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Showing off our wild side | October - 2019

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Wildlife has been in the news and this time there is at least one good reason. Our tiger numbers as per our latest census are 2967, a third more than that was registered in 2014 according to the results made public by PM Modi on July 29th – The World Tiger Day. The press statement indicated that Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka at 524 and Uttarakhand with 442. Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population and all other States saw a “positive” increase.

The fourth survey since 2006, this was a mammoth exercise using the latest technology to document and cross-refer data from the results of 15 months of forest officials surveying 381,400 square kilometres of forested habitat, installing 26,760 camera traps and wildlife biologists ferreting through 35 million images of wildlife of which 76,523 were tigers.  For those interested, a complete Summary Report: Status of Tigers in India - 2018  is available at the Indian Environment Portal. The documentary by National Geographic ‘Counting Tigers’ ( available on Netflix ) captures the census estimation in its entirety.  

At RARE India we have always been proud of our wildlife collection. While the quality of our well-known parks is highlighted by the conservationists and naturalists who own the Lodge and design every wildlife experience, our lodges are also about knowledge of the forests and their attitude towards sustainability.  RARE has partnered with the most atmospheric jungle lodges, carefully curated experiences by experts and accommodations at the edge of nature’s best grounds.

We are well into October when many of the National Parks are declared open and travellers can access forests.  Eyes glued to thick foliage, ears tuned to every rustle in the jungle, it is time to stalk animals of the wild, from some of the most comfortable and luxurious Lodges in the country. Here’s a reminder of our selected jungle experiences and stays for you and your guests, in different forest clusters for easy discovery. Many parts of India including the central forests have had unprecedented rains and hence delays in the park opening dates are expected.  
 
Presenting our collection from the central forests which account for some of the best wildlife centric itineraries and safari experiences lead by the best naturalists in the country. Staying at the RARE lodges is to get a ring side view on conservation issues, and challenges faced by the Indian forests from human-wildlife conflict and habitat loss.

 

CENTRAL FORESTS

 
 

With an eye on conservation, Svasara Jungle Lodge is set on ten acres near the Kolara tribal hamlet bordering the Tadoba Tiger Reserve. The word Svasara, translates to ‘nest’– a place of security, comfort and belonging. The lodge has been working tirelessly towards reforestation, conservation and engaging with the local community. In a place like Tadoba, where the lure of spotting a tiger brings thousands to the fragile sanctuary, Svasara sets a stellar example of sustainability. Mindful luxury allows guests to unwind amidst chic surrounds, celebrate local art and culture, and have close interactions with all creatures of the wild.

Lodge Operations: Open through the year.
National Park operation dates: Open through the year though with limited access in the monsoon. 
Diwali and Holi closed. Republic Day morning rides can only be booked on the spot.
Wildlife: Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Gaur (Indian Bison), Rusty Spotted Cat, Ratel, Indian Mouse Deer, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Wild Pig, Four Horned Antelope, Flying Squirrel, and more. Over 200 species of birds include the Crested Serpent Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Paradise Flycatcher, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, and much more.

 


The legacy of Jamtara has been etched deep in the forests of Pench. This is the land where Late Kailash Sankhala, head of the Project Tiger initiative in 1973, started his work on tiger conservation. Jamtara Wilderness Camp is the brainchild of his grandson, Amit Sankhala, totally in tune with RARE’s ethos of moving away from commercial tourism to explore partnerships through some of the best naturalists and between communities of the land. How is Jamtara different from other luxury jungle camps? Set close to Jamtara village, literally the first lodge in the region of Jamtara and Karmajhiri gates  - it is sustainable, low impact, employs and trains locals, and provides a farm to table dining experience. However much you've travelled before in India, this will blow your mind; and however much you travel afterwards, memories of the Jamtara experience will always stay unique. 

Camp Operations: 1st  October to 5th May
Pench National Park operation dates: 7th October to 30th June, Closed on Wednesday afternoon, Diwali and Holi
Wildlife: Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Dhole and birds like the Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, White-eyed Buzzard, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Osprey, Black-Hooded Oriole, Grey Nightjar, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Scaly-Breasted Munia, Sirkeer Malkoha, Jungle Owlet, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Brown Fish Owl, Short Toed Snake Eagle, Racket Tailed Drongo, Crested Treeswift, White-eyed Buzzard,  and varieties of Parakeet.

 

One of the most recent forests to have opened for the wildlife lover,  Satpura National Park reimagined safari experiences by including walks in the jungle and canoeing in the Tawa reservoir that skirts the park. The perfect way to complement that experience is by staying at the Reni Pani Jungle Lodge on the fringes, set in a veritable forest of its own. Reni Pani completes ten years of operation and this conservation-focused jungle lodge offers twelve cottages and four luxury tents. Ancient magnificent trees, a sprawling meadow, a seasonal stream and water holes around tick all the boxes for a nature lover. If you’re looking for a complete jungle immersion, this is one of the top experiences of Central India.

