Once the world begins to return to ‘normal’ and those itchy feet want to travel again, how does a safari in India sound? When ‘safari’ is mentioned, it usually conjures up images of the wild spaces in Africa, but India is one of the Asian countries that offers a diverse range of habitats and an equally good adventure.
There are many lodges and camps offering good accommodation and wildlife experiences, but one that stands out to us is Samode Safari Lodge, a small and intimate hotel on situated on the edge of the Bandhavgarh National Park. Steeped in regal Indian architecture and tradition, this lodge promises guests a true safari adventure along with incredible views and that ever-present inimitable Indian hospitality.
Samode Safari Lodge comprises of just 12 independent villas which are dotted across the expansive property. Each villa offers an elegant living area with a spacious lounge, a separate bedroom with modern en-suite bathroom facilities, a dressing area and a unique open-air bath court. In-room facilities include TV; iPod dock; air-conditioning; minibar; free bottled water; kettle, tea and coffee. The villa also features a private verandah the perfect place to relax with your favourite drink and listen to the sounds of the jungle.
At the heart of the lodge, you’ll find the main lounge. Built on the first floor, with comfortable furniture and tasteful décor, the lounge opens onto a large wooden deck which overlooks the property. This is the perfect place to relax after your safari. Located below the lounge, you’ll find the pool room which also houses the library with a good selection of books to read.
Breakfast and lunch is served in the dining room which is connected via a wooden walkway to the main house. Enjoy delicious and varied gourmet dinners prepared using local ingredients and organic vegetables from the lodge’s own vegetable patch, and served at a different venue each evening from the main restaurant, to an outdoor barbeque, or at a table set out in the bush. A romantic private dinner in your chalet can also be arranged.
For those wanting to take things easy during the day, relax on the comfortable canopy sun beds, take a dip in the infinity pool, or unwind in the heated whirlpool. For the more energetic, enjoy a work-out in the well-equipped gymnasium or jog along the trails around the lodge.
Enjoy two daily game drives in the Bandhavgarh National Park which has a good network of tracks to follow. The customized 4×4 vehicles are designed for maximum comfort and your viewing pleasure and are driven by professionally trained guides. A local tracker and guide from the lodge will accompany you on all game drives and are always willing to impart their in-depth knowledge and regale tales of the bush with you whilst you search for the presence of tigers and other wildlife species such as the barking deer, cheetal and wild dog. Birdwatchers will also be treated to sightings of the black ibis, egret and white-eyed buzzard if they keep a look out! During your stay, you will also have the opportunity to visit the local village and temples.
Samode Safari Lodge has taken care to ensure that only the smallest footprint possible is left on the environment. For trees that were cut down during construction, they have planted more to replace them. Committed to eco-tourism, the lodge has been built around sustainable design without compromising on luxury. The lodge uses solar energy as well as extensive rain harvesting and also owns and operates its own charitable trust which helps the local village to improve sanitation, medical services and infrastructure.