The Kabini River Lodge, named for the Kabini River along which it sits, is 140 miles away from the bustle of Bangalore. The lodge gives guests a glimpse of Indian wildlife in its natural habitat.
The lodge is owned by the State of Karnataka and is a former hunting lodge for the maharajah, or ruler, of the kingdom of Mysore, which was dissolved at India’s independence in 1947.
All guests receive a pamphlet on entry to the lodge warning of creatures such as the ant mimic spider, crow pheasant and leopard. No one thought to mention the giant flying cockroach-like insect in one of the lodge’s rooms.
Next to the dining area, a group of bonnet macaque monkeys walked and climbed among the trees. Flying foxes—bats with a 6-foot wingspan–rested upside-down in the treetops. Three kinds of egrets stalked prey along the banks of the river.
The lodge has access to an area known as the Kabini Forest Reserve that occupies nearly 250 square miles in the southern region of Nagarahole National Park. The reserve is where lodge employees take guests on safaris to see animals such elephants, peafowl, monkeys, jackals and tigers.
Safaris by jeep and by boat are available in the early morning and the late afternoon.
On the safaris, it may be a good idea to stay in one area for a long time. During an afternoon jeep ride, staying quiet for an hour near a field along the river gave elephants time to get close enough for visitors to smell one of them and for a peacock to run from place to place, its impressive tail flowing over the meadow grasses.–Kevin Matyi