Elephant Conservation Program in Tropical Sri Lanka

Kandy, Sri Lanka Wildlife & Environmental Conservation



This project offers volunteers a rare opportunity to work alongside local conservationists, educators, community partners and local villagers deep in the heart of the Sri Lankan wilderness. This is a true conservation project where wild elephants are not touched or interfered with at all as they are in their natural habitat. It is a genuine research-based project involving elephant and predator tracking, monitoring, observations, and education to the local communities, including running campaigns and awareness programs. Wild elephants (and other wildlife) are under threat in this part of the country particularly because of heightened levels of human-elephant conflict created in recent times due to a range of issues. They catch diseases when coming into contact with domestic cattle, which are released to the park's grasslands by neighboring villagers and farmers. Wild animals, particularly elephants, have to compete with these cattle since they have occupied their grazing lands and water pools. Illegal logging is a major threat and preventing it has been a difficult issue. Elephants damage the properties of the villagers and fatal attacks on them have been reported from the park. Additionally, environmentalists have raised concern over the resettlement of displaced people from the construction of the nearby Moragahakanda reservoir. This has further resulted in escalating human-elephant-human conflict in the region.


Volunteers will be making a huge contribution to research and conservation of Asian Elephants. Unlike a elephant sanctuary or home this is real conservation where you do NOT touch animals. This award winning conservation project is voted as one of the top 10 conservation projects in the world and you will not be disappointed!

Field conditions

Participants work for 4-6 hours each day Mon-Fri in 2 shifts of 2-3 hours each, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. Typical activities staff and volunteers perform on a daily basis include:

-Gather information on elephants and other wildlife and tropical ecosystems, often watching them from strategically placed treehouses

-Collect essential environmental and socio-economic data and maintain log books to help develop community-based conservation programs

-Participate in discussions with local villagers to help identify practical solutions to human-elephant conflicts

-Observe, assess and document human-elephant conflicts

-Teach environmental education to local school children from time to time

-Build and mend fencing to protect agricultural crops and homes from damage by wild elephants

Arrival and orientation

Start date is Sunday. Participants are picked up from Colombo airport on Sunday and stay overnight in central Colombo to refresh, eat food and rest for a night. The next morning our staff picks you up at 6 AM and transports you to the train station, where you will take the train from Colombo to Kandy followed by a bus from Kandy to Wasgamuwa (the whole journey takes 5-6 hours). On arrival, the local project team greets you and takes you to the field house (where the volunteers live). Training and orientation is conducted that evening and project activities begin the next morning.

Your stay


  • HousingVolunteer house

  • Provided mealsBreakfast, dinner

Accommodation description

Volunteers stay in a field house, which is located on a scenic hill overlooking a lake and mountain range. The house is just 15 minutes from the Wasgamuwa National Park. The accommodation is basic with dorm-style beds (with mosquito netting) and shared bathrooms.


The accommodation is located directly in Wasgamuwa National Park


from $600 USDper week

from $600 USDper week


What’s included

  • All meals

  • Transportation to and from project site

  • Training and support

  • Airport dropoff

  • Airport pickup

  • Housing

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance

  • Air tickets

Start dates

Volunteering Journeys is a social enterprise that provides the global youth of today with responsible and experiential travel opportunities through sustainable and impactful volunteer programs in the areas of education, healthcare and marine & animal conservation. Our two marquee locations are Galle, Sri Lanka and Kerala, India - both tropical destinations known for their raw beauty, deep culture/history and hospitable people. What separates us from others is our global mindset, local knowhow and ability to deliver wonderful experiences to our young travellers. We are ground operators and offer truly authentic projects be it hospital placements for medical/nursing students, working with special needs communities, women's empowerment, teaching english to children or Buddhist monks, or working on serious elephant, dog care or sea-turtle conservation projects. We also offer unique adventure & sightseeing tours in these locations, which can be done on a standalone basis or combined with any of our volunteering programs. All our programs are created and managed with the goal of enhancing young travellers' learning and having fun, whilst providing sustainable development and aid to the communities we serve.


