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Old 7th June 2014, 00:24   #1
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Thumbs up Call of the Jungle Kabini

March 2014 - My daughter's school (play-home actually) ended and the next academic year starting June 2014 was time for her to start going for the full fledged school. Thought of renovating the house in April with a deadline for that being 20th April.

April 2014 - Daughter's school admission done by 15th April. However things did not work out as planned. The renovation work was completed only by April end.

May 2014 - Had taken considerable amount of leaves in April due to the renovation work. Hence could not plan the vacation during the first 2 weeks of May. Then came 15th May, checked out for accommodations available in Kabini. None were available till 27th May. I had to make this vacation happen ASAP as my daughter's school was starting on 04th June. Finally got the bookings done. Stay and safaris confirmed at "The Bison Resort" in Kabini for 28th & 29th May. Stay at "The Paradise Hotel" in Mysore for 30th May. There is a twist here and will talk about it later

28th May:- Wildlife is one of my hobbies. Just could not sleep peacefully the previous night thinking about how the wildlife sightings might be in the next 2 days. This happens every time I plan for a vacation in the jungle. All set and we hit the road exactly at 5.45 AM. As it was a weekday, there was not much of traffic. Had to drive at speeds (60 - 70 KM/H) as my daughter loves long drives at moderate speeds.

This was my 7th visit to Kabini and the last 12 KMS used to be bad. This time to my surprise, the last stretch was tarred and laying of roads for the last 2 KMS or so was being done. Took 2 pit-stops and reached "The Bison Resort" - Kabini exactly at 12 PM

Every time I visit this resort, my experience with them gets better and better. Mr. Shaaz Jung (owner & naturalist), Mr. Dan & Mr. Rahul (managers) are a bunch of wonderful, knowledgeable & enthusiastic guys. This is the only resort in Kabini with a view (facing) the jungle. We even saw a couple of elephants from the camp on the evening of day 2.

We stayed in their signature African style tents which has a view of the Kabini backwaters and the jungle. The tents are spacious & clean. The food is simple and tasty. The service is also very good. They give special attention to kids & their needs. This was my 3rd visit to their resort and I must say this would be my preferred resort in Kabini.

Mr. Shaaz is a very knowledgeable naturalist and knows the terrain of the forest like the back of his palm. His tracking skills are the best. You need to see it to believe it. Thanks to him, we had 2 Tiger sightings and 1 Leopard sighting. I am not into photography. The snaps posted below are the best I could do with my humble point & shoot camera

28th May Evening safari

We got into the jeep & were at the forest entry gate by 3.50 PM. The permission/checking was done and by 4 PM we were into the jungle. The whole of afternoon was cloudy with heavy lightening & thunder. We were allotted zone B. As soon as we entered, we saw a peacock dancing right in the middle of the road with its beautiful feathers open. This kind of made be believe the saying/superstition that a peacock usually dances with its feathers open when it senses that it rains. We did maintain some distance to get some good pictures. The guys with good camera gear started firing away. By now it was quite cloudy and we expected to rain anytime

As we continued, there was a Langur alarm call. There was a rush of excitement in us & Mr. Shaaz guided the jeep driver in the direction from where he felt the alarm call came. He spotted a couple of Langurs and was sure that one of these Langurs had seen a predator. We stopped at an intersection with the jeep’s engine switched off. There was a small herd of Gaurs to our left who were confused due to alarm calls of the Langurs who were to our right on top of the Teak & Crocodile bark trees. None of us were sure if it was a Tiger or a Leopard. Ten minutes of waiting and the driver first spotted the king of Indian jungle walking through the lantana towards the safari track. This was the famous & boldest Tiger in Kabini (The backwater male). He was around 100 meters from our jeep and it looked like he was stalking the herd of Gaurs to make a kill.

The Gaurs had still not seen him and he quickly walked (typical stalking mode walk) till the safari track and hid behind one of the trees. The Gaurs by now had sensed danger but did not know where the predator was. The tiger then crossed the safari track and hid himself in the Lantana bushes. There were only 2 jeeps who witnessed all this. By this time it started raining heavily. Two Gaurs from the herd kind of sensed where the Tiger was hiding in the bushes and turned in that direction and started giving the snorting kind of alarm calls. All this is happening when it is raining cats & dogs with loud thunders. We waited for around 20 to 30 minutes there expecting some action but nothing happened after that. We then went down the same safari track as we could hear Elephants trumpeting.

