We are back from the jungle! Well, just one word to describe the experience….”fantastic“. Here is the travelogue of our short trip to Kabini River Lodge.
Travel to Kabini :
We started a bit early from Mangalore at around 5.30 AM on Saturday. When we started, it was raining lightly – the pre-monsoon showers, but the rain lasted only upto BC Road. After that, it was very pleasant. I had burnt two mp3 cd’s specially for this trip, and the cd’s came in very handy!. The only problem was the road from Mangalore to Kabini. Infact, there was no road, it was road in between potholes. We hit Madikeri, which is around 136 Kms from Mangalore at around 8.30 AM. We stopped from breakfast at a Udupi restaurant.
We started the next leg of our Madikeri to Kabini. Again, around 140 Kms. Our next major town was Hunsur, and then a small village called H D Kote. Kabini is around 30 Kms from H D Kote. After H D Kote, the forest area begins. Its just dense forest, and you can hardly find any people out there. Right now, its summer, and as a result its pretty dry, and all the trees have shed their leaves. But once the monsoon sets in, it would look like a real dense forest.
The Jungle Road
Kabini is actually a river, which was dammed in 1972. The dam (Kabini Dam), has resulted in a Big lake (or back water) and is kind of a life-line for all the animals in the Nagarhole National Park, specially during the summer season, when the waterholes within the jungle dry up.
We reached the Kabini River Lodge at around 12.15 PM. Total distance traveled : 285 Kms.
Day 1 @ Kabini :
The rooms @ the resort were really good. Really big rooms, with wooden false-roofing. There are tents and cottages too if you are moving there with your family. The place was very peaceful, and cool. We rested for sometime, which was much needed after the continues 6 hr drive!.
Rooms @ Kabini
Came across this Squirrel @ the resort
The lunch was at 1.30 PM, @ Gol Ghar (the name of the restaurant). After lunch, the next program was tea at 3.30 PM, and then the jungle safari at 4 PM. Me and Chitra decided to go around the resort and explore nature from 2.30 PM to 3.30 PM!, and it was worth it!
At 3.30, we had tea/coffee session, and then we had a small briefing by the resort officials about the Nagarhole National Park and the Kabini river. They also told us about the Do’s and Don’t in the forest.
We started the safari at 4 PM as planned. The jungle safari is really worth it. Although we could not get to see any of the popular predators (Tiger, Leopards, Wild dogs), we got to see lot of other wild life and birds. It was really worth it. We got to see lot of spotted dears, the Indian Gaur (similar to Bison), monkeys, and wild elephants.
The Tracks inside the Jungle
A bird! Forgot its Name :(
The Nagarhole national park has one of the highest population of Asiatic elephants, and one can find them in plenty here. They also took us to the edge of the backwater/river. It was very picturesque. I took a lot of snaps here, and some panoramas too!
Playing with Mom
Learning new lessons
The best of it all was, seeing the baby elephant with its mother and family, playing around!
We returned back to the resort at around 7 PM, and then at around 7.45 PM, they showed us a movie no the Nagarhole National Park. The movie was really wonderful, and an eye opener. We could see how the same jungle would look in different seasons, see all the predators, see them hunt etc.. I was told by the officials there that it took around 1.5 years to shoot that movie!, but its really worth the effort. We had the dinner at around 8.30 PM. The food was very good. Both Veg and Non-Veg.
One more Tusker
Day 2 @ Kabini :
The program on Day 2 began at 6 AM with a cup of tea!… and @ 6.30 AM, we had the next safari into jungle. They took us deep into the jungle, where they had organized a elephant ride. After the elephant ride, we again went further into the jungle. We spotted some animals. One of the other groups was lucky to find a wild dog.
We again moved to the banks of the river for the boat ride. Again very scenic in nature. We could see lot of birds, but not many animals on the river bed. The person operating the boat told us that the animals normally come out to drink water late the evening or early morning. It was around 8 AM when we were on the boat. We managed to see an elephant, on the shore, and a few crocodiles in the river.
Scenic! Isn’t it ?
There area were the water is logged now, was earlier dense forest, and because of the dam, some of the forest got submerged in water. Hence one can find lot of trees or logs in the water, and they look beautiful.
After the boat ride, we came back to the resort at around 9 AM. That was around 5.5 hrs of safari – two days combine. We had our breakfast at the resort, and took some rest, and it was time for us to leave. :(
Travel Back to Mangalore :
We checked out of the resort at around 11 AM in the morning. Due to the bad roads, we decided that we take another root to Mangalore. We moved towards mysore, and then took the Mysore-Hassan-Mangalore root. The Kabini-Mysore road was bad, but, the Mysore – Hassan – Mangalore road was just excellent. I hope all our roads where like that! Even the roads in the Ghat section was excellent. We traveled a bit extra, I guess around 75 Kms, but, it really made the drive memorable for us!. We reached Mangalore at around 6.30 PM on Sunday evening.
PS 1: Its really painful to note that the Nagarhole National Park, which has been traditionally named so for centuries together has been renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National Park by the congress government. I strongly feel that this is the biggest insult that one can do to nature. Why should the government get into such dirty politics? Is Rajiv Gandhi such a great Man? Bullshit.
PS 2: Plan your trip to Kabini River Lodge well in advance. The no of rooms are very limited, and its difficult to get bookings at the last minute.