Thoroughly enjoyed my visit, great experience to be up close & touching so many elephants. My wife enjoyed feeding a fully grown elephant with fruit & a baby with a litre of milk (which disappeared in 3 seconds!!)
A herd of elephants go down to the river at 10.00am every morning (& again at 2.00pm I think) to bathe, we went down 10 minutes early & there were already 4 elephants in the water, one of the Mahouts called me into the river, I needed no second invitation, & was able to splash water on the great beast, scratch his back, trunk & ear. It was a great feeling to be able to interact with such a beautiful creature in its own habitat in that way.
Having read quite a few reviews of Pinnawala before my visit I had some concerns but for me the elephants looked in good condition & appeared well cared for, yes some had chains but they did not look in discomfort & were happy to be petted (if that is the right word for patting such a thick hide?) If they were badly treated I dont think they would be prepared to be so docile.
Lastly I could not believe some of the reviewers complaints of cost!! £12.50 to get in, £2 for a huge bowl of fruit, £1.75 for the milk & yes the Mahouts all want a tip, 50p here & 50p there and £2 for the Mahout in the river. A fantastic experience for less than £20, shame on those who complain, have you been to the various parks in the USA? They are the rip off not Pinnawala.