• Sri Lanka
    • Colombo

Program Details

Age Min.
Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round


Price Details
Program cost includes:
- Full accommodation in gender-based shared room
- 3 prepared meals a day for duration of the program
- Daily onsite transportation
- Arrival hotel and airport transfer for first night’s stay in Colombo (Airport of arrival is Colombo)
- Arrival transport from Colombo to project site
- Departure transport to Colombo at the end of program
- On-site orientation on the first day
- 24/7 on-site staff support and training
- Program assistance from a personal Volunteer Program manager
- Culture & Etiquette guide book
- Greenheart Travel t-shirt
- Medical/Accident insurance
- Pre-Departure Orientation
What's Included
Accommodation Meals Transportation
Feb 06, 2019
Aug 13, 2018
17 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Elephants, while majestic and beautiful, are seen by many Sri Lankans as a nuisance because of their destructive effects on farm land, and causes some farmers to hurt or kill elephants in order to protect their livelihood. As a volunteer, you will work to save elephants and villagers’ livelihoods by helping to resolve human-elephant conflicts in Wasgamuwa National Park.

As a volunteer you will have the chance to:
- Research, observe and assess human-elephant interactions and conflicts
- Help with animal tracking and identification in the area
- Work with local communities to teach environmental awareness & sustainability
- Help to monitor and evaluate innovative landscape management systems designed to buffer communities economically from elephant raids

Program fees: (request additional pricing for longer program lengths on our website)
1 week: $1,390
2 weeks: $1,460
3 weeks: $1,800
4 weeks: $1,910
Teen program: $2,220 for two-week program

This program is currently not being promoted on Go Overseas by its provider. Check with Greenheart for the most up-to-date information regarding the status of this program.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Full accommodation in gender-based shared room and 3 prepared meals a day
  • Arrival hotel and airport transfer for first night’s stay in Colombo (Airport of arrival is Colombo)
  • 24/7 on-site staff support and training & medical/accident insurance
  • Pre-departure and arrival orientation
  • Personal Greenheart Travel program manager to assist you before, during and after your volunteer program

Program Reviews

9.6 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 80%
  • 7-8 rating 20%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing and Impactful Volunteering in Sri Lanka

Volunteering with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society has been one of the best experiences that I've ever had. I’ve loved seeing elephants, volunteering with the program, and meeting such amazing people. It was my first time traveling alone which is why I found the experience to be a challenge, but all the staff and volunteers at the fieldhouse really made you feel at home. I loved getting to do hands on fieldwork and getting to work outside so much. Each morning we would split into groups to go complete different projects which I liked because we got to do a variety of different things and see how all the different projects were run. In the afternoons we would get to go and observe elephants, we wouldn't see them every day, but when you did it was really special. Even the days that we didn't see any we wouldn't get bored because there was so much to learn about everyone you were with.

I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I had never traveled alone before and at first I didn't really trust myself but after arriving home I realized that I was capable of way more than I first gave myself credit for. I realized that I really enjoy hands on learning and I love being outside even more than I thought. This trip taught me a lot about Sri Lankan culture, the elephant conflict, different people around the world, and myself. It was an eyeopening experience and I would highly recommend it!

What would you improve about this program?
The program could be improved by providing volunteers with more information on places to go on the weekend ahead of time. You get weekends to explore around Sri Lanka and it can be a little confusing and overwhelming to figure out where you want to go while you're there so if there were some recommendations online from alumni about where the best spots to visit for weekends it would be helpful!
21 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Work With Dedicated People and Smile

The part of volunteering with the Si Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society that stands out to me most today is the friendliness and dedication of the workers. Everyone who works there is a big happy family and they dedicate every bit of their lives to helping solve the elephant human conflict. As a volunteer I never felt like I wasn't a valuable member of the team. The experience itself is incredible. It's impossible to describe the feeling of being secluded in the jungle and seeing the elephants first hand in their natural setting without human interference. I came to Sri Lanka to help the elephants and I left having learned so much about the culture in Sri Lanka, the elephants themselves, and many other valuable things. I wish I could go back straight away!

What would you improve about this program?
A technology update could help the program a bit. Being able to bring better technology in the field could help improve research efficiency and research techniques. But that is all a matter of funding.
18 people found this review helpful.
Jessie Beck
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic organization working with wild elephants in Sri Lanka

Last October, I spent two weeks volunteering with Greenheart Travel in Sri Lanka with my partner. We had a fantastic experience overall.

The placement is remote, in the middle of the jungle, but there’s electricity and running water at (almost) all times and if you pick up a SIM card in the airport on your way in, you’re able to get 3G and phone reception on your phone.

Staff on the ground were super friendly and welcoming, though I will admit that we weren’t given the most thorough introduction to the field house when we first arrived — a film crew from the U.S. was arriving the same time as us, and I think it ended up being a little chaotic.

I also want to make it clear that to get to the site, you have to take a 2-3 hour train ride and then a 4 hour *bus* ride. Totally fine, but if you’re like me, you don’t really want to go chugging a bottle of water before a trip like that.

Apart from logistics, the area surrounding the field house and most of the areas where we conducted research were stunning. We were only able to see elephants on one day when we went into the national park, but hey, it’s wildlife, they do what they want, right?

Also, the food was delicious, but I’d suggest volunteers bring a few snacks of their own… especially if you want more fresh produce with your meals.