  • Noor

    December 31, 2017

  • I'm a medical student from Germany and I spent four weeks in Kerala. The staff were very helpful and warm. On the first day we got a tour of the surrounding area and the staff helped us plan for the weekends as well. I spent the majority of my ...Read more

  • rushen

    November 17, 2017

  • Had a great time in Nepal. I really enjoyed my placement at the hospital and felt like I really experienced culture in Nepal

  • Naina

    November 16, 2017

  • VJs was very supportive and organised. If we needed help with anything, hospital related or otherwise, they would always have a friendly face and research it for us and give us the information as soon as they could. The orientation was very helpful and informative for cultural immersion. Hospital took ...Read more

  • Angela Au

    November 15, 2017

  • I'm a medical student from Australia doing a medical elective with Volunteering Journeys in Kathmandu. The level of support from Volunteering Journeys is great. Although I was mainly at the hospital, I also had the chance to do community work at a school. They give you a free tour ...Read more

  • Sakshi Ahuja

    November 15, 2017

  • Volunteering Journeys has excellent, helpful staff. Their organization skills are great. I would work with them again in the future.

  • Naomi

    November 15, 2017

  • Volunteering Journeys was very organised and super accomodating during my time in Nepal. I was here on a medical placement, and the team also helped facilitate leisure trips on the side. They all work hard to make things work for you! They're also happy to answer whatever questions you ...Read more

  • Alexander Richardson

    November 15, 2017

  • The connections, activities, homestay accomodation and friendliness was absolutely fantastic.

  • Madeline Temple

    November 15, 2017

  • Excellent homestay experience, wonderful integration with Nepalese culture. More focus could be applied to organisation, informing students prior to arrival and during placement. Less emphasis on encouraging travel, more on an excellent placement experience.

  • Pratik Raichurkar

    November 15, 2017

  • Pretty good program, not a lot of flexibility, but staff care about placements and actaivitives, helped to organise a lot of transport and things last minute which was great :)

  • Paloma

    November 14, 2017

  • The Volunteering Journeys team is very helpful and supportive! They were always available to answer any questions we had, and helped us plan some incredible weekend trips! My trip to Nepal wouldn’t have been the same without them. The family we stayed with was also so welcoming and always ...Read more

  • Jessie Gibson

    November 14, 2017

  • Overall I had a positive experience with Volunteering Journeys. They were very welcoming, gave a fantastic orientation and were generally very supportive, also helping organise trips outside Kathmandu. My experience as a medial student as a hospital was mixed. I enjoyed seeing how the Nepalese health system worked but I ...Read more

  • Giles

    November 14, 2017

  • Really enjoyed my stay, homestay was really good. The family was lovely and the food was delicious. The hospital was interesting, students are not allowed to touch patients, however the doctors were all happy to teach.

  • Amy Yip

    November 14, 2017

  • Overall I quite enjoyed my experience with Volunteering Journeys. I felt well taken care of, staff were very supportive and flexible too. I loved the fact that we got to do a mix of private hospital medical placement, community work at schools as well as cultural immersion activities all around ...Read more

  • Jane

    November 14, 2017

  • Staff were all friendly, and helpful in organising not only our placement but also our weekend activities. Had a great month immersing in Nepalese culture!

  • Kalyan Raguram

    November 14, 2017

  • Volunteering journeys is an amazing organisation that takes very good care of its volunteers and participants. We were located in an amazing homestay with a loving family that always ensured we were safe and well looked after at all times. It was always easy to ask questions if required and ...Read more

  • Geoffrey

    November 14, 2017

  • Good placement. It was well organised in terms of having time scheduled for both hospital as well as other activities such as weekend getaways.

  • Amy Crawford

    November 14, 2017

  • Loved the homestay! Needed to know about no CPR or helping people because of the law (Australia has Good Samaritan Act and this was a huge surprise and potentially very serious)

  • Yedda

    November 14, 2017

  • Volunteering Journeys is a fabulous company to spend your time abroad with. I participated in the medical internship program. It was an enormous eye opener into life in Nepal and their health care system. I'd highly recommend choosing VJs as your company to experience Nepal, everything was all organised ...Read more

