Having lived in an urban, concrete jungle all my life, I am absolutely fascinated with the real jungle – one filled with plenty of flora and fauna – and hence, I try to take safari holidays at least once a year. This year, our destination was the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve and we had a truly marvellous stay at the Tadoba Jungle Camp. So good that my husband and sons wanted to stay there another week (but of course, we couldn’t because school and work beckoned) ! Read on to know more about this wonderful resort and why the Tadoba Jungle Camp is a great choice for the entire family.
About Tadoba Jungle Camp
The Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is a wildlife sanctuary located in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. Tadoba Jungle Camp is a boutique 18 room resort, situated at a prime location near the Moharli Gate of the sanctuary, with views of the grassland as well as the Irai lake. It is an environmentally sensitive resort with a strong focus on conservation, sustainability and local community which reflects in the luxuriously rustic decor as well as in-room amenities. It has everything a family needs to bond over on a wildlife holiday without compromising on creature comforts. Everything except TV, which was the deciding factor while making the reservations.
Tadoba Jungle Camp offers two kinds of accommodation – Elevated Cottages and Luxury Cottages – both of which come with two extra beds making them perfect for a family of four. What’s even better is that both types of accommodation have an extra washroom so that you can freshen up quickly for early morning safaris. The Elevated Cottages are all named after the animals found in the Tadoba sanctuary while the Luxury Cottages are named after the birds. The resort had full occupancy during our stay because of which we were unable to get three consecutive nights in either of the cottages. Hence, we stayed for two nights in the Elevated Cottage and one night in the Luxury Cottage.
The Elevated Cottages are built on a raised stilted area and have really high ceilings and a little loft with a bed which gives a “machaan-like” feeling that kids love (and adults too). It also has a lovely balcony overlooking the grasslands and the Irai lake and often times, wildlife has been spotted grazing there. The Luxury Cottages have a bedroom on the ground floor along with a washroom while the main bedroom is one level up. This also has a balcony, though a bit smaller than that in the elevated cottage, but with the same serene view. You can check out the room tour videos in my Tadoba story highlights on Instagram to get a better idea of what the rooms are like.
The decor in the rooms, and indeed in the entire resort, is luxuriously rustic with a lot of locally & sustainably sourced wood in sync with the jungle theme. The animal / bird that the cottage is named after is painted on the wall above the bed as well. Since the Tadoba sanctuary and buffer zones are plastic-free, the resort is too! No plastic water bottles in the room – only stainless steel ones filled with purified water.
Safaris at Tadoba
All safaris at Tadoba have to be booked through the official government website, though, if you are confused about which zone to book etc, you can ask the resort to do the booking for you, which is what I did. The wonderfully helpful staff at Tadoba Jungle Camp suggested the zones for the morning, afternoon and night safaris based on our dates and availability and also did all the booking for us. The advantage of booking with them is that the Gypsy comes to pick you up for each safari and drops you back at the resort rather than you having to make your own way to the Gate. The resort also gives you blankets for morning and night safaris (because it does get chilly in the jungle in the open gypsy) as well as a cooler filled with water bottles. Also a light snack for the morning safari and a juice for the afternoon one. These thoughtful gestures made me glad that I decided to book the safaris through them and no directly. Once you return from the safari, everyone asks you how it was, if you had any sightings etc. It truly feels like a family!
Cuisine at Tadoba Jungle Camp
The Moharli restaurant at the Tadoba Jungle Camp, where all the meals (except evening high tea) are served is also elevated and has an al-fresco seating overlooking the grassland and lake. We preferred to have our breakfast there as it was still cool in the mornings and in the hope that we would spot some wildlife. The food here is simple, homely and tasty – the kind of comfort food you need after coming back from a safari. The candle-lit evening high tea was served in the garden area by the pool with a hot snack, like pakodas and a variety of hot beverages.
Activities at Tadoba Jungle Camp
As mentioned above, there is no TV in the entire resort which makes a lot of people wonder, don’t kids get bored then? Well, thankfully they don’t because there are so many other fun activities for them in the resort, the first being the swimming pool. There’s nothing better than a refreshing swim after coming back from a hot safari. Do note though, that because the pool is under the elevated cottages and shaded from the sun, the water in the pool is quite cold. There is also a games room where the entire family can play table-tennis, carrom and board games. Bicycles are also available if you want to ride around the resort. In the evening, they screen informative wildlife documentaries, mostly on the tigers and other wildlife found in Tadoba. At night, out comes the telescope for some stargazing! Even without the telescope, the boys and I had so much fun looking at the stars and identifying visible planets and constellations – something we don’t get to do in polluted Bombay. And if your kids love animals, they will love the stars of Tadoba Jungle Camp, two extremely friendly and playful pups, Lucky and Rocky, and a big tom cat, Charlie.
Summing it up
To say I have a “Tadoba hangover” would be an understatement. Even a week after returning from there, I am missing the peace and solitude, the birdsong that woke me up, the daily safaris, and of course, the warm and friendly hospitality! Every single person at Tadoba was so courteous and friendly. When we had a medical emergency at home and thought we might have to leave in the middle of the night to fly back to Bombay, the Operations Manager, Monthung, got a car ready to take us to Nagpur at 1am! Thankfully things settled and we didn’t need to but it just shows the willingness of everyone to take care of the guests like one cares for family members. Right from the housekeeping staff to the restaurant staff, everyone gave prompt and friendly service. Special shoutout also to the Naturalist Nayan, who entertained us with informative wildlife documentaries as well as the GM, Pradip.
If you are planning a trip to Tadoba, I highly recommend staying at Tadoba Jungle Camp. I can’t wait to have another safari holiday there, hopefully a longer one. And after this experience, I also want to experience the other properties of Jungle Camps India at Pench, Kanha and Rukhad. Hope to manifest them soon.
Have you been to Tadoba? Do you like going on safari holidays? Let me know in the comments below.