It does feel totally blessed to be able to spend the night literally under the sky with stars and the moon above, in a cottage which has an open roof and is situated near the banks of a river. And am talking about a distance of just 220 plus km from Bangalore. Amazing right?
This place is red earth near Kabini river at a short distance from Nagarhole forest. Back in search of a tiger but this time in Nagarhole, Karnataka. Until friday night (10th Feb 2017), we didn’t have any plan other than an itch to go on a drive. On saturday as soon as we woke up in the morning, called a few numbers here and there and finally got a place to stay, phew! Packed bags and got ready for the drive to Nagarhole.
Self-drive journeys have always been my favorite. Driving on beautiful roads, music, snacking on everything available and the fun plus calm that comes along. All this makes the destination itself worth going to, provided am with someone who really enjoys driving and doesn’t act like one of the warriors on road.
I always find driving on road is like leading your life. You have the option of not becoming part of the race -trying to get ahead and leave others behind. You have the option of not getting disturbed on road by taking into account possibility of mistakes by others while driving carefully yourself. You have the option to give way to others and respect everyone on road irrespective of who he or she is. You have the option of being calm and to enjoy the journey rather than think of reaching the destination in shortest possible time unless you are in a hurry for some reason.
Unfortunately, people who don’t exercise all these options, don’t let others also enjoy the drive.
Weekend trip from Bangalore – Ecotourism in Karnataka
My onward journey was beautiful. We started early in the morning at around 6 am to avoid the warrior become active in us as that time the traffic is usually less. Reached red earth by 10.30 am or so after having taken a breakfast break at our preferred place called Vaishali on the Bangalore-Mysore highway.
How to go to Kabini – Red Earth Resort
Take the Nice road from Bangalore to go to Mysore. Mysore is 1.5 hrs distance. Then you need to drive towards HD Kote via Antharasante. You would see Kabini or Nagarhole mentioned on sign boards. From Mysore to HD Kote and drive straight on the road to Bavali, you will get Antharsanthe. Further, after the police post, drive into Hosmalla village. Follow the route to Red earth from the village (approx. – 3kms). Total km distance was approx.- 220 plus km
Red Earth Resort Kabini – Ecotourism near Bangalore-Celebrate your special day
Though the approach road to the resort was not good but once we entered the resort, it was exactly what we were looking for. This resort Red earth has beautifully built cottages with open-air jacuzzi within each of them. Lots of greenery, flora & fauna, organic food and evening high tea by the river side. Two days at Red earth were quite refreshing given that it is situated on the backwaters of the Kabini dam. Proximity to nature, yet comfortable and romantic for a valentine’s day that we spent here.
Options to stay in Nagarhole
There are some good options to stay near Kabini – Orange County, Kaav, Jungle Lodges, Waterwoods Lodge, Peepal tree and Red Earth to name a few.
For Safari, the best option would be Jungle Lodges since our Karnataka government has given the contract of jeep safaris completely to JLR group. Surprisingly the forest department itself doesn’t run any jeep safari but a canter that too depending on the demand (crowd). The canter ride is only for 1.5 hrs in the morning over weekends when they try to accommodate more people by running two safaris in the morning for 1.5 hrs each. The jeep safari and Kabini river safari are in the domain of JLR.
Other resorts do arrange the jeep safari through JLR, please check before booking or else canter is the option. Other than Safari booking options, I found Red earth to be a great place in Kabini.
Nagarhole forest – Our experience
This forest has some 77 tigers as told by the forest officer to me but we didn’t get to see any during our canter safari. However, we did see deer, sambhar, mongoose, bathing wild elephant, gaur and many birds in the forest. To know about Nagarhole forest read here.
This national park is still not as tourist friendly(commercialized) as other national parks are. There is no online booking system yet and one has to go to the forest department gates to do the bookings from the counter that too only canter is possible. The jeep safaris are run by JLR (Jungles Lodges and resorts) in collaboration with the forest department. If you plan to stay in JLR, then jeep safaris are part of their package.This was our second time to Kabini, last time we had stayed with JLR and had been on river safari as well as jungle safari through them.
This time, we took two safaris to Nagarhole forest in canter in the two days that we were in Red Earth Kabini. Wasn’t quite lucky in terms of sightings but ya this was a wonderful break. As they say, “when things go wrong and you don’t know what to do, just go for a drive”. I did 🙂
Do recommend this place for a weekend destination from Bangalore since driving to Kabini from Bangalore is not at all hectic besides that fact that the forest is always beautiful and the riverside stay adds to rekindle the romance with oneself and life. Looking forward to another safari and another chase for the tiger, soon.