The Cheapest Elephant Safari in Sri Lanka
One of the things that people usually include on their Sri Lanka itinerary is going to see the majestic wild elephants that can be found (if you know where to look) in various corners of this wonderful island.
Some head to Yala, Uda Walawe and Minneriya National Parks to join an organised safari, or the less adventurous head to the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala, we don’t really like organised tours and as long term travellers we have to survive on a tight budget so we needed another option….
Thanks to some local info and a bit of research we have just seen more than 10 huge, wild elephants at close range, with no one else present, all for the cost of 4 Great British Pounds for 2 people!
The lowdown for the cheapest elephant safari in Sri Lanka:
- Stay in Uppuveli on the East Coast just North of Trincomalee.
- Rent a scooter from Sunrise Guesthouse at 4pm (the timing is key) – we paid 500 LKR (£2.50) for 4 hours.
- Head back to the main road, turn left and ride into Trincomalee to put some petrol in the tank as it WILL be empty – we put 300 LKR (£1.50) in which was plenty (the petrol station is right in the centre opposite the main bus station).
- Go back in the same direction you came from, and 100 yards after the turning for Sunrise Guesthouse turn left.
- Follow this road for around 3km until you reach the junction for the main Anuradhapura Road (the A12) and turn right.
- Ride for just over 4km and the entrance to the cheapest elephant safari in Sri Lanka is on the left.
As we mentioned earlier, timing is key, if you rent your scooter at 4pm and follow our instructions you should arrive around 5pm which is prime time to spot the elephants.
Now at this stage we must tell you something, the elephants are wild and come out of the jungle to find food, but the farmers are wise to this and have installed electric fences to protect their crops (you can see these clearly along this road) meaning they have to go elsewhere for food.
Now, the elephants head to the local municipal rubbish dump to eat…
This does mean that the cheapest elephant safari in Sri Lanka involves visiting the local rubbish dump, which is shocking and a true indication of how humans continue to destroy the habitat of wild animals.
Being a dump, it was a bit smelly, and not the most picturesque of settings, but whilst we were there more than 10 large, wild and amazing elephants came out of the jungle to search for a snack.
It was a unique and humbling experience, we have been on ‘proper’ safaris before in Africa, India and Sri Lanka but there was something kind of cool about the DIY status of our most recent safari.
Not only were there elephants, but dozens of birds of prey were circling and a number of peacocks were strutting around displaying their fine plumes making this a serious value for money safari.
Why do humans continue to force animals from their natural habitat?
That’s not all you get for your money, about 2km before your reach the cheapest elephant safari in Sri Lanka there are some hot springs you can visit for 50 LKR (that’s 25 Great British Pence – we didn’t bother, but we hear they are worth a visit if you have time.
We’ve given you enough info so that you too can enjoy the cheapest elephant safari in Sri Lanka, but only you can decide if you fancy spending a couple of hours at the local rubbish dump where wild elephants who have had their native land destroyed forage for food amongst the garbage.
Truly majestic animals in a kind of sad setting…
It is of course sad that we (the human race) have developed land that was previously home to wild animals, and this experience demonstrated that fact clearly. Will we learn and begin to protect areas that are habitat to wild and endangered species? Here at Vegan Food Quest we hope so, but our full time vegan tarvel adventure has shown us many examples where humans have no regard for other inhabitants of our planet…