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Old 29th April 2016, 18:16   #1
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Default Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

Yet another trip to Jungle Retreat and the lady luck smiled on us in the form of a Tigress.

I had a tough month at work and Jungle Retreat was the ideal hideout for a weekend. Details on Jungle retreat are available on my old travelogue http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...r-wayanad.html (Looking for the ever elusive Tiger in Tirunelly forest near Wayanad)

Our ride (snap take on Bodi Munnar road in Dec, 15)

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-20151228-11.47.02.jpg

Me and wife (Jr is in native for his summer vacation) started at 4.15 AM on Saturday, took NH 275 to Mysore. I was expecting empty roads, but traffic was more than expected till Ramanagra. Rest of the jurney was smooth, we decided to proceed through Mysore and took the ring road and headed towards Hunsur.

We missed carrying our camera due to some glitches and had to resort to mobile cams for the whole trip, regret the poor quality of the snaps.

We had a 20mts coffee break at Café Coorg Hunsur and headed towards Nagerhole. Roads are patchy in some stretches, but nothing to trouble the Fortuner. Soon we hit the forest gate, it has got a makeover in a new board and a sliding gate.

Nagerhole Gate

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1433.jpg
We proceeded at a very slow pace with glasses down enjoying the lovely early morning forest weather. Sighting was limited to usual Deers, Gaurs, Wild Boar, jungle fowl etc.

Jungle fowl at its colorful best

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1438.jpg

Domestic Mother and Calf

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1440.jpg

Forest was full of stags

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1447.jpg

Miss took for a bear when it was behind the bush, but it was our humble wild boar

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1452.jpg

Hot Kerala breakfast was waiting for us at Jungle Retreat, we had our breakfast over a conversation with our lovely hosts Anil (is BHPian), his wife Anju and Anil’s parents. Anil shared stories about a Makhna Elephant (tusk less male) which broke in to the farm previous night and had to be chased away considering safety of the guests, his encounter with a sub adult tiger on very close quarter while on foot etc. Jungle Retreat as usual was running full, we settled in our room, had a late lunch, tea etc and waited for evening action to start in the farm.

Action ground in front of Jungle Retreat

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1459.jpg


TIGER on the main road: Anil suggested we can drive down to his another property that is bordered by a jungle stream and forest and have a campfire with some food there. We started around 7.40 pm with another family accompanied by Anil/Anju and with resort naturalist Manu at the wheels of an open Mahindra jeep. Hardly 1 km in to the drive on the main road towards Tirunelly temple, my wife spotted a tiger sitting near the main road in the jeep headlight. Anil identified it as the resident full grown Tigress, Manu stopped the jeep and we could manage few hasty shots on the mobile in the no light situation. She would have just sat there or would have attempted crossing the road, but there came another vehicle and she lost her nerve and just disappeared back in to the forest.

Queen of Tirunelly

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1460.jpg

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-tiger-1.jpg

Anil being an expert in animal behavior and tracking suggested waiting there for some more time assuming Tigress will come back to cross the road. It was a full moon night, we waited in the open jeep for the Tigress to return depending on Anil and Manus skills to spot her. Luck was against us and more vehicles started coming on the road and we had to abandon the plan after around half an hour of wait.

Campfire under the moonlight near the jungle stream with Soup, Tapioca with some freshly ground fiery chilly chutney was awesome. Icing on the cake was the presence of the tribal person Chaathan, his key role is to warn us if Elephants decide to raid the campfire site. We were instructed to get on a nearby narrow bridge that is supposed to be beyond the reach of Elephants (I don’t believe that!). Chaathan has the capability to detect Elephant presence from the smell (provided wind is in our favor) and we were dependent on him for all our safety. There were people flashing torches from their houses at some distance, we understood from Anil and Manu that it is used to signal presence of wildlife to others. Local vehicles used different patterns of flashing the light to signal presence of a lone elephant or a herd on the road. Campfire went eventless and we looked for the Tiger on the way back with no luck.

