Culture

 

Learning

 

Leisure

 

Community engagement

 

Physical demand

 

  • All meals included Yes
  • Free beverages Yes
  • Persons per room 4-10
  • Wifi in public areas No
  • Laundry facilities No
  • Safety box Yes
  • Lockable rooms Yes
  • Hot shower No
  • Private bathroom No
  • Bed linen Yes
  • Towels No
  • Air conditioning No
  • Fan Yes
  • Mosquito protection No

Program & Schedule

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 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 behavior 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 visiting forest hermitages
  • Bird watching and generally observing and enjoying nature around the camp site. 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

That is what will occupy your 3 weeks working with these wonderful creature

The 4th week of the project will be spent at our Turtle Conservation project at 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.

Schedule

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 traveling 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 be 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 per day. 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 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 2: Wild Elephant Sanctuary

Sunday

Wasgamuwa

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

Wasgamuwa

Free time for you to explore.

Week 3: Wild Elephant Sanctuary

Sunday

Wasgamuwa

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 there.

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 center in Ambalangoda, the following activities may change according to the beach weather conditions and the number of participants but the time spent with this marvelous 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.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:                18

Maximum age:                -

Minimum English level:        Basic

CRB required:                On Signup

Passport copy required:        On Signup

Resume copy required:        No

Required qualification:        None

Additional Requirements

  • Participants above the age of 65 should have medical clearance.

Living & Location

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 touristic. 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 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.

You will be accommodated in our center which is located a few meters from the ocean.

The beach is located closer to the accommodation where you can hang out with fellow participants.

Furthermore, there is a refrigerator which you are welcome to use to store food and beverages. Safety lockers are available to store your belongings. Please bring your own padlock to be used.

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 10 minutes walk away from the city center, where you can find anything you might need.

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

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the program.

Sights & Surroundings

Visit Sailatalarama Vihara which lies lies 7km 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, gives 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.

Transportation

From this location we do not provide free transport to other locations.

Quick Facts

Name:                Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Population:        20 million

Capital:        Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte and Colombo

Language:        Sinhalese, Tamil

Currency:        Sri Lankan Rupee

Time zone:        UTC +5:30

Country Information

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.

Climate

Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations to visit year-round as the rainy seasons hit the island in opposite locations at different times of the year. That being said, Sri Lanka is a country that can be visited if you know where to go in search for the best weather.

Southwest

The south-western monsoon hits between May and September and the dry season occurs from December to March.

North and coastal regions

The monsoon season happens between October and January while the dry seasons takes places between May and September.

Culture

Sri Lanka is known for its distinct cuisine, its indigenous holistic medicines, its cricket practices and export of tea, cinnamon and gemstones. Moreover, the country boasts a rich artistic tradition which includes music, dance and visual arts.

Sri Lanka has been shaped by many aspects. The first and most obvious being the heritage of Theravada Buddhism passed from India. Furthermore, the colonial period left a big mark in the country’s traditions and culture, with British elements being featured in every corner as well as Dutch and Portuguese.

Sri Lanka, better known as the “nation of smiling people”, is a paradisiac island that Napoleon described as a world-like biodiversity in a tiny piece of land on the Indian ocean. Multicultural, multi-religious and multi-coloured country, formerly named Ceylon, is known for its delicious black tea, it’s heart-warming inhabitants and its history-filled corners.

Gastronomy

Sri Lankan cuisine has been heavily influenced by many factors such as the British colonization, its closeness to southern India and more. Some stables of Sri Lankan food are rice, coconut and spices - many spices.

Kottu Roti, a blend of chopped roti, vegetables and meat is a unique dish served in Sri Lanka and one that everyone must try while here! Another staple dish are hoppers (appa), based on batter, coconut milk and spices.

Sri Lankans eat with their right hands, which can be hard to adjust to at first. However, many restaurants will provide cuttery if requested.

Key Dates

January: Duruthu

Celebrates the Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka. During Duruthu, thousands of people attend colorful parades, which consist of three processions on the nights before the full moon. The processions consist of fireball performers, drummers, dances, decorated elephants and the most important - a gigantic tusker treading a white carpet.

April 13th or 14th: Avurudda (New Year)

Avurudda celebrates the Sinhalese New Year in Sri Lanka. According to Sinhalese astrology, the new year begins when the sun changes from Meena Rashi (Pisces) to Mesha Rashi (Aries).

June: Poson Festival

Poson Festival takes place on the full moon day of June and celebrates the arrival of Buddhism, which occurred when Arahat Mahinda, the son of the emperor of India, converted King Devanampiyatissa to Buddhism.

October or November: Diwali (Festival of Lights)

Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival that signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair, and good over evil. It is celebrated with millions of lights shining over houses, temples, and buildings. Diwali is celebrated between mid-October and mid-November, on the darkest, new moon night of Karitika.

In Sri Lanka, it is tradition to take an oil bath in the morning, wear new clothes, exchange presents and visit the Koil a Hindu Temple. In the evenings, oil lamps are lit to invite the blessings from the goddess of wealth.