survival as a species. The example you set will resonate across the tourism industry on the island and help build a more sustainable future for these creatures.

If you’re interested in making a difference and helping to protect these vulnerable yet crucial animals, contact Global Crossroad today for more information!

Volunteer Responsibilities & Impacts

Volunteering work with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka begins at 8:30 in the morning and lasts until 11:30. During this time you will help the mahouts with various tasks such as feeding, bathing and walking the elephants, clean out elephant sheds and enclosures and prepare food or milk for elephants to eat. Between 2pm and 4pm you can watch the elephants play in the river, and after 4pm you can assist in the Pinnawala Elephant Safari Center where tourists come to see the elephants in a humane and ethical way.

Through this work you will be providing significant relief and benefit to both elephant and mahout, as well as raise awareness of ethical elephant practices and help encourage travelers to interact with these amazing animals in a better, non-exploitative way, greatly increasing their chances for survival and happiness.

Skills and Qualifications

You do not need any specific skills or qualifications to volunteer with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka. All you need is a great passion and love for animals and especially elephants, and a willingness to work hard and dedicate all your time and efforts to the betterment of the elephants and their mahout handlers.

About the Elephant Orphanage

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 and aims to care for and protect orphaned wild elephants that are found in the forests of Sri Lanka without their herd or mothers.

The orphanage is located 13km northeast of Kegalle and contains the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. These elephants are orphaned either as a result of losing track of their mothers by falling into ravines or pits or have had their mothers lost through expansion of human territory or landmine accidents.

Massive amounts of food are brought into the orphanage every day to feed the elephants, and a breeding program is maintained here to help preserve the genetic diversity of the species and protect them from extinction.

Each day working as a volunteer with elephants in Sri Lanka will be a rewarding and fun-filled experience. You will get to know the unique personality of each animal and see the joy they derive from your contribution.

On arrival in Sri Lanka, you’ll be collected and brought to our volunteer house, where you’ll have the rest of the day to get settled in.

  • First Day: - On your first day of volunteering in elephant conservation Sri Lanka project, you will be escorted to the elephant sanctuary and introduced to the staff there. You’ll get a briefing and the rest of the day to prepare for the upcoming project work.
  • Weekdays: - Your volunteer work begins on the second day. Each day will be different, but a typical workday looks like this:
  • 7.00 AM - 7.30 AM – You will be served a delicious homecooked breakfast at your host family’s house.
  • 8.30 AM – After a quick 15-minute walk to the elephant sanctuary, you start a day of rewarding volunteer work with the elephants.
  • 11.30 PM – At this time your primary work is finished, and you get a break for lunch.
  • 2.00 PM - 4.00 PM – At this time you can watch the elephants play and bathe in the river, and even join in yourself! On certain days you may work in the private safari center after 4pm.
  • 4.45 PM – Your day is concluded with a homecooked and authentic Sri Lankan dinner with your host family and fellow volunteer guests.

Sri Lanka Elephant Orphanage Volunteer: Program Dates

Start Dates:

All Volunteer programs in Sri Lanka start every Monday. However, Global Crossroad is very flexible and understands that various travel constraints that you might face.


Global Crossroad is committed to offering the most affordable and highest quality Sri Lanka Volunteer trips. We strive to keep our costs low. The humanitarian side of the business is our passion.

Global Crossroad's Volunteer opportunity in Sri Lanka application and registration fee cost US $299. The application fee covers the cost of advertising, program promotion, and office expenses (rent, utilities, and staff salaries in USA office).

In addition to the application fee, you are required to pay a weekly program fee. You will pay your weekly fee directly to your host family and project. This way, the fees that you pay will benefit those who rightfully deserve them, and not for company profit.

Duration Pinnawala Elephant
  1 Week   $300
  2 Weeks   $600
  3 Weeks   $900
  4 Weeks   $1,200

Airport Pickup and Transfer to Galle (2 hours)- $100/per person
Airport Pickup and Transfer to Kegalle (80 KM) - $100/per person
Airport pick up & transfer to Pinnawala (80 km) - $100/per person
Language and Culture - $250
Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day ( below 28 years) and $4.49/day ( above 28 years)»
How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Accommodation (host family)
  • Food (local food 3 times a day)
  • In-country support
  • Program Orientation
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

The Volunteering programs in Sri Lanka fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses, which would typically be around $30 a day for room and meals at a hostel.

