When we arrived in a brand new Asian country for us, the very first thing to do on our list was the elephant orphanage. At first, I thought it wasn’t anything special, because the first elephants I saw were in the covered corral. They were feeding a baby a bottle, and offered to let people help, but it was somewhat like a zoo. However, right away one of the mahouts told us to follow him. He was going out into the palm field to call in the other elephants and walk them to the river.
He called and they came lumbering their way towards us. One youngster pushed and pulled us, propelling us with him. A mahout scolded him, and he even looked a bit impish and pushed us one more time, just like any precocious youngster pushing his boundaries. It was fantastic.
All of us, elephants, mahouts, and visitors walked down to the river where we watched the elephants drink, bathe, play, run, and just have a fun time. Many crowded on the edge of the water, some waded in, and three teenagers looked like they were making a break for it. I swear I could almost see them sneak out their cigarettes and turn their backs on authority…hmmm.
Visiting the orphanage was a perfect way to start off our Sri Lankan visit and I would highly recommend it to anyone who goes. Sri Lanka is a great backpackers destination, check out this Ultimate 10 Day Sri Lanka Itinerary!