  • Maya Pfister

    November 11, 2017

  • Ich verbrachte 4 Wochen in Kathmandu, Nepal.Die erste Woche bereiste ich das Land. Die Organisation Volonteering Journeys organisierte in kurzer Zeit alles fuer mich.Ich verbrachte eine wunderbare Zeit und sah viel , angefangn beim Nationalpark Chitavan bis zumHimalaya... Danach arbeitete ich fuer das KAT Center, welches Strassenhunde aufnimmt, pflegt ...Read more

  • Richard Pfister

    October 03, 2017

  • It was my first volunteering experience - and it wont be my last! I took part at the construction site program in Nepal/Devighat where we built a school. Everything, from the beginning till the was so well planned by Volunteering Journeys. I made so many new experiences, met a lot ...Read more


    September 23, 2017

  • Saturday morning 2nd September 2017, I arrived in Kochi to start my volunteering journey.I was met at the door with lots of smiles led by Volunteering Journey’s team leader Geetha Raj and lovely staff team. I was made very welcome by all.My first week found me involved ...Read more

  • Kathrin

    August 29, 2017

  • It was such a great time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I was volunteering at Iwamura Hospital for 3 weeks in Bhaktapur (Nepal),I'll never forget this time at my Nepali host family, at the hospital and all the helpful, friendly, kind people here in Bhaktapur. Thanks SO MUCH to volunteering journeys team in ...Read more

  • Alison Ford

    August 12, 2017

  • I taught English in small private middle school in Kathmandu. The school was very welcoming and I was impressed by the standard of English of many of the students, even those who were only about 10 years old. They were all enthusiastic to learn and their focus in lessons was ...Read more

  • Petra Umann

    August 11, 2017

  • I volunteered at the Dr. Iwamura hospital for two weeks and learned a lot about the medical system in Nepal, while shadowing doctors as well as observing several surgeries. All of the doctors, nurses and medical staff were very forthcoming with information and explanations about different kinds of medical procedures ...Read more

  • Sawoul Moon

    August 10, 2017

  • I had such a great time here in Nepal with a loving host family. It was definitely an eye opening experience to see different lives and culture. I worked for a dog shelter, which was different from the description of construction program. Yet, the Volunteering Journeys was supportive throughout every ...Read more

  • Juliette Magny

    August 03, 2017

  • I had a great time here in Kathmandu, I enjoyed staying with the host family who were very nice and welcoming ! Working on the construction project at KAT Centre was very interesting and worth the hard work.Thank you so much for this experience !

  • Katha Patel

    July 21, 2017

  • I volunteered at a dental hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal through Volunteering Journeys for two weeks! It was an incredible experience where I learned so much about dentistry as well as the culture. Working at the hospital was so exciting, everyone was really friendly and they were willing to teach me ...Read more

  • Eleanor Adams

    July 20, 2017

  • I went to Kerala for 1 week for the Women's Empowerment program but ended up teaching English in 2 schools. As I am 18 I am probably better suited to teaching children. It was very good to see the children improve each day. Private en-suit rooms with wi-fi and ...Read more

  • Emily Bonnet

    July 20, 2017

  • I went for two weeks for the teaching program in Kerala, India, and the housing is quite decent with good wifi and private rooms. The women that cook and house us are absolutely lovely. I totally recommend the teaching program, but apparently the medical is not good as you cannot ...Read more

  • Robyn Smith

    July 16, 2017

  • The staff at volunteering journeys were very helpful and supportive. The Staff at the school and the pupils were very welcoming and a joy to teach and work beside. I thoroughly enjoyed staying at the homestay as it gave a real taste of Nepalese culture and the host family were ...Read more

  • Edward Wright

    July 14, 2017

  • Very good trip with excellent support for the team here. Met many interesting people both locally and in the group. On the project, we spent most of are time at the school entertaining the children wist working. For are school the building was almost complete so there was less laber ...Read more

  • Olivia Casareno

    July 14, 2017

  • Volunteering journeys has allowed me to meet wonderful people and experience a new culture with ease. The homestay arranged for me was beautiful and I am so grateful to have stayed with such a wonderful family in Mulpani. The placement I worked at allowed me to interact with wonderful children ...Read more

  • Lucy Judge

    July 13, 2017

  • This trip was a real eye-opener for me. If you are thinking of volunteering in India, this trip will be perfect for you. I volunteered in the schools teaching English and helping the children with their learning. The children are all lovely and most are very eager to learn. You ...Read more

