About the Elephant Sanctuary in Laos
This sanctuary offers the opportunity for visitors to experience elephants in an ethical way, observing them in their undisturbed natural environment. Elephants at the centre are here to rest, either waiting to give birth or recovering from an exhausting life in logging or being forced to give rides in the mass tourism industries. The elephants inhabit 530 hectares of protected forest providing sufficient quantity and variety of natural fodder and the elephant hospital and nursery is staffed by a professional health care team, comprising of a vet, biologist and mahouts. The facilities are ecologically friendly utilising solar power and water from the lake, which is filtered. The sanctuary produces elephant dung paper and promotional materials are produced using recycled paper and soy inks. To reduce the use of new building materials, the infrastructure uses old traditional Lao houses relocated to the sanctuary.
Elephant Conservation Volunteer Programmes
We currently offer 3 different options for visitors; the main volunteering programme which is available for 7 days, and shorter-term eco-tourism projects which are suitable for families or those with a shorter period of time available.
Main Volunteering Programme:
The 7-day volunteering programme is your gateway to feeling like a part of the Elephant Conservation team! It will give you a more in-depth insight into what it takes to look after elephants. During the week, you will share in the life of our staff and learn more about Lao culture. You may even pick up a bit of Lao language!
The core volunteer programme is generally 7 days/6 nights duration with the opportunity to extend your stay. You will start by following the 3-day visitor programme. Then you will be asked to assist us in the Center’s development by participating in projects on site that are happing at the time. Your activities may include things like:
- Maintenance work (painting, construction, cleaning, gardening)
- Elephant dung paper making (during the rainy season only)
- Development of the socialisation area (cleaning, cut grasses around the electric fence, protect the trees etc)
- Photography and artwork
- Observing and recording of elephant behaviour
- Making enrichment tools and materials for the elephants
This project is generally available for a maximum of 14 days, please email us if you have any questions about dates.
2-day ‘Overnight’ Programme:
Join us for an overnight stay and discover the centre and elephants. Visit an idyllic location in the land of the Asian elephant on the shores of a majestic lake surrounded by untouched tropical forest.
3-day ‘Eco-Visitor’ Programme:
By joining our 3-day programme you will fully experience the peaceful and beautiful world of the Asian elephant. Not only will you enjoy a relaxing stay in the Nam Tien protected area but you will also learn all you want to know about Asia’s most iconic creature!
4-day ‘Immersion’ Programme:
This programme is the same as the 3-day programme, but also includes an extra day of activities outside the centre, in a traditional Lao village, a unique experience closer to the world of the mahouts of the “Land of the Million Elephants” (during the “dry” season). During the “rainy” season, the village visit will be replaced by a trek with mahouts and elephants.