Accommodation and Meal

You will be staying with our trusted and welcoming host families near (15-minute walk) the project placement. They are selected for their ability to provide you with safe and comfortable accommodation as well as their willingness to immerse you in the culture. You will share a room with comfy beds and modern bathrooms with volunteers of the same gender and be provided with three meals a day.

Read more about our accommodation and meals in Sri Lanka.

Free Time and Weekend Exploration

You will have plenty of free time while volunteering in this Sri Lanka elephant orphanage volunteer project. During the week, you can spend your afternoons and evenings enjoying the surrounding countryside of Kegalle, and your weekends are free to go on longer tours all across the country.

Learn more about your free time and weekend exploration in Sri Lanka.

Safety and In Country Support

We take our responsibility for your safety seriously, and to this end we carefully vet and regularly inspect all our projects and facilities including accommodation and transport to ensure that you are always safe and comfortable. We will also provide you with extensive support, and your local coordinator will be available to help you with anything you may need.
Read more about our safety and in-country support in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Elephant Orphanage Volunteer: FAQs

Arrival and Departure

You need to fly into Bandaranaike International Airport for your volunteering trip in Sri Lanka. Global Crossroad’s local representative will be there at the airport to pick you up. You need to send us your correct flight details so that we can pick you up without delay and complications.

It is advised to arrive one day prior to the start of the project. If your flight is missed or delayed, notify us as soon as possible so that we can arrange a new pick up schedule for you in. Bear in mind that we don’t offer airport departure services once the project has concluded.


A tourist visa is a must. You can get a tourist visa by applying for the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). This can be done online and allows volunteers to enter into Sri Lanka for volunteering purposes. 

You can choose to extend your tourist visa if you wish to spend more time working in our elephant conservation program. Extension of additional 90 days can be added with a visit to the office of Immigration Department.

You can learn more about Sri Lankan visa policies and requirements here: 


To work in our elephant conservation Sri Lanka volunteering work program, you have to get the vaccines for Poliomyelitis, Yellow Fever, Rabies, Measles, Rubella, Mumps, Diphtheria, Japanese Encephalitis, Tetanus, and Hepatitis B

You should consider consulting your doctor for further vaccine recommendations. You can learn more about these vaccinations

Why volunteer in elephant program in Sri Lanka?

Volunteering in this elephant project will be a lifechanging experience both for you and the elephants as you discover this amazing country and get to provide real lasting chance for these amazing animals.

 You will have fun while doing something good 

By participating in this project, not only will you get to make a difference and experience Sri Lanka, you will also get to enjoy fun-filled days by getting up close and personal with the elephants and enjoying life through their eyes.

You will experience a new culture:

As a volunteer worker in elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka, you will be immersed in Sri Lankan culture and daily life by interacting closely with both the local staff and mahouts, providing you with meaningful cultural exchange.

You will get instant result of your work:

The change in the elephants’ behavior and personality will be apparent almost immediately as you provide comfort, love and care for these amazing creatures. While they cannot thank you in words, you will easily see the good that your work is doing through the body language and behavior of the elephants.

Personal Growth and Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

Working as a volunteer in an elephant project in Sri Lanka will allow you to go outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself on a daily basis. This will give you plenty of opportunity for personal growth and lifechanging experiences.

Other Volunteering Opportunities in Sri Lanka

There are plenty of opportunities to make a difference in Sri Lanka. With Global Crossroad you can
work in an Orphanage,
teach English,
teaching buddhist monks,
medical volunteer program
elephant conservation(kegalle) and much more

Other Elephant Volunteering Opportunities Worldwide

Elephant populations around the world are sadly threatened by a variety of factors such as loss of habitat and poaching. Global Crossroad arranges a variety of elephant conservation projects throughout Asia and Africa, and below is a list of some of our most popular projects in this vein: