T-minus exactly 33 hours until I depart for my latest adventure – Volunteering at an Elephant Conservation Camp in Sri Lanka! It has always been a dream of mine (and part of my bucket list) to volunteer abroad, so when I saw that Greenheart Travel was offering a new Elephant Conservation program how could I say resist?
*Please bear with me on all of the elephant pictures that are sure to come, this is only the beginning. 🙂
Allow me to address some of the main questions that I have gotten with regards to this trip.
1. Sri Lanka is in Africa – right?
Or “Ah so you are going to Africa?!” or my personal favorite, “What country is Sri Lanka in?”. Sri Lanka (aka the tear drop of India) is its own country and has a population of around 20 million. They are primarily Buddhist and speak Sinhala, Tamil. Once thought to be dangerous to visit, thanks to a 30 year civil war which ended in May 2009, Sri Lanka is now a fast growing tourist attraction. With its gorgeous beaches, ancient temples, and breathtaking views I can understand why. Want to check out more on Sri Lanka and why you should definitely add it to your bucket list? Click here.
2. What are you going to be doing there?
To be completely honest I myself am still a tad unsure of the answer to this. It seems like the program is very go with the flow and depending on the day the volunteers do different activities which include:
- inspecting sand traps to see what animals have crossed them
- elephant transect (which is really just a nice way to say looking at elephant dung to see if they have eaten any of the farmers crops)
- going to tree huts to observe the elephants
- traveling to rural villages to help educate the farmers on elephants to try and ease conflict
3. Where will you be living?
Upon my arrival in Colombo, the capital, I will be staying in a hotel for a few nights; however, the majority of my stay will take place in Wasgamuwa National Park, a vast and diverse wilderness area in North Central Sri Lanka. All of the volunteers stay in a large building that houses up to 18 people. There is no hot water, but apparently we do have some sort of wifi from a solar panel. We share rooms based on sex and the beds even come with their own mosquito nets! #qualityliving
The best part is all of my meals are paid for and cooked by a local cook on the conservation so I will be eating true Sri Lankan cuisine. Not completely sure as to what that exactly entitles yet, but this article here gives a pretty good idea.
For those who want to find out more about this awesome Greenheart Travel Volunteer Program (which you should) click HERE!