Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
The Sri Lanka Wildlife Service set up this much-loved institution halfway between Colombo and Kandy in 1975. It has at least 60 elephants at any one time, several of them mischievous babies, who are fed twice a day and then walked in line down to the Maha Oya river for a two-hour bathe, with much galumphing and spraying of water (to avoid getting soaked, you can watch from the restaurant above). Pinnawala claims to be the biggest captive herd of elephants in the world and has a successful breeding programme, with over 20 live births to its credit. There are around 20 mahouts and the elephants are left to wander freely across the 10-hectare reserve during the day.