Trip Details

The Wild Elephant Experience program is a 4 week program. On your first 3 weeks at the sanctuary you will be observing and documenting the activities of wild elephants in Sri Lanka. On the fourth week, you will be at our turtle conservation project, looking after endangered sea turtles that are unable to survive in the wild due to illness, injuries etc. and also you will have an opportunity to live by the blue ocean.

The Wild Elephant Experience program works together with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society. You will spend 3 weeks in Wasgamuwa observing and researching the behaviour of wild elephants, assessing human – elephant conflicts, biodiversity mapping using surveying techniques, community integrated human elephant conflict resolution, monitoring electric fences and early alert systems and sustainable rural livelihood development. Participants also learn about using GPS, remote sensing and GIS techniques to develop conservation strategies to help conserve elephants, leopards, other wildlife and their habitats in the Central and North Central Provinces of Sri Lanka.

On the wild elephant conservation project, you will just enjoy the experience of:

  • Observing the behaviour of wild elephants, birds and other wildlife from the jungle tree hut
  • Trekking – observe wildlife & birds, look for leopard & elephant signs, observe various habitats, and visit forest hermitages
  • Bird watching and generally observing and enjoying nature around the campsite. Next,you will do some work: Assisting with elephant research you will be utilising many tools during your stay, including GPS, remote sensing and GIS techniques, also biodiversity mapping using various surveying techniques. All aimed at developing strategies to help conserve elephants, leopards and other wildlife in their natural habitats in the surrounding area. Lastly, you will become actively involved in helping the local community
  • Assessing human and elephant interaction which often includes involvement with conflict resolution
  • Monitoring electric fences which are erected to stop elephants from raiding crops and village homes, and also the early alert systems
  • Visit Weheragala Gama village to observe a human-elephant conflict resolution project
  • Meet and discuss the issues and challenges with community leaders and villagers all aimed at sustainable rural development

The 4th week of the project will be spent at our Turtle Conservation project in Ambalangoda. This project rescues and rehabilitates endangered sea turtles and also aids nesting and carries out other conservation related activities

You will be transferred (by bus or train) to Ambalangoda, a small Sri Lankan town situated next to the blue waters of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal with pure white sandy beaches, a perfect way to end your stay in Sri Lanka. Here you will participate in our Turtle Conservation Project.

Aims & Objectives
This project is aimed at developing strategies to help conserve elephants, leopards and other wildlife in their natural habitats in the surrounding area and also to be actively involved in helping the local community.

Trip Itinerary

Week 1: Wild Elephant Sanctuary
Sunday
Kandy

If you arrive on Sunday on time, you will be transferred to Wasgamuwa on the same day. If not you will arrive at our accommodation in Kandy from the airport and relax.

Monday
Wasgamuwa
This day is mainly occupied with travelling from Kandy to Wild Elephant Sanctuary at Wasgamuwa.

You will be leaving to the Wild Elephant Sanctuary early morning using the public transport (bus). One of the coordinators in Kandy will accompany you to the bus station and will give necessary information to the bus conductor regarding the drop off. Even though you will be traveling alone by bus or with other participants who are leaving for the same project, a coordinator from the Sanctuary will be there at the other end to pick you up from the bus station.

Please note that you are transferred to the project only on Monday early morning as there is only one bus leaving to this area daily. The journey takes approximately five hours.

Tuesday to Friday
Wasgamuwa
Your daily activities at the wild elephant sanctuary at Wasgamuwa will be:

  • Assisting with elephant research
  • Biodiversity mapping using various survey techniques
  • Assessing human and elephant interaction which often includes involvement with conflict resolution
  • Monitoring electric fences which are erected to stop elephants from raiding crops and village homes, and also the early alert systems
  • Observe human-elephant conflict resolution project
  • Meet and discuss the issues and challenges with community leaders and villagers all aimed at sustainable rural development

Saturday
Wasgamuwa

  • Free time for you to explore.

Week 2: Wild Elephant Sanctuary
Sunday
Wasgamuwa

  • Free time for you to explore.

Monday to Friday
Wasgamuwa

  • Assisting with elephant research
  • Biodiversity mapping using various surveying techniques
  • Assessing human and elephant interaction which often includes involvement with conflict resolution
  • Monitoring electric fences which are erected to stop elephants from raiding crops and village homes, and also the early alert systems
  • Observe human-elephant conflict resolution project
  • Meet and discuss the issues and challenges with community leaders and villagers all aimed at sustainable rural development

Saturday
Wasgamuwa

  • Free time for you to explore.

Week 3: Wild Elephant Sanctuary
Sunday

  • Free time for you to explore.

Monday to Friday
Wasgamuwa

  • Assisting with elephant research
  • Also biodiversity mapping using various surveying techniques
  • Assessing human and elephant interaction which often includes involvement with conflict resolution
  • Monitoring electric fences which are erected to stop elephants from raiding crops and village homes, and also the early alert systems
  • Observe human-elephant conflict resolution project
  • Meet and discuss the issues and challenges with community leaders and villagers all aimed at
  • sustainable rural development

Saturday
Kandy

  • Travel back to Kandy by bus or train and spend the night at our accommodation .

Week 4: Turtle Conservation
Sunday
Ambalangoda

Depart from Kandy to Ambalangoda by train at 16.30. A coordinator will be at the Ambalangoda railway station to pick you up.

