Ranked as the #1
Speciality Lodge in
Satpura National Park
The Satpura Reserve is one of only two protected forests in India where visitors are allowed the privilege of walking through a designated area.
There’s walking, and then there is learning to place your feet according to the undulations of the landscape, the minor shifts in the undergrowth, and the many variations of mud the jungle can offer. Not to speak of the rather surprising racket that your feet can make across fallen teak leaves.
When you’ve got past the preliminaries; there is landscape that opens out like an ancient text to reveal the hieroglyphs of animal presence, there are trees to touch, birds to follow, and an endless series of insect curiosities to stop and wonder at.
There is something to be said for experiencing this forest at human scale; when you are unmagnified by technology, dwarfed by the hills and by stands of teak and sal turned into cathedrals by birdsong. About the silence that precedes the moment when you ear begins picking up all the forgotten frequencies it was designed for--the entire range of jungle sounds from close by and afar. There is also the that addictive prickle of excitement that comes from animal encounters; ranging from a sounder of wild boar hurtling by, and the sounds of chital or sambhar jogging off, looking back at you curiously, but careful about staying out of range, to somewhat trickier meetings with sloth bears, Indian bison, and leopards
The Walking Safari is best done in small groups, at dawn, or later in the day; a tracker from the reserve will lead, you in the middle, and our naturalist behind you. You will be put through a quick safety-drill—what to do if a surly sloth-bear turns up. And if you’re curious about the bulges in the tracker’s pockets, do ask.