Chambal Safari Lodge is a little off the main track but is a little gem. Best known as a "birding sanctuary" the whole area and the sanctuary along the river is a perfect way to commence a wildlife trip to India. My guide was brilliant - he could spot and identify birds in the distance that I could only see with binoculars and ten times out of ten, he was correct - there are times when less than perfect expertise is preferred but he was good. The river safari was meant to be a couple of hours and turned into four or five and the wildlife was spectacular with gharial, marsh crocs, Indian skimmers, various turtles, various kingfishers, lesser whistling ducks and many many others. I disturbed a mongoose outside my cottage and a big tree adjacent was a roost for flying foxes. The accommodation wasnt 5 star but it was still very good with everything you need. The venue was quiet with the guests being there for one purpose only - nature watching - so everything else was secondary. Food was generally on a buffet basis but was very well prepared. Everything I had was good and was washed down with Masalla chai - what else would you drink in India ! The property is on its way back up having been a family residence for a number of generations until the mid 20th century - it hosted a major horse fayre back in the day but as that declined so did the property. It is now being renovated and looks good as a result. The staff are all locals which is good - another example of inward investment to help with the local community, something India should be proud of. My stay there was all too short but the memories and pictures are something to look back on fondly as this was wholly unexpected. There were several families there during my stay, each fully kitted with discrete blending clothing and camera - you could conclude that this is a serious wildlife destination by those in the know but it is a little less up itself than that - they aim to cover all levels from beginner to expert and do so without patronising you. Brilliant little gem, go and have a look.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A family run eco-lodge nestling in 35 acres of reclaimed land. An oasis of peace, tranquility, and gracious hospitality. An opportunity to explore the Chambal Valley. River Safari for Gharials, Marsh crocodiles, Gangetic river dolphins, and Indian skimmers. Jeep safaris for Black-buck & Sarus cranes. Camel safari to Fort Ater, and excursions to the medieval temple complex at Bateshwar - site of the second largest animal fair in India (Sonepur in Bihar being the largest). Nature walks and village walks. ... more less
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