Monday to Friday
Ambalangoda
At the turtle conservation centre in Ambalangoda, the following activities may change according to the beach weather conditions and the number of participants but the time spent with these marvellous creatures is the main aim of our participants involvement.

This program requires hard working and willing to support in the cleaning of the turtles, the tanks and the turtle conservation centre. It is vital to have a clean and hygienic centre for these animals. Typical activities during the week will include:

  • Feeding the turtles (every other day)
  • Maintenance of the turtle tanks
  • Cleaning the turtles
  • Cleaning and maintaining the beach
  • Helping with the release of new-born turtles into the ocean.

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Accommodation

Wasgamuwa is a rural area covered with untouched habitats and forests. The closest cities to this small town are Kandy and Mahiyanganaya. Wasgamuwa has become popular among both locals and foreigners mainly due to Wasgamuwa National Park where there is plenty of wildlife. This area is also important for its rich biodiversity.

Accommodation & Food

The participant accommodation is located in the periphery of a small forest and a village. The accommodation is built in dormitory style to maximise interaction among participants. You will also have to share the available bathrooms with other participants. Since this is located in a forest area, wifi is not available. However, provided that you have a local SIM card with an internet connection and a smartphone, you will be able to communicate with your loved ones.

Food Arrangements
You will be provided with three meals a day. The meals are Sri Lankan food, consisting mainly of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables.

Facilities
Since our accommodation is located in the forest area, you will have to travel approx. up to 2 hours to get facilities such as ATM and supermarkets. Therefore, we highly recommend that you bring cash necessary for your spending and other items you may think necessary for your use before you leave from Kandy.

Sights & Surroundings
The suggested sights and surroundings to visit while you are in the project are;

  • Dambana – One of the traditional villages of Sri Lanka in which the indigenous people in Sri Lanka named Veddahs live.
  • Wasgamuwa National Park – This park is rich with biodiversity and a major attraction among the locals and the tourists.
  • Two other popular destinations among the participants of the project are Ratnala waterfall and Knuckles mountain.

 

Ambalangoda is a coastal town located in Galle District, Southern Province of Sri Lanka. This little town by the ocean is a sweaty, workaday town, and not touristy. Ambalangoda is known as a Buddhist city in Sri lanka. Ambalangoda is the place where “Masks” originated in Sri Lanka during the days of the kings and this is still thriving sometimes but a bit modernized. In addition the place is reputed for its golden beaches, puppet shows, devil dancing, moonstone, and antique furniture. Plantations of low country tea, rubber, coconut and cinnamon plantations and factories.

Accommodation & Food

You will be accommodated at our centre which is located a few meters from the ocean.The beach is close to the accommodation where you can hang out with fellow participants. Safety lockers are available to store your belongings. Please bring your own padlock to be used. The rooms are based on single gender with 4-10 people per room. You may also request a private room, this is subject to availability.

Food Arrangements
You will be provided with three meals a day on weekdays and two meals per day on weekends. The meals are mainly Sri Lankan food, consisting mainly of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables. You can eat out at any of the local restaurants.

Facilities
Our house is located a 10 minutes walk away from the city centre, where you can find anything you might need.

The nearest ATM and supermarket are located a 10 minute walk away from our accommodation.

Sights & Surroundings

  • Visit the Sailatalarama Vihara which lies about 7 km inland from Ambalangoda. This temple sits on a domed hill with broad views over spice plantations and lakes towards the ranges of the Province of Sabaragamuwa. The temple has a 35m-long sleeping Buddha statue, built by donations. Pilgrims approach the dagobas and devale (a complex designed for worshipping a Hindu or local Sri Lankan deity) via 208 steps, but there’s also a road to the top.

 

  • Also visit The Ariyapala Mask Museum, with its dioramas and explanations in English, give an excellent insight into Sri Lankan masks and the meanings behind them. It also sells the booklet The Ambalangoda Mask Museum, a useful publication if you want to delve into the mysterious world of dance, legend and exorcism, and the psychology behind the masks.

Trip Country Info

Sri Lanka

Population: approx. 20 million
Capital: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte and Colombo
Language: Sinhalese, Tamil
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Time zone: UTC +5:30

Sri Lanka’s over 2000 years of history and culture can still be seen in every corner of its cities and the details of its ever-beautiful ancient temples. With eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and its short distances between the main sights, Sri Lanka is a country that, despite often being overlooked in itineraries, has left travelers filled with awe.

Visit the sacred home of the world’s oldest living tree in Anuradhapura, wander around the colonial architecture of Colombo, get sun-kissed at the untouched beaches that inclose the territory, snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, head to the hills for a cooler temperature and get surrounded by lush natural, visit two thousand year-old temples or get overawed at the sight of hundreds of elephants in Minneriya.

While traveling through Sri Lanka you will experience adventures from the highest and chilliest mountains like the famous Adam’s Peak – a stairway mountain considered sacred in three different religions, thru the elephant shelters, to the most peaceful beaches up north near Trincomalee and their tiny- one floor- hostels facing the calm sea.

Tru Experience Travel welcome people from all over the world to join ongoing Sri Lankan programs and you can even compose your schedule the way you like it. With this flexibility it enables you to say when you are on site and when you spend time with the new friends you have made from all over the world.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

Additional Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa