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Holiday review by Henrietta Soffe

Name: Henrietta Soffe
Date of trip: 24/11/2012
Number of people: 2
Country: India

Overall level of Satisfaction

 
Tribes Overall: "Wildlife and birds exceeded expectations, particularly in Bandhavgarh and Kanha. Having been to Goa recently and visited Sri Lanka five times, we were not too optimistic about seeing many new birds but, with the expert help of guides at the above two parks, were amazed at all the new sightings.  "
 
Tribes Service: "All aspects of Tribes input were excellent. However, the same cannot be said for the ground operator. On arrival at the Delhi hotel we were presented with their version of our itinerary which differed in several important ways from that received from Tribes - eg one night only at Kanha Jungle Lodge plus two elsewhere at Kisli gate; shared jeep at Kanha; hotel vouchers missing entire days/nights; transfer from Mumbai domestic to international airports to be taken by complimentary shuttle. I strongly pointed out errors and eventually these details were changed, we were met in Mumbai and transferred by car. However, all these documents were supposed to be corrected and brought to us on departure from Delhi - only a driver appeared and NO DOCUMENTS. In the end Travel Inn paid our small bar bill in Pench to compensate but I don't feel they are giving the standard of service you probably expect from them. Thanks very much Paul for your efforts booking our Jet seats - outbound flight was packed with only random single seats available."
 
Guides: "Naturalist at Bandhavgarh Tree House Hideaway (Chitsi?? known as Kay) was really excellent and passionate about birds. Also Vinay at Kanha Jungle Lodge - very patient and knowledgeable. Pench guides were impatient and only intent on 'alarm calls' and pug marks! The driver supplied by Radiant was Anil - fantastic driver, even on some truly dreadful stretches of roads, always obliging and prompt. He drove for us throughout the trip."
 
Social & Environmental Responsibility: "Our opinions of the animals being quite content with tourists was confirmed with some wildlife viewed from only a few metres away. It did seem that the park guides were mostly just there for the ride though two were quite knowledgeable and keen to participate. One at Pench even left our vehicle to urinate behind the jeep - risking a fine and suspension, doing the very thing he was there to prevent ..."

Accommodation

 
Tree House Hideaway
The tree houses are attractive but without any insulation whatsoever - just wooden boards for floor, walls and roof - so extremely cold in winter and must be unbearably hot in summer. Had ongoing problems with lack of hot water - maintenance man and local plumber both failed to solve the matter so bathroom completely flooded twice after burst pipes and finally no water at all on last night. However, manager offered to move us (but it was 21.30 on our last night) and also gave us a complimentary bottle of his cheapest Indian wine which, at about £33 a bottle, was very expensive (exactly same wine bought in local village 'toddy shop' at £10!)
 
Pench Jungle Camp
Well established lawns/gardens in front of main building but all the rest in absolute chaos. The \'de luxe\' cottage was small, dark and had a tiny \'double\' bed so we moved to a much more spacious and pleasant tent. Food less than mediocre but very helpful staff, especially Javed on Reception who dealt with our problems with our ground handler.  Not impressed with their guides/naturalists at all.

Our Memories

"Late one afternoon at Kanha we saw a sloth bear in all its magnificent glory. How lucky we were as most people didn't have this chance."
"On our fifth and last game drive at Bandhavgarh, at about 16.30, we came round a bend and saw a magnificent tigress lying across the track where she remained for a full five minutes (until a forest guide in a second jeep started shouting and waving his arms, someone whistled loudly to attract other vehicles and a woman in our jeep used a flash). Then she wandered slowly to one side of the track, sprayed against some bamboo, back across the track to 'hug' a tree, scratch and spray before walking slowly into the jungle. Brilliant."

customer rating

5/5 from 94 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT +5½ hours

Flight time: Flight time from London to Delhi is 8 hours 30 minutes and to Mumbai is about 8 hours.

Language: The official language is Hindi, which about 30% of the population speaks. English is very widely spoken and is used for official and commercial purposes.

Visas: Required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.

Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.

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