RARE Newsletter | Friends of the Forest | Vol 44 | | October - 2021

Love for nature…it is in all of us. In the prayers we say and the wishes we make, hidden as metaphors long forgotten to relate to or remember. Hence a simple word like ‘Naturalist’ which is anyone interested in the natural world has come to mean the profession of being a naturalist. Indeed if you are interested in the natural world, it is ‘natural’ that you would like to get closer to nature, understand her better and ensure her preservation. Travelling to forests or to nature reserves can be much more than just a vacation, definitely more than a package tour with the possibility of the perfect ‘gram’ shot!

The RARE Community of wildlife lodges have been advocating wildlife tourism at their lodges as an opportunity to understand nature, engage and transform with the natural world. It has helped immensely that each of the lodge owners on the RARE list have been associated with conservation and community inclusive tourism from their first phase of design that included key touchstones for sustainability and regeneration which holds good to this day.

RARE Lodges for wildlife and nature will never be just any lodge, the interactions with owners and experiences that always look ‘beyond the safari’ are potential change makers. Always community inclusive, RARE lodges have the quality of being respectful of the local cultures and environment, and being inspired by the destination that reflects in their design and serves a larger ideal. The landscape of local grass in Sarai at Toria, tiled roofs of the cottages in Kipling Camp, the hill cottages in Reni Pani, wild gardens of Bandhavgarh Jungle lodge and Jamtara, wall art and forest nursery in Svasara Lodge – all of them serve to connect you with the national park, wildlife and community in a unique way.

Proudly presented as ‘Friends of the Forest’, in this edition we begin with our lodges in Central India that open on Oct 01 keeping time with the opening of National Parks in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Owner run, these lodges reflect their personal interests, beliefs and initiatives and have often been widely quoted as blue prints for lodges with best practises. TOFTigers pugmark rated and set in thriving micro-habitats of their own, RARE wildlife lodges offer a wide range of interesting experiences that makes every wildlife program an opportunity to watch, learn, engage and understand nature and wildlife, and above all ‘fall in love’ with the forest in its entirety.
The Sarai at Toria, Panna & Khajuraho, MP
The eight room Sarai at Toria is located on the western bank of the Ken river and is close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Khajuraho and Panna National Park. The deciduous forests of Panna National Park spread just over 540 square kilometres is home to a diverse wildlife, birds and indigenous flora. Sarai is also an ideal base to explore Ajaygarh and Kalinjar. To have Joanna – writer, photographer and conservationist and Raghu, one of the world’s leading conservationists and author, as your hosts, to feast on home cooking, understand local culture and experience nature and wildlife is a Sarai exclusive. Easily accessible by road from Jabalpur, Gwalior, Jhansi and Bandhavgarh, Sarai is also well connected by trains; a flight to Khajuraho is scheduled to begin this season. Read more...
Book Now at INR 22,500++*
Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge, Bandhavgarh, MP
Bandhavgarh National Park’s sightings for wildlife and biodiversity is well-known around the world, easier because of its accessibility. One of the earliest lodges built close to a National Park, Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge defined the Madhya Pradesh wildlife experience. Built in 1990 the lodge has always enjoyed a prime location minutes away from Tala gate. With a total of 18 rooms as 14 cottages and 4 villas, the lodge is inspired by traditional village homes and is its unique charm. The sloping baked-earth roofs, muted colours as furnishings and tribal art are an ode to the rich heritage of Central India. All rooms look out to the wild gardens and bring the outdoors in, a feature of every RARE wildlife lodge. And the community inclusive team who have grown here claim their ‘spots’, like Pushpendra Singh, the lodge manager and his talented team who ensure your stay and the wildlife experience is sublime. Read more...
Book Now at INR 17,250++*
Kipling Camp, Kanha, MP
Kipling Camp with its legacy of conservation has set standards for evert wildlife lodge and how it should be managed. The lodge is constantly upgrading and reskilling without increasing its keys, while sticking to its core ethos of treading softly; focusing  on wildlife conservation and community development. Kipling Camp was among the first to have opened in Kisli side of Kanha and sports a vibe reminiscent of colonial forest bungalows. With cottages under a generous tree canopy, open and airy verandahs, you look out to the wilderness or the watering hole and forests. Run by Belinda Wright, photographer and tireless crusader for wildlife, Kipling Camp is celebrated as a community run lodge under young Jeswin Kingsley, a talented storyteller and naturalist along with a team of locals. The Kipling story is incomplete without a mention of Tara, their resident elephant. Follow her as she takes a brisk walk to the river for her daily bath in the Banjar or watch her feed from afar, powerful insights into the life of the largest mammal on earth. Read more...
Book Now at INR 16,600++*
Jamtara Wilderness Camp, Pench, MP
Pench Tiger Reserve has a unique ecosystem – undulating topography, varied tree expanse, dense green undercover, varied fauna including aquatic life and birds. It is no wonder then that Pench is set apart from other popular parks and features high on the checklist of nature and wildlife lovers. Jamtara Wilderness Camp with understated luxury and experiences created consciously has taken the tough route to success. This is evident in the large open grasslands handed back to nature where local grasses and indigenous trees flourish, in the deliberately chosen location set far away from the ‘popular’ location and in the ten well designed tents. Owner, Amit Sankhala has been born into the idea of conservation being the grandson of Kailash Sankhala, the man who fashioned Project Tiger! Neel, a consummate wildlife scientist, is your host and captain at Jamtara Wilderness Camp and manages a team of naturalists who relay the Pench story and it’s wildlife experiences to perfection. Read more...
Book Now at INR 28,875++*
Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, Satpura, MP
Now clubbed under Jehan Numa Wilderness, Reni Pani, Bori Safari Lodge, Satpura Under the Canvas and Jehan Numa Retreat potentially create a full-fledged wildlife experience in the remote forests of Satpura where tourism is still personal and exclusive. Satpura National Park will always be special; a fairly new national park in Central India it has the advantage of a varied landscape; Tawa reservoir fed by the two rivers – Sonbhadra and Denwa, rocky hills with a diverse vegetation, many water holes and a land where the rivers have created interesting habitats. Satpura has many firsts thanks to the initiatives of the early settlers one of whom is Reni Pani Lodge.

