03 Feb - 05 Feb 2011 Tissamaharama

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Traveller’s Home travellershome@live.com
Adequate double room for LKR 1,450.- or US$ 13.10 per night.
Rude and cheating owner with a serious attitude problem.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Traveller's Home in Tissamaharama, which we would not recommend, and for directions:


Exploring the country town of Tissamaharama aka Tissa, essentially the base camp for overpriced conveyor-belt safaris to the Yala National Park, and a single thoroughfare, lined with a few local eateries which sell rice-and-veggie curries for LKR 150.- or US$ 1.35 per meal and bounded by a nice expanse of paddy fields on its northern side with the biggest of the town's many Buddhist dagobas, the 56-m high Santagiri Dagoba, which contains one of the Buddha's many oh-so-sacred original teeth.
“We need not take refuge in supernatural gods to explain our saints and sages and heroes and statesmen, as if to explain our disbelief that mere unaided human beings could be that good or wise.”

Teaming up with French fellow travellers Angelique & Matt for a morning game drive (05:00 a.m. - 10.00 a.m.) to the nearby Yala National Park, hiring from Traveller's Home Jeep Safaris one of the compulsory, chauffeur-driven cars, a worn and kludgy Land Rover 110 with a young and inexperienced driver/guide (Q.: "Do you know what kind of deer this is?" - A.: "Yes, yes. Is Bambi deer."), paying LKR 4,200.- or US$ 38.- per person for the whole package which includes the park entrance fee plus the taxes and service charges for foreigners of LKR 2,700.- or US$ 24.30 per person (almost fifty times more than for Sri Lankan natives, because the greedy park authorities operate officially an extreme two-tier price system which reflects the rip-off ethos that permeates the Sri Lankan government’s attitude to foreign tourists), hurrying over the park's bumpy and badly maintained dirt roads to the most promising spots and jostling thereafter for a good position amongst up to a dozen other cars to have a glance at leopards (Panthera pardus), water buffaloes (Bubalus arnee) and spotted deer aka cheetal (Axis axis).
"Guns have metamorphosed into cameras in this earnest comedy, the ecology safari, because nature has ceased to be what it always had been, what people needed protection from. Now nature tamed, endangered, mortal, needs to be protected from people." 

Taking the local S.L.T.B. (Sri Lanka Transport Board) bus no. 335/1 for LKR 20.- or US$ 0.20 per person from Tissamaharama's surprisingly well organised bus station to Pannegamuwa Junction and from there an express bus for LKR 88.- or US$ -.80 per person through dry-zone plains that were once home to the ancient Sinhalese kingdom of Ruhunu to the small crossroads town of Wellawaya, a non-touristy place with friendly, welcoming locals and excellent curries (delicious rice-and-veggies curry and superb service at the rugged Hidayath Hotel, right opposite the town's bus station, for only LKR 80.- per bottomless meal).

Click below for more blog posts about non-Seffrican game drives/walks

Click below for a summary of this year’s travels

Visit the Konni & Matt Online Albums and order high-res travel photos

Facing Sri Lanka
© Konni & Matt

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