Impact: I was only there for two weeks and, although I learned a lot about the human elephant conflict and can now educate others on it, I didn’t really do much to directly contribute to the project. Still, the organization itself is doing great work to support the community and elephant conservation, so regardless, I feel very good about supporting this organization.

Support: Greenheart’s staff was incredibly supportive from the start. They checked in with us several times before and during our trip to make sure everything was going well. Staff at the local Sri Lankan organization was a little hands off (which, as an experienced traveler, I liked), but available to answer any of our questions, help us figure out bus times, etc.

Value: A little expensive considering that travel in Sri Lanka is very, very, very cheap.

Fun: Okay — I gave this one a 7 because yes, I had fun (I brought a fantastic book, was there with someone I love hanging out with, and enjoyed the company of the other volunteers), but if I’m supposedly “rating the social scene”, well, er, lets be honest: there’s not much of a social scene in the middle of a jungle.

Safety: Overall very good. I do think it would have been worthwhile to go over some safety protocol for being around wild elephants though.

Overall: There are definitely a few small things that could be improved with this program, but fortunately Greenheart and the local staff both were incredibly receptive to our feedback, and I have full confidence that they’ll take it to heart. Nonetheless, it was an incredible and completely unique travel experience — even for someone who has been to over 30 countries!

Bonus: The house had 6-week old kittens while we were there. So cute.

What would you improve about this program?
- Quick run down of where things in the field house are on arrival
- A better explanation of our tasks as volunteers in orientation
- Fix the mosquito nets (someone bring 'em some ducktape!!)
22 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful first experience volunteering abroad!

Volunteering at SLWCS in Sri Lanka was in every way an amazing experience. The program is located in a small village of around 300 in a rural area about 5 hours from Kandy. The location is beautiful. You really have the opportunity to be immersed in the culture. The volunteer house is a very simple style of living, which is actually a beautiful thing to experience if you give it a chance. There is a cook who makes delicious local style meals each day.

The staff on the project was incredible. Not only did they teach me a lot about human - elephant conflict, they taught me a lot about the local life. They were friendly, caring and they had a great sense of humor.

The project itself is very data related for research purposes. There are usually two activities a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I think one of the most beautiful things is the fact that you never know what you may see day to day, as some days you may see a huge herd of elephants while another you may not see any.

I feel like I was able to see a lot of the country by traveling on the weekends. The project was flexible and I was able to see a lot of the island. I got a good balance of volunteering and personal travel.

I feel like everyone who comes on this program can have a completely different experience from the next, which is awesome. You can make this program what you like it to be. You can come as a couple, you can come alone, you can come with friends. You can see whatever you would like to see on the weekends. All while helping some wonderful people make a difference.

There's not a single bad thing I have to say about my time in Sri Lanka. It was a total life changing experience and a lot of what I learned I will always carry with me. All I can say is how grateful I am that I could have this experience.

If you are at all interested in this program, go. You will have a great time and you will be so glad that you went!

What would you improve about this program?
I think more hands on activities would be good. I was under the impression we worked in schools, and there wasn't any of that. I think that the data collection is very necessary, but I think combining it with other types of projects that could help the elephants would help to make it feel like you did something lasting with your time.
17 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The Trip of a Lifetime

My time in Sri Lanka didn't exactly meet my expectations; it surpassed them. This trip, including my experiences with Greenheart Travel and the Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society (who you will be working with in Sri Lanka), have been nothing but genuine and true.

As I have traveled and stayed in Southeast Asia before, I must say that this experience is not suited for first timers. If I hadn't experienced culture shock before, I would have guessed that my trip would've been a lot different.

This is what you can expect from this trip. Bottom line:
-Expect to be dirty for the entirety of your trip. Showering (only cold water) will provide some cleanliness, but for the most part you'll always be dirty and sweaty.
-Expect to experience what it is truly like to live like a local. In a third world country. This means little to no wifi, electricity, or hot water. No electronics to keep you entertained, no air conditioning, and yes, bugs. You will eat like a local (vegan diet), see everyday life and routines, traditions, customs, and values.
-Expect to be close to nature/in nature for the entirety of your trip. Where you'll be staying is about 5 hours to the closest city, and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, rice fields, mountains, and stunning sunsets. About as rural as it gets. To some this may be an entire new concept, but let me say with the most sincerity that it is of the upmost rewarding.
-Expect to see TONS of wildlife. From birds, reptiles, elephants, water buffalo, squirrels, deer, and more. Everywhere. You will properly observe them, become familiar with them, and respect them in all that they do.
-Expect to receive hands-on experience studying and doing research for the Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society on a daily basis. Everyday, you will be out in the field studying elephant migrations, dung content, and conflict resolutions. This hands-on experience will teach you more about Sri Lanka and it's wildlife than you could ever learn in a classroom, book, or video.
-Expect to gain an entire new perspective about the world around you, what really matters, culture, simplicity, and most of all, yourself. Living the way that locals do, hearing their stories, and witnessing everyday life in this country will give you a newfound perspective on things you may never imagined thus far.

Now returned from Sri Lanka, I have changed. For the better? Maybe. I haven't quit put a pin on it yet...But definitely not for the worse. I am noticing aspects of myself that are still being digested. But my friends at Greenheart Travel are doing a great job with staying connected and making sure that I am doing great. And I must say that I am :)

I am extremely grateful for this experience, and would recommend it to anyone ready to open their eyes to the world.

19 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

Hi, thanks for stopping by! Unfortunately you must be 18+ to be eligible for this specific program.