Stylish and spacious, 12 cottages and 4 tents are distributed amidst grass lands, across a seasonal nulla and a hearty forest stretch, all designed to merge with the forest it is set within. Aly Rashid, owner, lodge manager and an avid birder, captains a team of naturalists constantly trained under his supervision. The wildlife experience here is designed to highlight Satpura thorough walking where one can see smaller mammals, insects and tracks and signs; touch and understand tree life and Satpura's interesting ecology. Canoeing and safaris at Night in the buffer area are some unique activities. Read more...
Book Now at INR 20,000++*
Bori Safari Lodge, Bori
Bori Safari Lodge offers a quiet and varied safari experience while staying almost exclusively close to the forests of Satpura. On the edge of Bori Wildlife Sanctuary, cocooned within a 7.5-acre farmland estate, the lodge offers the contemporary traveller a great forest experience. Four clusters of two bedrooms each, are spread on a thriving farmland which is also a hearty look-out from the decks of the rooms which are private and elevated. With its design, art and service, Bori Safari Lodge stands apart from what you have seen in lodges anywhere else in the country. Read more...
Book Now at INR 28,000++*
Svasara Lodge, Tadoba, MH
Svasara ‘the nest’ is located close to the Kolara Gate, towards the north of the Tadoba Tiger reserve, a two hour drive from Nagpur. The lodge offers twelve charming habitat themed rooms, a spa, pool and an evolving sense of conscious and environment friendly tourism. Svasara offers forest and nature walks with trained naturalists well versed with the region’s wildlife, butterflies, birds and geology. Don’t forget to look for smaller fauna such as jungle cats, civets, geckos and a variety of birds. Cuisine is Svasara’s forte like the local Verhadi cuisine which features spices like Goda masala from Vidharbha region. One may try their hand at cooking with Svasara chefs, an activity that is highly appreciated. Read more...
Book Now at INR 10,500++*
Update on COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh & Maharashtra
After the second wave, Madhya Pradesh has witnessed a low case load of COVID-19. The vaccine drive in the state is also going well with almost 85% of the population inoculated with the first dose and 25% of the population fully vaccinated. In Maharasthra, 23% have been fully vaccinated with 54% of the population having received the first dose. However our lodges continue to follow protocols like wearing masks, health screening and hygiene standards.

Jungle Safari Pricing in Madhya Pradesh & Maharashtra
MPT has revised safari rates for the season and additionally have a higher pricing for weekends. Expect hikes in JP Rates of Lodges and check safari rates while costing for your wildlife programs. There are no changes in pricing in Maharasthra.
.Announcing All Living Things Environmental Film Festival (ALT EFF) to be held virtually from Oct 9th to 17th. The thoughtfully curated festival in its second edition showcasing 44 films with 10 live interactive sessions is the brain child of Kunal Khanna, who identifies himself as an environmentalist and loves films and moving images. His quote is a favourite of ours ‘to move mountains and make waves’, ATF EFF has films categorized in 10 eclectic bundles based on what is important as problems and solutions for the future of our children and planet. RARE will be hosting a session Don’t Be That Tourist on 13th October at 19:00 hrs IST featuring RARE community of Friends of the Forest – Amit Sankhla from Jamtara Wilderness Camp in Pench, Dr Raghu Chundawat from Sarai at Toria in Panna, Aly Rashid from Reni Pani and Bori Safari Lodge in Satpura and Ratika Sinha from Svasara Jungle Lodge in Tadoba.

RARE is thrilled to be associated with ALT EFF as a partner and resonates with its mission. As part of the RARE network  get your special access to watch the films here and participate in live interactions during the festival by using the login code RAREX20
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* Offers are current and pandemic driven for Indian Travellers only.
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