Until recently, India's wild-life reserves could not boast lodges or camps that approached the sophistication of those found in Africa. Things began to change when Amanresorts and Oberoi Hotels both opened luxury camps adjacent to Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Taj Hotels entered into partnership with &Beyond, a Johannesburg-based safari company, to create four stylish and comfortable new lodges in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.
Apart from these stylish lodges, there are also some owner managed camps that have tastefully designed, offer high level of service, boast an incredible location and knowledgeable naturalists. Most of them being homes of eminent wildlife conservationists and naturalists. These are spread through the jungles of Tadoba, Satpura, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Corbett, in the Terai Himalayas and one inside Binsar in the Himalayan forests. Jungles and forests are some of the best places for a retreat or a vacation.
It’s a time to be amidst nature and learn about the wildlife and natural history of a region. These are also a slightly new breed of lodges that are emerging throughout India that aim to take the pressure off purely tiger focused tourism and to excite travellers about India’s other phenomenal wildlife. This innovative new type of properties have also considered the local environment and eco systems during the building process and work on projects of long-term sustainability which benefit the local communities and focus on the conservation of India’s wildlife.
Traditionally, Indian wildlife reserves have suffered by comparison with the great safari areas of Africa. True, the subcontinent's parks tend to be smaller and are often hemmed in by human habitation. And generally, their ecosystems contain fewer large mammal species than you will find in the Serengeti. Nonetheless, the best Indian reserves remain stirringly beautiful. Of course, they have one priceless asset: the planet's top predator, the magnificent Royal Bengal tiger, which can weigh in at more than 500 pounds and measure 11 feet from nose to tail.
The owner-managed camps are intimate and are set in magnificent locations either overlooking a river or the forest. Usually set amongst young woodland, individually spaced to give total privacy from one another, the accommodation is comfortable and tastefully decorated.
Each tent or cottage has a large bedroom with en suite facilities. They use locally handmade materials while setting up the camp. For guests looking for the utmost luxury, there are luxurious lodges that offer stylish accommodation and excellent guiding. From pristine, Moghul tents in Rajasthan to charming suites with private courtyards in Central India, we offer exclusive experiences.
In a typical camp, the epicentre is the ‘main house’, where guests congregate to dine and share stories of the day, or quietly laze on the veranda, choosing from a selection of books. These camps are small, which helps them to personalise your experience, adding touches that would make your stay very special. Their chefs prepare light salad lunches using ingredients fresh from the garden or local markets.
Dinners are traditional home-style Indian recipes, delicately flavoured and accompanied with flat-breads and pickles. Homemade cakes and biscuits flow, as well as a few in-house inventions as breakfast treats to enjoy on safari. Their great settings mean that you have the luxury to dine in the main house, under the shade of a large mahua tree or by the light of the moon.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
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