Lodge Operations: 1st October to 30th June
National park operation dates: 1st October to 15th June; Closed on Wednesdays afternoon.
Diwali and Holi.
Wildlife: Sloth Bear, Leopard, Tiger amongst 50 species of mammals, 254 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles and 50 species of butterflies.

 

Established in 1982, the award-winning Kipling Camp lies on the edge of Kanha National Park. One of the first camps in India, it remains among the finest examples of a community-powered eco-lodge. Kipling Camp is run with the motto “treading softly in the jungle” and is a place to unplug from city life and tune into the sounds and sights of the jungle. The comfortable cottages set in un-spoilt jungle and a lake lend themselves to this plan. The real draw of the camp for many is the much-loved elephant, Tara, who starred in Mark Shand’s best-selling book “Travels on my Elephant.” 

Camp Operations: 16th October to 15th May
National park operation dates: 15th October to  30th June; Closed on Wednesdays afternoon, Diwali and Holi
Special sightings: Wild Boar, Barasingha, Tiger, Gaur, Nilgai, and Wild Dogs amongst other mammals. Over 300 species of birds including Black ibis, Bee-eaters, Cattle egret, Blossom-headed parakeets, Herons, Drongos, Common teal, Crested serpent eagle, Grey hornbill, Indian roller.

 

The vast stretch of wild gardens around Samode Safari Lodge is a mere introduction to what one should expect when staying here, close to the Bandhavgarh National Park. The lodge blends luxury and sustainability with no effort and is easily one of the top lodges in India. The twelve cottages are a throwback to the tribal dwellings of Central India, complete with en-suite decks for wildlife viewing and outdoor showers open to forest skies. A team of excellent naturalists help the traveller journey through and experience the forest intimately. 

Lodge Operations: 1st October to  30th June
National park operation dates: 15th October to  30th June; Closed on Wednesdays afternoon, Diwali and Holi
Special sightings: 37 species of mammals including the Tiger, Gaur, Nilgai, Deer and Wild Dogs. Several endemic and migratory birds including, Plum-headed parakeet, Green-headed barbet, Orange-headed thrush, Brown-headed barbet, Coppersmith barbet, Alexandrine parakeet, Indian grey hornbill, Rock pigeon, Little egret, Drongo, Common snipe, Black-winged stilt, Red-wattled lapwing, Greater coucal, Oriental magpie robin, Eurasian collared dove and Sirkeer malkoha amongst others.

 

Close to both Panna National Park and Khajuraho, an important focus for Indian Tourism, Sarai at Toria is perfect for both wildlife travellers and culture enthusiasts.  The most prominent thing that strikes one on entering the Sarai at Toria is the use of local materials for construction, suitable for the environment and climate, demonstrating the appropriateness of traditional building knowledge. Despite located in the plains of Central India, the thick mud walls and high roofs of the cottages strike off any use of air conditioning. The Sarai is set in ten acres of natural grass and woodland, overlooking the pristine Ken River that skirts through Panna National Park. The magic doesn’t lie in the landscape alone, the owners Raghu and Joanna really work to create most of it. 

Lodge Operations: 1st October to 15th April
National park operation dates: 15th October to  30th June; Closed on Wednesday afternoon, Diwali and Holi
Wildlife: Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog, Wolf, Soth Bear and other mammals.  More than 200 species of birds, including White Necked Stork, Barheaded Goose, Honey Buzzard, King Vulture, Blossom Headed Parakeet, Paradise Flycatcher and Babblers.

 

A unique concept in light-footed luxury camping available on pre-booking only, Kaafila ( www.kaafilacamps.com ) focuses on taking you to lesser-known wildlife parks like Kuno Palpur ( MP ) and Pilibhit ( UP ) for an exceptional wildlife experience undisturbed by crowds to seek signature species particular to the area. The Kaafila programs are ideally designed to ensure that they can be plugged into existing programs between two popular wildlife destinations. A good example is Kuno Palpur fits between Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore; while Kaafila in Pilibhit can be discovered between Dudhwa and Corbett. 

 

THE RARE SHOWCASE 2020

 
 
RARE Showcase 2020 is our annual celebration of the community to be held at The Imperial in New Delhi. On invitation only, the event focuses on the futuristic ideal of conscious luxury travel. Find detailed information on our website: www.rareindia.com and to register, mail us at [email protected].
 

For detailed itineraries please write to
[email protected]

www.rareindia.com
RARE India is the finest collection of palace and heritage hotels, wildlife and nature lodges, homestays and retreats. The community endorses ‘Conscious Luxury’ as the perfect example that marries luxury, experience and sustainability.
 
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U-26A/6, Ground Floor, DLF Phase III, Qutub Enclave, Gurgaon
Haryana - 122002, India

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