We did not see any Tiger tracks there but were told later by guests in another jeep that they saw a glimpse of the same Tiger crossing that path. Some pictures of this safari & resort below.

To be Contd….
Attached Thumbnails
Call of the Jungle  Kabini-tiger.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-tiger-1.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-elephants.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-elephants-1.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-eagle.jpg  

Attached Images

Last edited by Torque123 : 7th June 2014 at 00:25.
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Old 7th June 2014, 11:38   #2
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Default Re: Call of the Jungle Kabini

Never mind the quality of the pics, Torque. You teleported us to Kabini with your log. Great that you and your family were able to have a look at His Majesty in his lair. Please post more pics of the resort. The pics in their website look fabulous. Btw, what are the present tariffs for the Tents?
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Old 9th June 2014, 13:01   #3
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May 29th - I was the only one from the resort going for the morning safari. Entered the forest at 6.20 AM. Was allotted Zone A. The safari was quite uneventful. Saw a couple of Elephants and the usual game like Deer, Wild Boar etc. I guess around 4 to 5 Jeeps were allotted Zone A for that safari. Only 1 Jeep managed to get a glimpse of a tigress (Tiger Tank Female) crossing the road. When we reached the spot the Jeep had already spotted the tigress crossing the road and were waiting a little ahead expecting her to move. But nothing happened.

Evening Safari - Had a lot of expectation from this safari as the day was quite hot and there was no sign of rain. However got into the Jeep & were informed by Mr. Shaaz that we were allotted Zone A. We entered the forest at 4 PM sharp. Ours was the second Jeep to enter the zone. We went to a couple of waterholes but there was nothing. There were no alarm calls either. However we saw a Shikra (smallest raptor) in India hunt a jungle Mynaa. Then we were on Old MM road when our driver got a call from one of the other Jeep drivers that they had spotted a leopard at a waterhole which quite far from where we were. The leopard had however not crossed the road and had instead gone into the bushes. The other Jeep had waited but had left expecting it to cross another safari track.

However Mr Shaaz and the driver were to take a call where we need to go. The Jeep which had spotted the leopard had informed our driver where they would be waiting as they had expected the Leopard to cross that track. Our driver wanted to follow what was told.

However Mr. Shaaz, suggested our driver to go to the same place where the other Jeep had spotted the Leopard first. He said as there is a waterhole near the place where the Leopard was first spotted, it is highly unlikely for Leopard to be spotted in the place the other Jeep was waiting now.

It was around 5 PM now. He was right. As we were almost near the spot where the Leopard was first spotted, Mr Shaaz said Leopard Leopard....He asked all of us to remain silent. Our driver parked the Jeep as close as possible to the Leopard. It was a male and Mr. Shaaz has named him "Torn Ears" as it has small cuts on its ears.

The Leopard was sitting in an upright position looking at a herd of deer which were opposite to our Jeep. May be it wanted to hunt. The deer moved a little towards the waterhole on our right and the Leopard was kind of crouching and walked into the Lantana to our left. We then reversed the Jeep for a little distance and waited expecting the Leopard to cross the safari track and go in the direction of the waterhole.

There was only one other Jeep apart from ours and it was right opposite to us facing us. We had left enough gap between the Jeeps assuming the Leopard would cross the track between the 2 Jeeps. However the Leopard had moved towards the other Jeep and in say 5 minutes it crossed the road as Mr. Shaaz had assumed. However it crossed the track behind the Jeep which was parked opposite to us. It was may be max 6 feet from the back of the other jeep when it crossed the track. By now the Langurs were creating a ruckus by giving alarm calls. The Leopard then again went into the Lantana and made itself comfortable. It was definitely on a hunt. We waited there for another 10 to 15 minutes but the Leopard never moved.

I did not take pictures of this sighting but have videos. I am not sure how to post videos here as i do not see any option to upload videos. Can anybody guide me with this? I would be more than happy to post the videos.

By now it was around 5.30 PM. We were quite far from the jungle exit. We went to another waterhole and saw a herd of Gaurs. We had another 20 minutes to come out of the jungle. We moved the Jeep and the last waterhole on exit and the first waterhole when we enter Zone A is called Hoskere. We had passed this waterhole 3 times already today. This was the 4th time we were going near this waterhole as Mr.Shaaz was expecting a cat sighting here.

He was again right. The backwater male (the one we had seen the previous day) was relaxing in the waterhole. We spent good 15 minutes with thus guy. The flies and mosquitoes were disturbing him and he swayed his tail every now and then to get rid of them. The same Jeep which was with us during the Leopard sighting also arrived. But they had hardly 5 minutes on their hand to spend time with this Tiger.

