Family volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka

“Ten days contributing to invaluable and incredible elephant conservation project in the wilds of Sri Lanka. Recommended minimum age ten. Stay in mountain house. ”


Elephant tracking in the wild| Working with award winning conservation charity in Sri Lanka | Monitoring and identifying elephants | Central Highlands | Tree house observation stations | All meals included

Description of Family volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka

Immerse yourself and your family in local life on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka by volunteering with elephants, helping to promote their survival in the wild. Witness their intelligence and beauty first hand, all whilst working to conserve this dwindling species for future generations.

This is a fantastic trip for families of all ages, however we would recommend children over the age of 10 to gain a real appreciation. You will become part of the work of a multiple award-winning charity working alongside local scientists and conservationists. You will be helping with tracking where the elephants go and what they do, whilst also monitoring and identifying them. Seeing elephants in the wild has become a joy for both parents and kids alike- and it never gets old!

Your days are spent out and about tracking the elephants, monitoring their activities in the wild and meeting the local communities who are affected by the presence of the elephants. In addition to this your children will meet local kids and gain a genuine appreciation for cultural and lifestyle differences. Some of the highlights have included monitoring elephant activity from tree houses, tracking elephant trails through the wild, bathing in the lakes dotted around the countryside and meeting local people.

Not only will you come away having done something important to help the survival of Asian elephants, but you will have experienced a lifestyle very different from your own.

Accommodation and food
You will be living in a beautiful mountain house located on the outskirts of a small village. The views from the house look out onto a striking mountain range and a large reservoir- not a bad vista to wake up to, especially when there are elephants bathing!

The house is basic yet comfortable. Rooms are on a sharing basis with your family.

Meals are provided and are varied and delicious. Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrival to Colombo is on a Sunday. We arrange your airport collection and first night in a hotel in Colombo.
Day 2:Transfer day is a Monday. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to Colombo train station for the train to Kandy. You will be met at Kandy and taken by bus transfer to the project site. Private transfers are also available at an extra cost.
Day 3+:Time to get stuck in to the project. You will be working at least 5 days of the week on the project, with at least one day off to relax and explore.
Last day:You will be transferred back to Colombo on your last day on the project. Alternatively you can head back to Kandy to enjoy the cultural capital of the country.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
US pricing:
The currency converter above works on todays exchange rate. We do take bookings in USD but the price is set at a rate confirmed months in advance and is typically above the current exchange rate. Please enquire for details.
Accessible overview:
There are challenges associated with volunteer travel, and these can make accessible travel difficult. However, we are very keen to chat with travellers with specific needs to see if we can make a trip possible.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

The importance of the project
Asian elephant numbers have been falling dramatically for the last 100 years, in part due to human-elephant conflict. This project is the first participatory, community-based, elephant research and conflict resolution project in the world. Tracking takes place from a distance and volunteers are instructed on the safe and responsible ways of viewing/recording elephants in the wild.

Caring for the environment:
We send out comprehensive pre-departure briefing, which includes a section on protecting the local environment. In particular we advise participants to take care with water, which is scarce in many of our destinations. We recommend they avoid unnecessary washing, using hand wash gel where they can. We also instruct them on how to dispose of waste properly, not to litter and, where possible, to avoid using plastic water bottles which are not easy to dispose of environmentally. Those going trekking are advised to keep to marked footpaths so as to prevent further erosion of the landscape.

Protecting the world
We are passionate about encouraging our travellers to be kind to the environment as they travel. Each participant receives advice about how to care for the environment whilst they are away. This includes water usage, how to avoid single use plastic, and electricity usage.

We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.

The Impacts of this Trip

Meeting local needs

As well as helping to protect elephants and other animals, this project is mainly focused on helping to improve human - elephant conflict issues. Elephants, traditionally able to roam where they pleased through the wild, are now having to forage for food in fields and homes. Locals find this hard to live alongside, and this project strives to understand more about the elephants' behaviour so that more farms will be protected. Projects to put elephants off going into farmland are completed, such as planting orange trees around field boundaries to protect crops- elephants hate oranges!

Cultural sensitivity
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural Sri Lanka. Our policy is to send people overseas in small groups or individually. This minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.

Understanding and respecting the host community is paramount to the success of any project as long term commitment, support and adoption of sound environment, economic and social practices. This project employs as many local people possible, making it sustainable socially as well as environmentally.


1 Reviews of Family volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 10 Sep 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Getting education by staff. Volunteering for the center. Seeing the elephants interact with one another in a natural environment.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Great experience, but don't go in expecting the comforts of home. It's rustic, there are lots of insects, and it's hot. If you can get past this, then it's a must see.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

yes, while volunteering we felt like we were supporting the center.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


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