  • Dalia

    July 06, 2017

  • Initial stays were below average, but overall good and humbling experience

  • William (Will) Le Heuze

    July 06, 2017

  • I decided to do some volunteering overseas. I had had quite a few assemblies at school with different volunteer companies but volunteering journeys stood out the most for what I want to do. So I booked everything and was put in touch with Geetha, we exchanged a few emails, about ...Read more

  • paul briscoe

    July 06, 2017

  • One of our best experiences as a family. The Team on the ground in Katmandu are fantastic and we felt well supported at all times.The homestay is friendly and provides a real immersion into the local culture. Our rooms were clean and the food was local. Our host was ...Read more

  • Ayah

    July 06, 2017

  • Loved the trip, amazing experience

  • Dr Mohammed Alsalehi

    July 06, 2017

  • it was a good trip with its ups and downs but the dental program requires more development in treating the poor and needy especially in villages that lack dental care and services

  • Tala Hassan

    July 05, 2017

  • Wonderful journey, full of experience!

  • Chaam

    July 05, 2017

  • It was an experience of a lifetime.. regardless of the new cases that we observed, we got to learn about a new society and we made new friends.

  • Karam Abdulhai

    July 05, 2017

  • It was an amazing experience! I got to do more good than i ever have before, see and learn things i never thought of thanks to the amazing volunteering journeys team. I definitely want to be part of every upcoming trip!

  • Yara barazi

    July 05, 2017

  • Was a wonderful experience , some ups and downs but that is normal. The crew were fantastic!! Very friendly and loved to help out. Would recommend it to all my friends. Great experience I will never forget

  • Amna

    July 05, 2017

  • The experience was really amazing and I'm really glad I got this opportunity.Volunteering journeys team were so helpful and helped us solve our problems regarding the hotels.The hotels need some upgrading in my opinion even if it ment extea charges. Other than that everything was perfect.

  • Abdulla Alatieh

    July 05, 2017

  • It wasn't an amazing experience, learned a lot, exchanged many different ideas and philosophies and would really want to go again!

  • Talal Sultan

    July 05, 2017

  • I loved couldn't with them. Staff is Amazing in Nepal. Very helpful and with you 24/7I got new friends and it was a life time experience

  • Adrian Marsh

    June 16, 2017

  • I had a good experience with Volunteering Journeys. The coordination and support was good and everything ran smoothly. My hosts at the homestay were very friendly, and the school principal and his staff were very accommodating. I would say that ideally, volunteers should come for a longer period, but it ...Read more

  • Hindou MADI-SOUF

    June 06, 2017

  • The Journey in Nepal was for me The best. Indeed, the organization of the trip was really good done and the people, Nepalis on the office in Kathmandu and the different homestays were very nice.Going abroad alone can be a very difficult time to live for some people. But ...Read more

  • Chris Anders

    May 19, 2017

  • This was an amazing experience. The living in such a remote village was tough but then it is what I asked for. The suppport from Volunteering Journeys was spot on and I was confident it was there whenever I needed it. All logistics were handled professionally and the in country ...Read more

  • Nick Meagher

    May 18, 2017

  • My time in Fort Kochi has been really enjoyable and i'd recommend it for anyone who was interested. I have been doing the sports, construction and women's empowerment programs. Waking up at 5:30 and starting the football coaching has been the highlight of my stay and is ...Read more

  • Faye Courtney

    May 18, 2017

  • My experience on volunteering journeys has mostly been great. It's really fun teaching the women English. All the staff are friendly and helpful.Before i traveled to India i was quite concerned about my safety, however, i've been all around India (Delhi, Agra, Udaipur, Jaipur, Goa and Kerala ...Read more

  • Manon Valette

    May 18, 2017

  • I still have one week to spend here, but I already spent two weeks and I had a great time. The people who take care of us and of the projects are really nice. The homestay is great. I am just a little upset that I did not teach children ...Read more

  • Kirsty Aubrey-Smith

    May 13, 2017

  • My husband and I spent our honeymoon volunteering in Kerala with Volunteering Journeys and it was exceptional. We were so well looked after, everything was organised well for our arrival and we were even met with a traditional marriage blessing, it was wonderful. The two weeks flew by but we ...Read more