Mr. Shaaz has named this guy "Euco". In all my Kabini trips, this has been my fourth sighting of this Tiger. This guy never lets me down. He had crossed the road from Zone B to Zone A and was relaxing in this waterhole. We were expecting him to getup from the waterhole and walk and give us some more good pics. However he sat in the waterhole and looked at us a couple of times.

It was time for us to come out of the jungle. With a heavy heart we had to move on but "EUCO" still was in the waterhole.

We came back to the resort in high spirits discussing about the sightings. I must say we are really lucky to have sighted the Leopard and the Tiger in 1 single safari. This was the second time it has happened to us. The first time we saw a Leopard and Tiger in the same safari was in Zone B (Leopard is named "Scarface" and the Tiger was again "EUCO").

Mr. Shaaz showed the pictures he had taken during the safari and I became an even bigger fan of his photography. We enjoyed the campfire, had dinner and retired for the day.

Below are few pictures of the safari. I have videos of the Tiger sighting as well. Please let me know how I can post them.
Attached Thumbnails
Call of the Jungle  Kabini-peacock.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-shikra.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-serpent-eagle.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-tiger-1.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-tiger-2.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-tiger.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-elephant.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-elephant1.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-gaur-1.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-gaur.jpg  

Call of the Jungle  Kabini-sambar.jpg  

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Old 9th June 2014, 13:30   #4
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Default Re: Call of the Jungle Kabini

May 30th - The morning safari was again uneventful. Not posting much about it. Just enjoyed the early morning weather & sounds in the jungle.

Came back to the resort, had breakfast. Was ready by 10.30 Am. Thanked Mr. Shaaz, Mr. Dan & Mr. Rahul for their great hospitality and was on my way to Mysore. Reached Mysore by 12.30 PM. Checked into the The Paradise hotel. This is decent hotel but the food is not all that great.

Not documenting much of the sightseeing in Mysore as I do not find it special any more. The only well maintained tourist attractions in Mysore are the Palace & the Zoo. The Brindavan Gardens has not been maintained and i was shocked to see the state in which it is now.

Had dinner at Paradise Hotel where we had taken up the accomodation also and retired for the day. This is a decent hotel but the food is not all that great. It will remind you of the old Mysore (say 10 years back).

Next day got ready and left at 9 AM. Had to reach Bangalore as we had to attend one of my friend's wedding reception. Had breakfast at "Right O" just before Mandya and were leaving for Bangalore.

I was seeing all those vehicles which were going in opposite direction (it was Saturday). I was feeling bad that our vacation had come to an end and we were going back to Bangalore that too on a Saturday when everybody was heading out. Suddenly my wife saw my dull face and said "Cheer up, Lets go back to Kabini". I asked her if she was serious. She said yes. I was like a 18th year old who has just got his new bike & liscence.

Called up and asked Mr. Shaaz if the resort was fully booked. He said he had accomodation available. Promised him that I would reach the resort by 1.30 PM. All the staff and Mr. Shaaz were surprised and happy to see us back again. Had lunch and were ready for the safari.

I am not posting any pictures of this safari as we saw the usual game. No cats this time around. Did sight a pack of wild dogs (it was a small pack of 3). I do not have good/decent pics of this. All are blurred/shaky.

Overall this trip has been the most memorable one. The only animal we missed was the Sloth bear. But it was like asking for too much.

Next day we checked out and reached Bangalore by 6 PM. Hope to visit Kabini again soon but this time with an intention to only relax. The sightings will be very difficult as the monsoon has almost started and the Jungle was already quite green.

Thank you all for reading/viewing this travelogue. Comments & critics are welcome.

Last edited by Torque123 : 9th June 2014 at 13:33.
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Old 10th June 2014, 17:56   #5
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th June 2014, 18:07   #6
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Originally Posted by venkatt1800 View Post
Never mind the quality of the pics, Torque. You teleported us to Kabini with your log. Great that you and your family were able to have a look at His Majesty in his lair. Please post more pics of the resort. The pics in their website look fabulous. Btw, what are the present tariffs for the Tents?
I do not have more pics of the resort presently. Will look for pictures of the resort from my previous visit and then post it. However the tariff was Rs 5,750 per person per day (includes stay, breakfast & all 2 times meals). The safari charges are Rs 1350 per person per safari.
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