In need of a break and an opportunity to stretch our legs we agreed and after passing over 2500 Sri Lankan rupees (about £12) we found ourselves being led down to the area where the elephants roam. I was in two minds about visiting as I had read both good and bad points about the orphanage but here I was at least able to comment now on what I saw.
We arrived just before the elephants were being led down to the Maha River to cool down. We watched their mahoots lead them out of the reserve and across a busy road. Local police helped with traffic control and we watched in awe as these awesome creatures rumbled by just inches from where we were standing.
At the river the mahoots sprayed the elephants and we were able to take some photographs as they squirted each other or rolled in the water. It is certainly something that I won’t forget.
I was only there for a couple of hours but in that time I didn’t see anyone mistreat the animals. There were a couple of younger elephants chained up in the reserve and I guess that might have been for safety reasons. They were being fed jack fruit plants and the elephants that were chained were not taken to the river, I didn’t see any one use sticks.