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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Tadoba’s Only Luxury Wildlife Retreat: Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge

As you all know I recently spent an amazing wildlife holiday at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra and I wrote about ‘The Tale of the Tadoba Tigers’ in my previous post. During this visit, I stayed with the Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge, a new luxury property located about 5 kilometers from the Kolara gate of Tadoba.I stayed at this property for 4 days and 3 nights and was thoroughly impressed with their ‘personal luxury wildlife’ concept. Here are some salient highlights of this property and why I liked them so much.

1) Luxurious and yet, connected to the roots

A quick glance into the interiors of the Lake Villa at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge

Wildlife and luxury have always made a fine combination. Those early morning wake up calls, those dusty safaris and that extreme levels of patience in sapping heat and cold…they all call for a certain level of luxury so that you can recover from the physical stress and further relax as you are on your holiday. But, when I say luxury, I am not referring to obnoxious luxury that some 5 star properties provide in the middle of a forest, but a luxury that allows you to connect with the roots of the land.

As the Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge is located in the middle of extremely poor countryside, I am happy that they have kept a very under-the-radar kind of traditional decor, have hired only local help and are giving a lot back to the deserving people of this region.

A luxury wildlife holiday - Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge - Tadoba Tiger Reserve

Designed as eco mud huts, Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge offers 3 kinds of rooms – Lake facing villas, garden facing villas and chalets. All these rooms are stepped in well thought through luxury and provide a lot of space. I absolutely loved their open-air clay bath tubs with gargoyle showers. This is not something that I have seen in any kind of luxury property across the world. Even though I travelled alone on this property, I am a big fan of their 2nd smaller washroom that they call the ‘powder room’. If you are a couple or a family, this will help you catch on that precious extra minutes of sleep and not have to queue in front of one bathroom. Their antique looking furniture combined with new age comfort and an overall wildlife and forest theme will definitely catch your eye.

2) Access to Knowledgeable Naturalists

Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge - Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Trained and well educated naturalists travel with you on all your wildlife safaris. These professionals with their wealth of knowledge and experience on the forest and their denizens offer a totally unique wildlife and nature understanding. The best part is that this wealth of knowledge is not just accessible during the safaris, but at any given point in time during your stay, be it in the library, during your meals or simply during a bird sighting walk around the property. As a wildlife enthusiast, I am more keen on experiencing and understanding the behavior of mother nature than just sighting the prized cats. And these naturalists, they helped me understand the behavior of the big cats, their mating rituals, their killing strategy and much more. Most of my library sessions at the Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge felt like I was inside a jungle book.

3) Service! Service! Service!

Comfort in the laps of mother nature - lake facing Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge

I always love luxury properties who take the quality of service to the next level. As the Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge is  boutique property with a limited number of rooms, they are able to focus extremely well on this service aspect. Right from the room service personnel, security guards, receptionist, masseur, operation managers, chefs to the naturalists, every one wants to make your stay comfortable and happy. The fact that all of them love wildlife is an added bonus. And this ensures that the wildlife stories and conversations never stop coming.

4) Lakeside Location

Lovely Sitout area facing the lake - Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge

The Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge is located by the Lake Maasal. While I was there, the lake was bone dry, but I have been told that a month of rains and the lake will be brimming with water. Most of the lake side rooms literally end into the lake, which means that during the monsoon and the winter season, you can do rich birdwatching right from the comforts of your room’s balcony and outside sitting area. I would love to stay at this property once the lake is full just to see this. The 360 degree outdoor dining area also commands a fantastic view of the lake. Apart from the lake, the property is just a 5 minute drive from the Kolara gate, one of the entrances that offer rich wildlife sightings.

The Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge has everything that I would like in a luxury wildlife retreat. They don’t have a swimming pool, which I am happy about as having a swimming pool in a dry part of the country sounds absurd. They do offer a traditional Ayurveda Spa, nature walks, star gazing nights and delicious food in addition to all of the above.

Traditional Clay Bath Tub and Gargoyle Shower - Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge

It is a perfect place for those seeking quality traditional luxury with a perfect blend of love for wildlife and nature. I would definitely love to visit this place again and be a part of Tadoba’s rich stories once more.

Disclosure: This trip to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve was courtesy of Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge. However, all the thoughts in this article are purely based on my personal experience and has not been in any way influenced by them or anyone else.



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