The Elephant Freedom Project in Sri Lanka

Company : The Elephant Freedom Project
Location : Between Colombo and Kandy
Duration: < 1 week to 2 weeks
Approx Costs: 100 to 750 $ Dollars (US)

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 the life of 2 lucky Sri Lankan captive elephants who are not being used for working nor riding.

We are really the only place in Sri Lanka where you can volunteer knowing that the elephants are not being used for riding or working. All the other places do offer riding and/or unethical practices - always check TripAdvisor before booking.

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.


An Example of a Usual 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 -end 17:30)
  • 16:00 End

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. 

Most people visit us for the day but Longer visits are possible. You can stay maximum 2 weeks at the project. During that time you have the chance to build a bond with the elephants, the family who run the project and the school children. There is no set itinerary for volunteers, you will have to make your own program together with the family.  Many things are possible, the family is very flexible and likes to support you in everything.

We have had many volunteers during the 4 years that we are open and have found that the most successful volunteers demonstrate a high degree of independence and initiative while on the project, finding ways to contribute rather than waiting to be asked. Volunteering with the Elephant Freedom Project represents a unique opportunity working with captive elephants. Your experience will be authentic and your contribution will be meaningful.

Our admission fee is high but certainly not expensive for what we offer: a chance to be close with 2 elephants who are not being ridden nor used to work in a non touristy setting with only some other visitors. We have a 98% rating on Tripadvisor and are certain you will have a great time being at our project.



Suitable for young and old, families, couples and single travelers.

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The Elephant Freedom Project The Elephant Freedom Project in Sri Lanka Reviews

Perfect day!

We had visit the Elephant Freedom project last September and is was perfect!
The walk with Seetha was so nice! And we were able to wash her after the walk.
The lunch we prepared after is was so good!
After the lunch we went to a small school to speak English with some students. The whole day was a wonderful experience!

By: Sarina
Nationality: Netherlands
Age: 27


A friend and I visited The Elephant Freedom Project almost 2 years ago, and it was one of our best experiences in Sri Lanka.

By: Helena
Nationality: Belgian
Age: 22

A woke experience

I discovered the elephant freedom project when reading reviews on trip advisor for a different experience on interacting with elephants in Sri Lanka.
The experience was definitely enriching and unique! I not only got to walk and bathe an elephant, but spend quality time with a local family who opened their home to us. The mini-orientation you get when you start is informative and eye opening about the practices in the country. I would definetly recommend this to everyone who wants to see Sri Lanka in this era. As a female solo traveller, I was made to feel at home and welcome. The family and organisers even helped me plan out my journey ahead.
Again, an amazing must try experience!

By: Vinitha Jagadish
Nationality: Indian
Age: 28

amazing place

this place is awesome and very good for the éléphant !! such a nice family, i définitly recommend this center ! :)

By: maryse brideaj
Nationality: canada
Age: 28

Lucky elephants

Elephant freedom project is an amazing place, it was so great to visit and volunteer at a place where you know for sure that nothing is being done to hurt the elephants. It's not a business and tourist attraction set up to earn money, it's truly about the elephants. Walking them and bathing them was a very nice experience. Really recommend this place!

By: Marie Bechsen Hansen
Nationality: Norwegian
Age: 29

Nice Place

It‘s a very nice place to learn more about elephants. We washed the elephants and had lot of fun! We also cooked with the guys 👌🏼😍

By: Jasmin
Nationality: german
Age: 26

One of my favourite experiences ever !!

My boyfriend and i visited the Elephant Freedom Project in February 2018. It was the most surreal experience and by far my favorite part of our trip to Sri Lanka. It is clear everyone who works there has an incredible passion for animal welfare and the organisation is beyond inspiring!

By: Charlotte O’Neill
Nationality: Australian
Age: 24

Best experience ever!

I stayed here with my friend and we both had the most incredible time. It was a once in a lifetime experience and we would 100% recommend to everyone.

By: Talya
Nationality: Australia
Age: 23

Amazing experience with good karma

We (my boyfriend and I) went to the Elephant Freedom Project and did the half day afternoon tour.

We started with super delicious local food for lunch, cooked by the guys from the whole day tour.. The big suprise of the day: After the lunch we met our guide and were the only two persons who went to the afternoon tour. So we were all alone with the elephant.

Our guide was super nice and we learnt a lot of interesting facts about the elephant. (He knows everything! ;) )

The elephant "Nilame" was lying in the river when we arrived. No chains, no harm, no fear, just a relaxing elephant. We started to wash and clean him - that was such a nice experience. This big warm elephant was so relaxed from our massage/cleaning that he fell asleep. While cleaning him we saw lot of old scars from the elephant riding.
In this project he never has to carry someone or something! They treat him very well.

After the bathing we took a short walk behind him (because he doesn't like it when someone is walking in front of him)

We could feed him and after the walk we had to say goodbye, unfortunately. Every minute with an elephant is a good minute!

At least we visited a dung factory. It was actually pretty interesting as well.

I totally recommend this adventure. They give the elephant a really good treatment. And you can see that by how friendly he is. He walks without chains and his keeper can control him just with words.

I think its a project we have to support. In contrast to other projects their goal is to give the elephants a better life and not just to make money. The elephant is what they care about in the first place! If we decide to invest in projects like this perhaps we can change something. There are lot of captured elephants who do ridings and get injured by their keeper. We can stop that if we decide to invest in good projects like this.

By: Theresa Dunkel
Nationality: German
Age: 26


Me, my husband and our 14 year old daughter visited The Elephant Freedom Project in December 2016. It was the best thing we did in our 3 week vacation. The family where lovely and took very good care of us. We where so lucky that day because it was just us and 2 other volunteers there that day. We enjoyed every little second that day. Instead of cooking class we visited the local elephant dung factory.
My greatest memory and most cherished is when we scrubbed the elephant in the river <3
You should really visit this gorgeous place instead of some cruel elephant riding place.
Thank u and we hope to come back again

By: Malin
Nationality: Sweden
Age: 41

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