Holiday review by Sarah Showers

Name: Sarah Showers

Date of trip: 22/03/2018

Number of people: 2

Delhi - walking through the Bazaars of old Delhi, I would have loved to have spent more time there, it was a textile artist's heaven, colour and atmosphere. I have some stunning images that will help be to create work now I'm home. The Red Fort and Humayun's Tomb were fascinating. Driving through the countryside was so interesting seeing the harvest come in the amazing vehicles and loads teetering on bikes and old carts! All added to the sense of the place. Jaipur - wow! So many highlights here. The building and decorative surfaces, craftsmanship that was so outstanding it almost made you weep. The Jantar Mantar was a special place as was walking through the streets. Would perhaps have liked a little more on foot . On our free day, our driver Om Prakesh took us to paper mills, textiles factories etc. which we so enjoyed. Visiting the Amber Fort on a Hindu holiday was especially interesting and helped us begin to understand the complexities of the faith. Such spectacular imagery will live with us for a long time. I used this part of the holiday to create an image bank on which I hope to base all my textile work this year. Agra - This had the possibility of not living up the expectation as one arrives with so many other people's images and perceptions in advance. The special element was seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise. it was possible to be away from crowds and experience the place ourselves, with time to just try and take it all in. It is the exquisite carving, calligraphy and inlay work which stand out. In the morning it felt like MY experience of the place, in the crowds it was almost like standing in front of a giant photograph! So, yes the morning made it real and worth spending time there in the peace of the gardens at sunrise. The other special mention must go to Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb.We were there with just 10 other visitors, making it have a quality of calm and serenity that busy places never have! Such workmanship, quite humbling. Agra Fort was a surprise, expecting a highly fortified defensive establishment set up for war and seige, I found another stunning example to Moghul architecture with such delicate features to be named a fort! Despite the heat of 41 degrees we managed to see everything in Agra we wanted to. Chambal River was perfect for John, I loved the boat ride and a bit of downtime. Bandagvagh was excellent for seeing tigers, it was crowded, some vehicles chasing through the park fixated on tigers. We preferred a slower pace, were delighted to see tigers but enjoyed seeing all the animals and birds. The Park guides who accompanied each trip were of a very variable quality, meaning we were dependant on our driver, we were lucky to have who made us feel that we had plenty of information. Satpura was THE highlight! stunning park, because of the scenery and the amount of water in the park as well as the very, very knowledgeable guide from the lodge. Here we unexpectedly saw amazing views of Tiger and a really beautiful encounter with a female Sloth Bear and her two cubs who let us watch for a very good amount of time with only two other people there at the time! special. Would have loved an extra day there. Strangely possibly the best of the drives was an evening which we spent in the buffer zone as the only vehicle, exploring all along the river bank, viewing the park from the other side of the river, seeing the birds, at a really leisurly pace, this was when we saw the Sloth Bear, then as darkness decended we enjoyed seeing Jungle Cat, nightjars, civet and with lights to get eye shine. The air was full of smoke from kitchen fires and stubble burning, the night sky full of stars and the sounds of the night.

  • The Claridges

     

  • Samode Haveli

     

  • Elegant lounge at Samode Haveli

     

  • Dining in the courtyard at Samode Haveli

     

  • The pool at Samode Haveli

     

  • Chambal Safari Lodge outdoor dining

     

  • Imli Serai bedroom at Chambal Safari Lodge

     

  • Rear sitout at Chambal Safari Lodge

     

  • Indian skimmers near Chambal Safari Lodge

     

  • Safari break in Bandhavgarh with Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh, India © Kings Lodge

    Safari break in Bandhavgarh with Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh, India

  • Double tented room at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge in Satpura, India © Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

    Double tented room at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge in Satpura, India

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Tribes Overall:

The programme reflected the priorities that we had outlined to Paul at the start. We loved it, had an amazing time and were sad to leave the country and the people.

