This post is about a place where we started our wildlife journeys. Our first experience with Jungle Lodges (JLR)! The Kabini River Lodge is their signature resort and has been rated by Tattler as one of the top five wildlife resorts of the world!! This one is on Kabini, a place where I can go again and again! I had always heard of this place from my grand-aunt (Shanthi bapama that is you if you didn’t realize!) who loves this place so much that she always keeps going back here whenever she gets a chance. I used to wonder why this was the case. My visit there changed my notion about this place. Believe me, its serene! You cannot wish for a better location to stay than JLR. This resort was the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Wodeyars (Kings of Mysore state). Situated about 90 kms from Mysore, this is an ideal getaway for all people who love nature. We stayed here for 3 days and 2 nights and had a very good time.
Alert – this is a LONG post with LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of images.
Tip – Please hold or hover the mouse pointer over any image to figure out what the image is about. Especially helpful to identify the various birds and animals I mention about and then later down the line have posted a pic of.
Day – 1
We started our journey from Mysore at around 10 in the morning and reached JLR, Kabini at around 12.30 in the afternoon. We had booked a tented cottage in JLR. The tent was lovely. The chirping of birds in the trees outside our cottage was very pleasant and a welcome change from the humdrum of city life. After having a sumptuous lunch at Gol Ghar (the dining area of JLR resort) we took a small nap and were ready by 3.30 for our first safari to the Nagarahole Wildlife Sanctuary of the trip. We went past the village near the resort which offered us a peek into the rural life. The surrounding was very scenic. The naturalist accompanying us was very knowledgeable about the fauna found here.
What we spotted
- Sambar deer
- Jungle fowl
- Elephant (This was a lonely juvenile tusker)
- Serpent Eagle
- Black Ibis
- Streak Throated Woodpecker
- Crocodile (This one was basking in the sun with its jaws wide open…What a sight!)
- Indian Gaur (Commonly referred to as Bison mistakenly as explained by the Naturalist)
We came back to the resort around 6 in the evening to see the riot of colors in the sky after sunset. After resting in the room for a while, we went to watch a documentary on Dhole (Wild dogs) being aired in the resort.
We were woken up by 6 in the morning by the resort staff for a cup of coffee/tea accompanied by biscuits. We had to get ready by 6.30 for the morning safari. We were to go to the boat safari this time. The reservoir looked so serene early in the morning and the play of light was breathtaking.
What we spotted
- Wild boar
- Musk deer
- Barking deer
- River Tern
- Wire tailed Swallow
- Osprey ( What a majestic bird!)
- Grey Heron
- Painted Stork
- Common Hoopoe ( The state bird of Punjab. This beautiful bird has been used in the plot of Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of stories :) )
After the safari, we had a hearty breakfast and followed it up with a nature walk around the resort with the naturalist. He was very enthusiastic in showing us various birds as he understood that was what we were after :)
At one end of the resort there is a small shrine surrounded by a huge fruit tree. This is the abode of plenty of birds. Bird lovers can easily spend hours under this tree listening to the chirping of various birds :)
What we spotted
- Golden Oriole
- Female Asian Koel
- Greater Flameback Woodpecker
- Many butterflies
- Wasp nest
- Purple Sunbirds
After lunch, we went on the boat safari again late in the afternoon.
What we spotted
- Common kingfisher
- Snake bird
- Herd of Elephants (Finally!!!)
- Pond Heron
- Peregrine Falcon
On our way back to the resort, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset amidst the backwaters of Kabini! The sights were lovely with the sky displaying a riot of colors. We watched a documentary about wildlife in western ghats in the resort followed by a lovely dinner.
This was our last day in the resort. We woke up early in the morning to go for the jeep safari. We went on the boat for a while. Did a wild goose chase in vain to watch a pack of Wild dogs which had been spotted by people in another safari jeep that passed by where we were.
What we spotted
- Black-rumped flameback woodpecker
- Oriental Magpie Robin
- Wild Mongoose
- Malabar Squirrel
- Rufous Shrike
The Jungle Lodges resort at Kabini used to be the hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Mysore. The resort is also, understandably, the marquee resort for Jungle Lodges and as mentioned above has been rated by Tattler as one of the top five wildlife resorts of the world!! Which really is extremely justified from what we could see in our brief stay there.
- Accommodation – we stayed in the “Tented cottage”. As is visible from the below pic, a tented cottage is a very well built hunting tent suitable for a king! :)
- The resort itself is a large property and the main building is a regal period bungalow which I am sure many a Maharaja has graced!
- The service in the resort was impeccable and we have no complaints whatsoever on this front. The Jungle Lodges staff was extremely helpful! Special mention to the lovely naturalist who accompanied us on Day 2.
- The safaris and activities at Jungle Lodges happen based on a preset timetable which is made known to one when one checks in. It is reasonably packed but still leaves one with enough time to oneself to enjoy the resort and its surrounds. Naturally, given such a schedule, the folks at Jungle Lodges expect the residents to maintain time. Unfortunately there are enough people who turn up here and don’t necessarily maintain this. Despite this, the folks at Jungle Lodges go a long distance in keeping even such customers happy. May be that does work like a double edged sword sometimes…
The big cats had eluded us all throughout this trip. Anyway the birds had made up for all the disappointments. With heavy hearts and lovely memories tucked away, we set forth back to Mysore at around 11 which is the checkout time at all the JLR resorts. This was the beginning of our wildlife experience. Since then we have been to two other JLR resorts which have been great experiences for us. I will be writing about them soon.