Oct 9 2009

The drive to the Kabini Jungle Lodge was uneventful save for a wrong turn that set us back a bit. The signage was barely adequate and very easy to miss.

The scenery en route was mostly nothing to write home about, except for the odd feature such as this collection of rocks.

We did get a nice view of the backwaters of the Kabini River thanks to the wrong turn!

The road gets progressively worse as you approach the lodge. However, once you get there, it is worth each and every pothole and bump. This place is a deep tissue massage for the mind!

The “Viceroy’s Bungalow” just past the entrance to the lodge. Since the last Viceroy was Lord Mountbatten, there is no actual risk of trespassing should one chose to visit as I found out. Its just a common area for people to hang out and socialise.

Located on the northern bank of the Kabini River in the forest of Nagarhole, the Jungle Lodges blend in beautifully with the surroundings, with the notable exception of that hideous tarp-like sheet on the roof. The cottage (left) that my mother and I rented was clean and comfortable. I think I know why the tarp is up there, as you’ll find out in a bit!

Following a lunch buffet at the “Golghar” (Mess hall, left), they’ve given us a couple of hours to unwind. We have to show up in a bit for a Safari briefing at the Golghar, after which we’re off on a Jeep Safari into Nagarhole National Park.

Something tells me that this information will prove very handy later in the evening! I can detect the presence of a bar even in the jungle! Does that make me Mowgli?!

A lookout post. Remember, its a safety net, not a trampoline!

Woodactress?! I wonder if they’re suggesting that her performance in “Bird on a Wire” was wooden?!

No Feed Ape
Damn! I would have starved to death if my mum had followed this advice when I was growing up :)

Well, Chief-Inspecteur Dreyfuss, speaking of ze minkey! On the little side patio of our cottage, This bugger actually threatened me verbally on my return from a little stroll as if I were invading his place. And then it occurred to me that I actually was! His peeps, and not mine, were the original denizens of the forest. Since he seemed a tad cantankerous, I decided that it would be futile to attempt an explanation as to how he and I were related via the Darwinian evolutionary paradigm. On account of the patio door being open, he had swiped a Sprite bottle from inside the cottage unbeknownst to my mum who was taking her afternoon siesta at the time. I have been advised that trying to get him to split the expense for the Sprite is a non-starter. Oh! And I bet you he and his friends who I saw lurking around did a number on some of the roof tiles necessitating that hideous tarp sheet!

The “briefing” consisted of nothing but the disclaimer that we should not get our hopes up too high – this was not the best of seasons and wild animals are not exactly drawn to the internal combustion engine like moths to a flame (my analogy).

They served us coffee and tea before we left. While sipping my tea I photographed the creature shown to the left. Its the South Asian Brown-Eared … Dog (Canis Familiaris), perhaps hoping for someone to offer him the odd tea-biscuit. So far, its been the dog-and-monkey show. But we haven’t left the lodge yet, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Elephant A
One of the females of a trio of Mum, Kiddo and lets say, Aunt. Mrs Jumbo (left) kept an eye on us every second she wasnt attending to Dumbo.

Elephant B
Dumbo never got out of the shade, which is perhaps just where him mum preferred he stay.

Elephant C
Aunt Jumbo seemed more interested in the folliage than anything else. We know they’re females because they dont have tusks, these being Indian Elephants Elephas maximus indicus, unlike the African Elephant Loxodonta africana in which both male and female have tusks

A male deer keeps an eye on us. Probably aware of the proclivities of certain members of our species with respect to barnyard animals, he’s understandably protective of the senoritas in his herd.

Deer A
Here’s the rest of the herd. They’re called Spotted Deer

Deer B
More deer …

Deer C
and yet more deer. After you’ve seen your 10th herd of deer, you want to yell “Just shoot me now”. I realise that “shoot” is an unfortunate term to use while talking about deer, but I hope my point is made. You’ll probably have to endure 10,000 deer sightings before getting even a fleeting glimpse of a tiger, which we of course, didn’t.

This bird is called the Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Nisaetus cirrhatus. The qualifier “Changeable” is due to an explanation that I don’t quite grasp. In any case, if I were a rodent, I’d take cover! This is a mean looking bird!

This domesticated elephant (as you can tell by the shackles) is probably used on Elephant Safaris. Owing to the very heavy rainfall this area has received recently, these rides have been put on hold.

This monkey is called a Gray Langur. The light was starting to fade and this is the best shot I would get.

Wild Boar
A wild boar grazes along with yet another infernal herd of deer. Unlike me, I doubt that he’s tired of seeing deer all his life and would give anything to spot a tiger. So all he ever does is hang out with them. What a bore (da-dum-Dish!)

The sun sets over the Kabini. We’re off to see a film on the wild dogs of Nagarhole (we didn’t see any). Now, if, you’ll excuse me, I think there’s a cold bottle of Kingfisher waiting for me at the Viceroy’s.

The movie was actually excellent! I thought I’d be bored as I usually am by promotional videos masquerading as documentaries, but this one was superb and comparable to the best of nature footage I’ve seen on the Discovery Channel. Dinner was good. Since we have to be up by 6 AM for the motorboat ride across the Kabini, I think I’ll pass on another KF (Mysoreans’ penchant for abbreviations is rubbing off on me!).

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