Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp
The Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp is definitely an interesting place in Myanmar worth visiting. Situated in the mountainous city of Kalaw, this breathtaking site is a haven for old elephants. It is a retirement camp for elephants that worked for the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) throughout their lives.
Step into the Wildlife
After arriving in the camp (appointment obligatory), you will meet the family who’s running the camp; they also worked for the MTE (Myanmar Timber Enterprise) in the past but decided to create this camp. They are guided by their deep passion and devotion to these wild animals. You will notice throughout the visit that the animals enjoy a great deal of freedom and are being treated well (not the case in every camp in Asia!). If you have ever visited another elephant camp, you will surely notice that this one is special. These elephants are not here to entertain tourists. Visitors will leave the camp with a greater knowledge of elephants and a higher respect for these majestic animals.
The visits are hosted by the mahouts, dedicated people who take care of elephants throughout their life. They have a very special connection with these wild animals from the time working at MTE to now.
Daily Care Activities in the Camp
You will be amazed by the principles of this family-run camp because they run this business by offering the visitors the opportunity to join the daily care program of the elephants and also to help reforest the area by re-planting trees. The camp offers these four main activities:
- Feeding the elephants
- Bathing with them
- Meeting their veterinary
- Re-plantation of trees
The first activity is to feed the elephants. They prepare fruits and other food for you to give directly to the animals. The park is open every day as the elephants need to be fed also on Sundays – obviously. This is a moment for sharing a simple but magical moment with the elephants.
You then can join the elephants for their bath in the river. You can brush them throughout the bath, and you will see that the elephants enjoy it very much. Although it can be seen as dangerous, you will realize that they are really friendly and are just enjoying the moment as much as you are. It is like a daily massage for them and the mahouts kindly call it the “spa time”.
At the end of the visit, you will meet the veterinary, who is also the founder of the camp. He will explain to you the way the elephants are treated and taken care of every day. This is the part where you will learn the most about the anatomy of these animals.
The last activity will be the re-plantation of trees in the camp. The elephants in this camp worked all their lives to deforest areas, sometimes under hazard circumstances. Therefore, the camp wishes to symbolically demonstrate and give the opportunity to visitors to help do the exact opposite by re-planting trees.
After 3PM, the elephant finish their so called “working day” and are released in the camp, which is many hectares wide. Every day, early in the morning, the mahouts go into the wildest parts of the camp and call out the elephant they have been working with all their life. Each elephant answers and “obeys” only to one special mahout. Their relation is based on mutual respect.
Don’t be afraid during your visit! The mahout will stay all the time with you, assuring a visit without danger. After these activities, a lunch will be served at the camp before returning to Kalaw with memories that will last a lifetime. If you are interested in a visit to the elephant camp, we can arrange it for you.
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