Chaathan - our safety was in his hands, he is busy making some chutney to go with the tapioca


Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1464.jpg

That's me smiling

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1462.jpg


Back at the farm, Anil suspected the Makhna has broken in due to fresh smell of broken bamboo, both Manu and Anil went around with flashlights and ensured all is safe for the guests. There was a huge tusker in the field during the night, but he never bothered to trouble us. We retired around 11.30 PM and had a good sleep

Jungle Lodges (JLR) has started operating a safari from Nagehole safari point, this is around 2 hours and will be in an open jeep or canter; Jungle Retreat has a tie-up with this safari that enables you to book this as part of your package. We have been hearing about the big cat sightings during the summer around the waterholes and booked the early morning 6.30 safari (probably not the appropriate one to catch the cats near waterhole, but we didn’t want to miss the evening fun in the Jungle Retreat). We were ready to start to the Nagerhole gate by 5.30 AM, Manu was up by then and has done his rounds in the campus to ensure there are no elephants waiting to give us a surprise when we walk to the parking. He was also thoughtful enough to provide a hot tea and bottle of water for the trip. It was thick fog all around when I started driving and visibility even with all lights on was very limited and mist was forming on the windshield. It took some time for us to get the temperature and blower in right settings after which things were fine except for the limited visibility due to the fog.

Misty roads - 5.45 am, 20 Deg C

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1470.jpg


We saw a huge tusker and few Gaurs on the way and reached the gate by 6.30 AM. One Mahindra Balero and a Tata pcik-up from JLR arrived by 6.40, we chose the Balero and safari started by 6.45 AM. There was no separate Naturalist like in other JLR safaris and the driver was doubling as the naturalist (I missed checking with Anil if this was expected). There was slight chill in the air when we started and early morning drive through the jungle was so refreshing. Our first sighting was a herd of Gaurs and soon followed by a Tortoise scrambling to the water edge. Every one keep looking for the cats, but luck was not on our side. This is where the presence of a dedicated naturalist can be crucial, in all my earlier sightings with JLR safaris, except for situations where there were clear alarm calls, we could have easily missed the cats if not for the well trained eyes of the naturalist (driver doubling in that role may not be able to do justice here). We spotted 2 huge tuskers munching on bamboos at different occasions. Then we came across a herd of elephants grazing with 4 adults and 1 calf. Our driver stopped the jeep near the happy family, they never felt threatened and continued their feast and started coming closer to our jeep. I noticed there were some moment in the bushes at a distance and thought there is another elephant hiding there. We were about to move after 10 mts, then we saw calf with very small tusks hiding in the bushes. We stopped near the calf, he was at his playful best trying to climb a tree, uproot the bushes etc and give us nice feast. It was surprising the mother and heard were never threatened though we had stopped near the calf and never bothered to even check on the calf. After providing some entertainment, our tiny tusker joined his mother and the family moved on. We were back at the farm by 9.30 and had a big breakfast.

Mother and first calf

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1487.jpg

Our Hero, the tiny tusker

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-img_1510.jpg

After settling the bill and a photo session with Anil, Anju , Manu and rest of the folks we started our return. I had plans to take the Kattikulam, HD Kote road and return via Kanakpura, but Anil mentioned about tiger spotting chances near couple of spots on Nagerhole road during noon. So we stuck to the Nagerhole road, but spotting was limited to a tusker and usual set of deer. On the way back Google maps suggested turning at Yelwale to Srirangapatna (vai Mysore was showing 17 mts slower) and we decided to go with Google. Most of the areas are freshly laid and the left out broken patches was not an issue with the Fortuner. We had a break in Mandya CCD on the way and got a feeler of the heat there, AC in CCD was failing to provide any relief and we quickly retired to the comfort of the Fortuner AC. Mysore to Bangalore traffic was heavy as usual, drive from Mysore to home would have taken around 3 hrs.

I have lost count on the no of trips made to Jungle Retreat, but I’m sure we will never get bored of it. Waiting for Jr to be back to hit the forest again.

Before I stop, one last snap from my previous trip to Kabani

Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!-tirunelly3.jpg

Last edited by gadadhar : 29th April 2016 at 18:17.
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Old 1st May 2016, 19:40   #2
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

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Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
we waited in the open jeep for the Tigress to return
Pretty bold of you!
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I have lost count on the no of trips made to Jungle Retreat, but I’m sure we will never get bored of it.
And we hope that you never do get bored of it.

Beautiful pictures! Seems like an amazing adventure.
Enjoyed this as well as the previous Jungle Retreat.
Looking forward to many more travelogues to the retreat some more pics.
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Old 1st May 2016, 22:15   #3
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

Thank you, the flashing of the lights by the locals and the local drivers are new information to me. Also, the experience from chathan would have been too good! Did he have some stories to share?