Tribes Service:

Paul's knowledgeable help in putting the trip together made a big difference, managing to fit in all of our requirements. With the benefit of hindsight only we think 3 days in Bandhagvagh and 4 in Reni Pani would have been better, simply because the wide variety of habitat and the water at Satpura, our trip highlight.
I would certainly choose to travel with Tribes again once we have accumulated enough cash to do so!!

Guides:

All our guides were personable and knowledgeable, those in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra especially so.
We would single out Om Prakesh, our driver from Delhi to Agra station, 7 days, he was so assiduous in our care, interesting to chat to and with a lovely sense of humour.
Travel Inn, made our transfers on trains and planes an easy thing, when without them we'd have been very lost!

Social & Environmental Responsibility:

We were welcomed by everyone, and never experience any negative attitude towards tourists.
Reni Pani seemed to have being doing the most to support the communities most affected by the Wildlife Park and we appreciated this. We would have lied to know this in advance so that we could have arranged to leave a donation towards that work.


The places you stayed

The Claridges

The Claridges

India

Pleasant, convenient hotel, slightly faded, which was fine for our short stay.


Samode Haveli

Samode Haveli

India

An outstanding hotel in every way! This was a special experience, an delightful room on the roof with veranda and all mod cons. Astonishing public rooms which were comfortable and with so many embellishments.
The restaurant food was the best we had all holiday, quite stunning Indian cuisine.
The service was second to none, unassuming and prompt.


Chambal Safari Lodge outdoor dining

Chambal Safari Lodge

India

A wonderful eco lodge. Must applaud the owners for creating a comfortable hideaway, with good service, lovely local food and home grown vegetables. Room very comfortable and if it had not been over 40 degrees, we'd have loved the outside seating area. The chance to take a boat on the river was a joy, especially for John who loves bird watching.
Host and owner very attentive.


Safari break in Bandhavgarh with Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh, India © Kings Lodge

Kings Lodge

Bandhavgarh

A beautiful location and designed room on stilts, which made for a very comfortable time. Fabulous artefacts and artwork on walls which I enjoyed very much.
Our guide was excellent.
Food good, but plated up so felt bad if I left food which I would n't have chosen, through being full. 3 meals a day and no exercise not very good for us. 8 hours in a jeep a day, is excessive leaving no time for contemplation etc. I'd have preferred a little less and a bit more down time . I would however recommend the place as being better than the others in the area .


Double tented room at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge in Satpura, India © Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

Satpura National Park

Superlative! In every way. Would have loved an extra day here.
Stunningly designed with minimum impact on the environment. Careful and attentive staff, hugely knowledgeable guide, Erwin Angel d'Rose who could not have done anything more to make our stay so good. Full of information, always willing to answer questions and discuss issues. His leadership of our trips into Satpura were brilliant. Such good company too.
Our room was lovely, especially the outside shower, where we were later able to watch the purple sunbirds drinking from our shower head!
Quite outstanding place. Thoroughtly recommended.


The Claridges

The Claridges

India

Very friendly and pleasant garden in the general chaos of Delhi


Samode Haveli

Samode Haveli

India

Food was outstanding. The bedroom was beautifully decorated and furnished. The gardens peaceful and relaxing.


Chambal Safari Lodge outdoor dining

Chambal Safari Lodge

India

Loved it here. The food was really good with a choice of Indian and Western. I ate only Indian and really enjoyed it. The staff were very friendly and Charan Singh, the naturalist/guide was very helpful in taking me for walks around the property.


Safari break in Bandhavgarh with Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh, India © Kings Lodge

Kings Lodge

Bandhavgarh

Lovely lodge on stilts in bamboo "forest" provided a perfect retreat after a busy day. The dining and social areas were beautifully designed and the food excellent.


Double tented room at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge in Satpura, India © Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

Satpura National Park

another superb lodge., this time at ground level but with a lovely balcony overlooking woodland. Lots of birds and monkeys to watch from it. The central dining area is beautifully designed and the food was again really good. Our guide here, Erwin, was particularly good at spotting wildlife and his suggestion that we should skip a NP drive to do a night drive in the buffer zone worked brilliantly. It gave us superb views of a sloth bear and her two cubs and a sunset drive along the river bank.