  • Paola Cicogni

    April 29, 2017

  • I attended Yoga & Teaching program in Cochin, Kerala (India). Support provided by local team is great: they are always available to give pieces of advice or organise my free time with excursions.Activities at schools have been extremely enriching: children were eager to learn, play and communicate with us. Language ...Read more

  • Joanne Yeo

    April 28, 2017

  • I have my time teaching girls 15-20yrs old very much. They attended school each day full of comitment and enthusiasm. It was a joy to both encourage and observe them discovering new concepts. I advise all volunteers to go with no expectations as the programme can change to suit the ...Read more

  • Liran Adani

    April 22, 2017

  • I did the Yoga & Teaching program in Kochi, Kerala for 4 weeks and I loved it! Yoga was amazing, right next to the volunteers house and excellent teacher. The volunteers house was great, Gina is the best cook, I had my own room, lots of resources and materials for the ...Read more

  • Aimee Chirio

    April 17, 2017

  • When my partner and I first arrived at Kerala we had no idea what to expect out of the next two weeks. Having no experience in teaching made us both extremely anxious. We started off by being introduced to our beautiful home stay family and all the staff on board ...Read more

  • Elena Cortes

    April 17, 2017

  • One of the greatest experiences in my life! Volunteering Journeys is the best organization I could have ever chosen for my first time volunteering and my first time in India! I joined the Yoga & Volunteering programme for three weeks, having yoga every morning with the passionate yogi master Sajee, and ...Read more

  • Nihad

    April 16, 2017

  • Volunteering Journeys /Nepal. Teaching at a local School.An amazingly experience, will definitely do it again.

  • Jolivet Clarisse

    April 16, 2017

  • Nepal is such an interesting country with open minded people.During my medical internship at the children hospital I learned many interesting things. The hospital doctors nurses and the entire teams are very welcoming.The Volunteering Journey staff are excellent, understanding and helped us with our questions. It was a ...Read more

  • Kara Ayse

    April 16, 2017

  • It is a lifetime experience. The Nepalese culture, people, food is so great. The hospital internship is very different than France but lots of learning. Volunteering Journey helped us in every way and we can't be any less thankful to them. This is the journey I will remember for ...Read more

  • Riou Corline

    April 16, 2017

  • It is one of the very very good internship for me.I met lot of nice people.Volunteering Journeys staff listen to our questions and they helped us in every step.Living was wonderful, the staffs are great and so does the food.

  • Marine SUC

    April 16, 2017

  • The internship in the hospital was very nice and very interesting The staff of volunteering journey helped us to learn English and overall I had amazing experience here in Nepal.It was really amazing to experience the Nepalese culture, food, learning Nepalese words.

  • Marion

    April 16, 2017

  • it is a good experience in Nepal, the people is very open minded, and this association (Volunteering Journeys) is present for us, we effectue an intership in Children Hospital, good week-end in Chitwan, Pokhara, and Yoga Thank you for all

  • Vetle C. Birkeland

    April 06, 2017

  • We had a very interesting and good stay.VolNepal, our host organization provided great support for all our projects, and planned our spare time in a great way. In our time, much due to their effort, we were able to carry out our plans for the school in a swift ...Read more

  • Serena Valentine

    April 04, 2017

  • Smiles, support and professionalism all the way throughout my stay in Kerala. Excellent food, clean and friendly house and thank you to all of the girls who were nothing but helpful and courteous at all times. The projects were worth while and I learned a lot, what an experience. I ...Read more

  • Courtney Compton

    March 31, 2017

  • This is my first experience volunteering abroad, and I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys!I spent two weeks in Fort Kochi, Kerala, India working on the Women's Empowerment project, teaching English to local women. They were very welcoming, friendly, and eager to learn! Although I was only able to visit ...Read more

  • Stephan Angalde

    March 23, 2017

  • After arriving at Kathmandu Airport, I had no idea what to expect, however it is an understatement to say that my experience was unforgettable.The accommodations were wonderful and I was immediately given a Nepali dinner of rice, vegetable curry, dal and chicken. The meal was splendid, and I continued ...Read more

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