Yes, Jungle Retreat Wayanad is an awesome property and Anil is a wonderful host. Have been there on two occasions but yet to spot a cat. Good that you were able to spot one.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 16:59   #4
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

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Originally Posted by Omkar View Post
Pretty bold of you!


And we hope that you never do get bored of it.

Beautiful pictures! Seems like an amazing adventure.
Enjoyed this as well as the previous Jungle Retreat.
Looking forward to many more travelogues to the retreat some more pics.
Thanks Omkar, we were dependent on Anil's experience while waiting in the darkness, it was a different experience altogether

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Originally Posted by govigov View Post
Thank you, the flashing of the lights by the locals and the local drivers are new information to me. Also, the experience from chathan would have been too good! Did he have some stories to share?

Yes, Jungle Retreat Wayanad is an awesome property and Anil is a wonderful host. Have been there on two occasions but yet to spot a cat. Good that you were able to spot one.
All the stories were narrated by Anil, he has a very rich repository, make sure you keep aside some time during the next visit. I have been there many times in the past, but the tiger used to evade us always.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 20:48   #5
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

Lucky guy there. Tiger beside the road. Have had multiple trips to Jungle Retreat Wayanad, each time you have a new experience with the wildlife there. The day I had been there, the same Makhna had barged into the farm, Manu and his boys managed to chase it away to a safe distance and the next morning, elephants in the farm where you have the camp fire.

Manu and myself with another couple was off to the edge of the farm, where we found a spotted deer kill and surely the big cat was around. With the couple being jittery, I requested Manu that we got back, if not, we would have tracked it down. Anil does share his vast knowledge of the wildlife. I picked up a trick or two from him and it has certainly helped.

Your thread makes the urge in me to get there again
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Old 4th May 2016, 16:51   #6
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

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Lucky guy there. Tiger beside the road. Have had multiple trips to Jungle Retreat Wayanad, each time you have a new experience with the wildlife there. The day I had been there, the same Makhna had barged into the farm, Manu and his boys managed to chase it away to a safe distance and the next morning, elephants in the farm where you have the camp fire.

Manu and myself with another couple was off to the edge of the farm, where we found a spotted deer kill and surely the big cat was around. With the couple being jittery, I requested Manu that we got back, if not, we would have tracked it down. Anil does share his vast knowledge of the wildlife. I picked up a trick or two from him and it has certainly helped.

Your thread makes the urge in me to get there again
Sounds like Makhna has become a regular visitor, good part is he is keen only on food and doesn't bother to trouble any.

Spotting a kill on foot is thrilling, Did Manu tell you about his experience with a tiger on kill while on foot , if not please ensure you ask him next time.
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Old 4th May 2016, 17:03   #7
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

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Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
Sounds like Makhna has become a regular visitor, good part is he is keen only on food and doesn't bother to trouble any.

Spotting a kill on foot is thrilling, Did Manu tell you about his experience with a tiger on kill while on foot , if not please ensure you ask him next time.
Just spoke to Manu, it is the same tigress that we were trying to track it down. There was a sub adult tiger too which Anil had mentioned. I think they tigress and the male cub has finally separated.

I may head there again very soon.
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Old 4th October 2016, 20:28   #8
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

Loved it! I am planning a trip to Jungle Retreat later this month. I am sure that from Kutta on wards to Jungle retreat the road is good. How about the Nagarhole road to Kutta? Last time I drove it was cratered. I drive a smaller i10, so you know my concerns

To bother you more with your Jungle Retreat experiences, I have heard that there have been many Tiger and Leopard sightings inside the farm. Is it safe enough for us to walk around? I have a 5 year old daughter who loves safaris.
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Old 5th October 2016, 17:09   #9
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

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Loved it! I am planning a trip to Jungle Retreat later this month. I am sure that from Kutta on wards to Jungle retreat the road is good. How about the Nagarhole road to Kutta? Last time I drove it was cratered. I drive a smaller i10, so you know my concerns

To bother you more with your Jungle Retreat experiences, I have heard that there have been many Tiger and Leopard sightings inside the farm. Is it safe enough for us to walk around? I have a 5 year old daughter who loves safaris.
It was broken and patched in many stretches, but nothing that i10 cannot handle comfortably

