Located down Thissa-Kirinda road, S Lanka Safari & The Second Home is a comfortable bungalow that sets up the ideal setting for anyone who enjoys the genuine rusticity. Aside from the comfy accommodation surrounded by the blissful wilderness of Yala, Second Home offers up a very good safari package for their guests, which was the highlighted feature of our visit.
Second Home Bungalow has two types of rooms; Family and Verandah. While the family room (Rs. 2000) can be shared between 4 people, the verandah section (Rs. 8000) provides a set of 10 beds, which should be reserved as a whole.
We really had no complaints about their rooms. It's nothing fancy, but they have all the basic amenities that one would expect in a proper guest house. Their rooms were neat, homey and comfortable with clean, spotless bathrooms. The verandah section gets a lot of natural air and light, which gives the opportunity to get an outdoor experience from the inside.
Second Home has a shared kitchen where the guests can prepare their own meals; or else they can order up a really good buth packet (Rs. 200) from the bungalow itself. It comes with a hefty portion of rice, 3-4 curries, including a protein of your choice; chicken, fish, salmon or egg.
They also arrange a bonfire and a barbecue every weekend, which is another thing to look forward to.
At about Rs. 5000, this safari package takes you for a 4-hour ride through the paradisaical Yala National park, to observe and enjoy its ecological diversity from a closer eye.
Our journey began at 2.30 pm, in a seven-seater safari jeep, and we arrived at Palatupana entrance within 15 minutes. The ride started properly after we got our entry tickets, and picked up our tour guide from the entrance.
Yala National Park covers an impressive 979 square kilometers, and throughout this immense space, the animals are busy doing their thang in their natural habitats. If you're lucky, you will get to see a few of them.
We saw this majestic creature bathing in the beautiful Tanki Gala lake, and we actually ended up following him to the Ginikasewala lake, where another two herds were enjoying their dust bathing.
According to Prabath, our driver, this is how the male elephants try to find their mate; by following different herds throughout the lakes around his route.
The country's top predator, who is also an endangered species, this Sri Lankan leopard cub was spotted on a Palu tree. According to what we heard, there are only 60 – 70 of them in this area, so it is in fact a really rare sight.
We also encountered this shy and reclusive Sri Lankan sloth bear near the Nilapalawa lake. The steady decline of forests has threatened its existence, so the estimated population of them is less than 1000. We were really lucky enough to see this guy because some people never get to see them no matter how many times they visit Yala.
There were plenty of birds, deer, monkeys and crocodiles chilling out in their natural habitats.
The staff at Second Home is very friendly, attentive, accommodating and knows the Yala National Park like the back of their hands. They are more than happy to assist you with the details on these animals, their behaviors, and the way around the entire Yala area.
From a home-like stay to a delightful wilderness adventure, we really enjoyed our experience with S Lanka Safari & The Second Home Bungalow. Safari-ing at Yala could be tricky, but with the help of Second Home, we were able to get a thoroughly satisfying wilderness experience. It's like a five (or more) hour drive from Colombo to Yala, but believe me, it's so worth the trip.