Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary Fact File
General facts about CambodiaCountry name: Conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia. Conventional short form: Cambodia. Local short form: Kampuchea
Area: Total: 181,040 sq km
Terrain: Mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north
Population: 13.5 million
Age structure: 0-14 years: 37.3%, 15-64 years: 59.7%, 65 years and over: 3.1%
Life expectancy at birth: Total population: 58.87 years male: 55.92 years female: 61.96 years
Ethnic groups: Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%
Religions: Theravada Buddhist 95%, other 5%
Literacy: Definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 69.4% male: 80.8% female: 59.3% (2002)
Capital: Phnom Penh
Languages: Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
Government type: Stable multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy established in September 1993
International airports: Phnom Penh & Siem Reap
Currency : Riel (US$1 ~ 4000 Riel) - US$ are used for most transactions with Riel used as small change.
The Elephant Sanctuary LocationThe elephant sanctuary is based near the town of Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri province, eastern Cambodia, near the border of Vietnam. The elephant conservation project is located a few kilometres from the town in a protected area of forest.
This area of Cambodia is one of the least impacted by tourism and gives volunteers a unique insight into rural Cambodian life and the tribal Bunong people.
The Elephant Sanctuary is 650 hectares of mountainous, forested terrain and provides a safe haven where elephants come out of work to rest and recuperate. This is done by taking a hands off approach to the elephants and a hands-on approach to education and welfare improvement. It is a truly unique location in Cambodia.
The Elephant Valley is a series of interlaced rented farms and community forest that simulates the same environs that mahouts (elephant keepers) traditionally look after and care for their elephants in while providing a large area of forest to allow elephants to escape human activity for the longest period of time possible. The location includes:
• Rest and recuperation centre, elephant house and feeding ground.
• Habitation of employees and villagers that live on site.
• Guesthouse and feeding ground.
• Volunteer accommodation including lodges, dining area and lounge.
The first night’s accommodation is in Phnom Penh on Saturday night where you will be able to meet other volunteers. The rooms are clean and comfortable with private bathroom.
At the project, volunteers stay in large individual lodges constructed in the traditional Bunong style with western style furniture, including toilet and solar heated shower. Volunteers who want a cheaper option can choose shared dormitory accommodation on their application form.
Each lodge contains a large double bed with mosquito net provided, clothes storage, seating, mirror, laundry basket and bedside tables. The lodges are located on the slopes of the elephant valley affording stunning views over the surrounding forest where many varieties of birds can be seen from eagles to hornbills. The main project buildings are made from mostly recycled and salvaged materials.
Three meals per day are provided for this project. The chef provides high quality local and international meals. Vegans can be accommodated and the variety and quality of food will suit all tastes. Volunteers dine in the main complex overlooking the elephant valley.
Climate in Cambodia
Mondulkiri has a cooler climate than the rest of Cambodia:
1. April through October - hot and wet in the day and cold at night.
2. November through December - light showers but generally cooler, particularly cold at night.
3. January through March - dry and hot in the day and cold and dry at night.
At an average elevation of 800 metres, it can get chilly at night.
Getting to the Elephant Sanctuary
The nearest airport to this project is Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Airport code PNH).
To help you find the best air fares Globalteer has formed a partnership with a division of The Flight Centre Group who will tailor make your travel arrangements for you at a competitive price.
You can contact them for a free, no obligation travel quote by calling 0844 560 9944 from within the UK, or if you are outside the UK you can call +44(0)203 056 1146. Make sure you mention Globalteer when you call and if you do purchase your travel through them, Globalteer will receive a small donation. However, don’t forget that it’s up to you to make sure your travel arrangements are right for you and your project.
The Globalteer DifferenceThese days there are a great many opportunities to volunteer overseas, but not all organisations are the same.
Watch our short video presentation to see what makes Globalteer different from your average volunteering organisation!
The Elephant Project began as an initiative to improve the health and well being of Mondulkiri's captive elephant population. This meant visiting surrounding villages to document and assess elephants, as well as to encourage owners to rest and recuperate sick elephants. After years on the road, the project has realised that very few working elephants are healthy. Most have broken spirits and broken bodies, and many are covered in abscesses as well as being chronically underfed.
In an effort to combat these problems we have changed our policies at the project. The project no longer offers elephant riding or any other form of elephant labour. Elephants at the project now have the freedom to socialise in family groups, play in mud pits, and spray water around in the river. Elephants that are very sick will now be able to receive medical treatment in the new elephant hospital. For everyone who has been here in the past, we invite you to come back and see the difference. We think you'll see a big change!!