Elephant Transit Home

Top choice zoo in Uda Walawe National Park

Image by AFP AFP

Supported by the Born Free Foundation (www.bornfree.org.uk), this complex is a halfway house for orphaned elephants. After rehabilitation, the elephants are released back into the wild, many into the Uda Walawe National Park. Although you can’t get up close and personal with the elephants, seeing them at feeding time (from a viewing platform) is still a lot of fun. It's on the main lakeside road, about 5km west of the Uda Walawe National Park entrance.

Elephants here are not normally chained at night (unlike at other elephant 'orphanages') in Sri Lanka. Over 100 elephants have been rehabilitated at the Elephant Transit Home and subsequently released into the wild. Around 40 or so juvenile pachyderms are usually here at any one time. Most tour operators include a visit to the Elephant Transit Home in their trips. There are also decent information displays where you can learn all about elephants and their ancestors. Try to avoid weekends and holidays, when dozens of people are packed together on the viewing platform.