There is no reason for you to be concerned unless there is a man eater reported in that area and we have not heard about any. Moreover they have an electric fence around the cottages and animals are found in the field outside the cottage area. Please go ahead and enjoy the safari and wildlife with your little one.
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Old 5th October 2016, 17:15   #10
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

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Originally Posted by Tygerman View Post
Loved it! I am planning a trip to Jungle Retreat later this month. I am sure that from Kutta on wards to Jungle retreat the road is good. How about the Nagarhole road to Kutta? Last time I drove it was cratered. I drive a smaller i10, so you know my concerns

To bother you more with your Jungle Retreat experiences, I have heard that there have been many Tiger and Leopard sightings inside the farm. Is it safe enough for us to walk around? I have a 5 year old daughter who loves safaris.
Dont worry about the roads, the i10 can easily handle it. The road from Veeranahosahalli to Nallikere forest office is patched up. But do what out for the humps. Nallikere to the forest checkpost towards Kutta side is ashphalted. Forest Gate to Kutta is a bit bumpy but nothing to worry at all.

Kutta to Jungle Retreat road is very good but quite narrow at a few places, so do watch out.

As with any forest roads drive slow and enjoy the surroundings.

Resort is safe as a house so dont worry. Do not go out alone on foot without a guide/resort guy, especially outside the electric fencing after dark.
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Old 26th October 2016, 19:52   #11
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

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Dont worry about the roads, the i10 can easily handle it. The road from Veeranahosahalli to Nallikere forest office is patched up. But do what out for the humps. Nallikere to the forest checkpost towards Kutta side is ashphalted. Forest Gate to Kutta is a bit bumpy but nothing to worry at all.
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Unfortunately I could not make it to Jungle retreat, but had a great experience. I drove over in the Kabini range of Nagarhole and the Nalkeri forest area over and over again and tracked some alarm calls which were constantly coming up by the sides of the main road. Eventually I did see what I wanted to - A fully grown subadult Tiger. He wanted to cross the road and all of a sudden stumbled in front of my car. He was caught unaware and hurriedly made a U turn back to the thicket. My joy knew no bounds of a dream come true after 2 years of my previous sightings.

This was one of the best drives I have ever made. I initially started of from Pune. I was driving an i10 Nextgen, Kappa 2. Pune-Bangalore-Nagarhole-Kutta-Mananthavady-Kannur was my route. Broke my journey at Bangalore. When I reached Kannur the next day, I had done 1200 kms.

I live in Kannur, Kerala. 2 days later, I started on a wildlife trail (disappointed that I could not plan "Jungle retreat") on my own. I started from my home in Kannur at 6am in the morning. Kannur-Mananthavady-Katikulam-Kabini forest check post was the first leg. I drove back through the forest and went to the Kuruwa island - unfortunately closed. I then moved towards Kutta. Kuruwa island-Katikulam-Tholpetty Wildlife sanctuary-Kutta-Nalkeri forests. On the way back is when I encountered the Male Tiger I am contended - both for the sighting and the drive. I did Nalkeri-Kutta-Manthavady-Kannur and was back home at 9pm. Indeed a great day! In all, from the start of the day I clocked around 400 kms (roundtrip)

Wildlife sighted during the circuit - Elephants, Chital Deer (in plenty), Wild boar, Gaurs, Monitor Lizards, Tortoise, Sambhar deer, crested hawk eagle, Ruddy Mongoose - and the icing on the cake - The Tiger. What a blessed day!

Thanks all. My i10 took the roads like a walk in the park
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Last edited by Aditya : 27th October 2016 at 10:48. Reason: Only two smileys permitted per post
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Old 14th November 2016, 18:36   #12
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Default Re: Jungle Retreat Wayanad, and a Tigress!

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I drove over in the Kabini range of Nagarhole and the Nalkeri forest area over and over again and tracked some alarm calls which were constantly coming up by the sides of the main road. Eventually I did see what I wanted to - A fully grown subadult Tiger. He wanted to cross the road and all of a sudden stumbled in front of my car. He was caught unaware and hurriedly made a U turn back to the thicket. My joy knew no bounds of a dream come true after 2 years of my previous sightings.
WOW... Spotting tiger on the main road, can't ask for more. There are few spots in that stretch known for tiger crossings. Try and make it to the Jungle Retreat sometime, it is worth it.
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