wk 29 – safaris, tiger & tuskers


And so to a lodge with a difference, flashpacking is back on, and we’re booked into a small luxury hotel of the world, on Kabini lake, with our own jacuzzi pool…makes a change from leaking sewer smelling guest rooms with wooden mattresses and dodgy mossie nets…stunning location right on the lake in the middle of two parts of the national park, excellent wildlife guides, and pure indulgence for a few days.

The first safari we take is out onto the lake late afternoon, and we spot a fair amount of wildlife, the light is beautiful, and the birds seem to enjoy perching on the branches poking up out of the top of the lake; the dam was put in place in the 70s, so the water falls down completely leaving grassy savannahs in the summer, we’re mid season so it’s not quite a river waterhole yet.

The next option is a government jeep tour; due to politics the private lodges aren’t allowed to use their own boats/jeeps as of September this year, although the guides think this will change in the near future, with no suspension on roads that look like they’ve been mined for minerals, I was thrown around so much that I could hardly believe my body is such an amazing shock absorber; seemed to come out of it ok, saw lots of animals, no elusive tiger…

The local elephant is ‘leased’ out to the lodge; according to the nature guide he’s the best paid member of the team (!) and we were able to give her a bit of a wash with a coconut, and give her a few pats, her name was fish-eye, little bit older than the teenager at the temple in Hampi, retired from an earlier life of logging.

We left the lodge by boat, crossed the lake, and then drove on to the next wildlife spot.

Wow another chicken…

probably wouldn’t have you instantly leaping to the conclusion that we were in a safari jeep, in one of the most tiger dense wildlife parks in Southern India, but it became the in joke amongst the various backpackers staying at the guest house in Wayanad, it is a bit hard to get excited about a wild chuck when you’re gunning for a tiger! Luckily  a 12 week old puppy arrived to squeals from us all, and was promptly christened tiger…

Aside from the wild fowl, we have been lucky enough to see many elephants including a spectacular tusker;

gaur (huge bison-like cattle), monkeys, a couple of giant squirrels, eagles, kites, kingfishers (on and off the beer label), and so far a rather large fresh tiger paw print. The lodge we’re in now is the same one we visited in 2003 when it first started, and the amazing manager/cook Vishu is still here, and was so excited when we found our entry in the guest book, luckily glowing (!) from back then,

 he used to cook from a tiny room off the main house, now he has a huge kitchen area and we were able to watch and learn from the dinner prep last night, coconut masala egg curry;

steamed banana with cinammon tapioca, and other little yummy dishes. The house is surrounded by green peppercorns and coffee plants, we’re on stilts in a bamboo hut, peaceful…off to the high hill station of Ooty tomorrow for more R&R, miniature railways, waterfalls, cold nights, Kashmir shawls, plantations and views…

4 Comments

  1. I am so looking forward to coconut masala egg curry and steamed banana with cinammon tapioca (at least) when you get back. Yummo!!

  2. omg….coconut masala egg curry! A must try! I love your posts and I am enjoying your trip! I will be in FRANCE and ISRAEL this summer July 12-Aug 15…any chance you will be anywhere near either of these places?

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