Indian safari lodges: The Big Six

Traditional-style huts, elusive big cats and communal jungle platforms

Jawai Leopard Camp, Rajasthan

Flamingos, cranes and nomadic Rabari herdsmen dot the landscape around this new safari camp which opened late last year. Look closely, and you might spy a leopard on the rocks. There's a thriving population of these elusive big cats surrounding the camp – where spots take priority over the traditional tiger stripes that lure most travellers to Rajasthan. Early-morning game drives are on hand to synchronise guests with their nocturnal lifestyles. During the rest of the day, walking safaris with local guides aim to tire visitors out before a trip to the Sujan Spa, followed by a night under the stars in one 10 canvas tents.

Jawai Leopard Camp, Rajasthan (00 91 11 4617 2700; sujanluxury.com). Doubles from INR53,000 (£528), all inclusive.

Baghvan, Madhya Pradesh

This Taj Safari lodge stands within Pench National Park, one of six tiger reserves in the central state of Madhya Pradesh and the setting for Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Each of the camp's 12 bungalows is ornately fitted out with canopied beds, Indian art works and inlaid furniture. Outside, a pool provides space for lazy afternoons, in between morning and evening game drives, which aim to spot tigers, leopards, wild dogs, Indian bison and sambar deer.

Baghvan, Pench, Madhya Pradesh (00 91 7695 232829; tajhotels.com). Doubles from INR87,200 (£869), all inclusive.

Orange County, Karnataka

Orange County Resorts opened its first property in the Western Ghats of Karnataka 20 years ago. In 2007, it opened a second, on the edge of the River Kabini – between Bandipur and Nagarhole national parks. At the newer camp, the 30 traditional-style huts were built to resemble the villages of the local Kadu Kuruba tribe. Private pools add luxury and offer the ideal space for relaxing after a day out spotting muntjak, langurs, tigers and leopards.

Orange County, Kabini, Karnataka (00 91 8228 269 100; orangecounty.in). Doubles from INR27,000 (£269), all inclusive.

Oberoi Vanyavilas, Rajasthan

This jungle sits on the edge of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. Set in landscaped gardens, it features 25 spacious tents, draped in rich fabrics, with sleigh baths and four-poster beds. Elsewhere, there's also a pool, shaded by decorative umbrellas, and a restaurant, adorned with frescos. Game drives in Ranthambore are operated by the forest department, so be sure to book safari activities 90 days prior to visiting, via the National Park website.

Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambore Natioal Park, Rajasthan (00 91 7462 22 3999; oberoihotels.com). Doubles start at INR44,500 (£443), room only.

Samode, Madhya Pradesh

Bandhavgarh National Park boasts one of the highest densities of Bengal tiger in the world, along with a breeding leap of leopards. Largely made up of Sal forest, it claims 25 species of mammals, 250 birds and 80 butterflies. Close by, you'll find Samode, with a string of private villas, furnished with atmospheric antiques, outdoor baths and wooden decks. The park authority runs two drives a day, but Samode is also authorised to offer its own private 4x4 excursions.

Samode, Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh (00 91 141 263 2370; samode.com/safarilodge). Doubles from INR55,000 (£548), all inclusive.

Diphlu River Lodge, Assam

In the north-eastern state of Assam, Diphlu River Lodge specialises in seeing the world's largest population of Indian rhinoceros and elephant in their natural habitat. Opened in 2008, it features 12 cottages decked out in warm, red fabrics and The Macha – a communal "jungle platform" – where guests can congregate to scan the riverbank for signs of life. Game-viewing is focused on the Kaziranga National Park, but excursions to the area's tea plantations are also offered.

Diphlu River Lodge, Kaziranga, Assam (00 91 361 266 7871; diphluriverlodge.com). Doubles from INR30,000 (£299), all inclusive.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness