Elephant Conservation Centre, Laos
Although elephants are revered in Laos, they have not been treated well in South-East Asia. Millions were captured and put into service by the timber industry, which itself decimated their natural habitat. Sayaboury’s rustic, beautiful Elephant Conservation Centre is one of several highly respected projects that attempt to put things right, and we rarely experience anything so rewarding as a stay here, caring for the elephants and accompanying scientists through the local habitat.
What to expect at the Elephant Conservation Centre...
The Centre’s exceptional conservation programme takes priority here - it is all about the elephants and their wellbeing, as well as preserving their habitat. The Centre operates as an elephant hospital, treating and rehabilitating animals that have been injured in logging accidents, or succumbed to diseases.
On site, the Centre offers free veterinary treatment, educates public and professionals, and runs mahout training, elephant breeding and forest replanting programmes. Through ElefantAsia, it also runs Laos’ entire elephant conservation programme.
Apart from your time spent with individual elephants and their mahouts, you will be shown around the centre, attend elephant bathtime, and take a boat trip across the lake to feed the Centre’s latest baby with its mother. Depending on the length of your stay, you may also accompany the herd into the nearby forest where they spend the night.
Other activities include swimming, kayaking on the lake, gardening, visiting the Centre’s Elephant Museum, spending time with the specialists who undertake fieldwork here, and of course just sitting back and watching the elephants enjoying their own free time.
Accommodation is very basic but we love it - bamboo stilt-huts clustered in the undergrowth, overlooking the lake, and a dormitory that was once home to one of the last traditional elephant masters in Laos. The Centre’s restaurant serves beautiful Laos food grown locally and in the Centre’s own garden, and a charming sala overlooks the lake, perfect for a quiet drink. So you’re not entirely roughing it - facilities are comfortable, and the place is idyllic, providing you’re happy to let the elephants stay centre of attention.
Duration: two to seven days
Accommodation: bamboo huts at the Centre
Discover your Asia
Call us on 01273 670 001
'Wonderful chance to spend time with the iconic elephants of Laos, and help to secure them a better future.'
Important to note...
The Conservation Centre is in an honest-to-goodness forest environment - although we take care of the logistics, there will be creepy crawlies. Also the camp is entirely solar powered, so there’s no air-con or even fan-cooling, and you should bring a headtorch for finding your way after dark.