Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Elephant Conservation Volunteer Project, Sri Lanka

1+ Weeks from

minimum age

  • Live in a rural village near a national park of Sri Lanka
  • Observe wild elephants in their natural habitat
  • Assist with important conservation efforts
  • Meet people from around the World

Food, Lodging & Travel 

The volunteer house and its facilities are very basic but spacious. Volunteers will stay in gender based shared rooms (8-16 people per room) with bunk beds sectioned off for privacy. There are several modern bathrooms that have flush toilets, sinks and cold-water showers. Electric fans, mosquito nets, pillows and clean bedsheets are provided. The design of the house is ideal for the climate and terrain it is situated. It is very open to the outdoors, which helps to keep the house relatively cool during the hot days/nights and dry during the rainy season. Volunteers are expected to help with general base duties, including cleaning and other chores. Laundry is done by hand.

Meals are prepared for volunteers every day at the house in local style. Most meals will be vegetarian, with egg, fish and soy for protein. Vegan food can also be provided. Western foods and snacks are not available locally and can be expensive. Safe drinking water is always available.

Volunteers are based in the village of Pussellayaya (the Matale District) and working in the countryside and communities around the southern part of Wasgamuwa National Park. There is good mobile cellphone coverage, and volunteers are advised to purchase SIM cards from local service providers with data for internet access. Facilities to charge electronic equipment is available throughout the house.

Volunteer Requirements

Linn_volunteer_sri_lankaVolunteers should be aged 18 years+, able to speak English fluently and be moderately fit. Anyone with an interest in nature and loves the outdoors and want to contribute positively to making a difference and enjoys meeting people from different parts of the world is welcome. Volunteers can still join the project if they are 16-17 years old, but they would need their parent/guardian to sign a legal waiver on their behalf. We are also able to accept families with children for this project, please let us know if you are interested in coming to volunteer as a family and if you are interested in the regular programme or the special short term itineraries.

Visa for Sri Lanka

Volunteers should apply for a tourist visa before travelling to Sri Lanka. This allows volunteers to stay in the country for 30 days and can be done easily for most nationalities online here. The visa can be extended once in Sri Lanka for those wanting to volunteer longer, however, this would need to be done at the office in Colombo and at own costs of the volunteer. The passport should be valid for at least 6 months after the planned departure date.

Travel Information

Elephant with baby feedingVolunteers need to travel to the city Colombo, usually you will fly into Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). We would advise that you book and stay in the Heritage Ambepussa Hotel in Colombo for at least one night (cost is £40 / 50 USD a night) before being transferred to the project site on the Monday morning (cost of transfer £100/120 USD).   You will need to take a registered taxi to the hotel (£40/50 USD), and then on the Monday, you will be collected and transferred to the volunteer project.  We can arrange the whole transfer package for you, taxi to hotel, 1 night in hotel and transfer to volunteer project for £180 (220 USD) in total if you wish.

It is recommended to keep plans flexible or allow a day after the programme ends to catch a flight.  Volunteers are not permitted to use public transport to arrive to the project, and you will be collected from Ambepussa Hotel and transferred to the project site.  For your departure, you will be dropped off at Kandy – if you need to to to the airport, the staff can help you to arrange a private transfer at an extra cost.

Health Information 

Sri Lanka was declared a malaria-free zone in 2016, but outbreaks of Dengue fever have occurred. It is therefore recommended to protect yourself from biting  insects. It is best to consult your own GP to find out about recommended vaccinations and treatments.

Elephant Conservation Volunteer Project, Sri Lanka

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