I had gone (with Family – wife and 3.5 year old) to the Jungle Lodges Resort inside Bannerghatta National Park. Every person I had asked about this said they had heard nice things about this place, but had never been there. So I wanted to be there and experience it first hand. Booking it was seamless – on the Internet — http://www.junglelodges.com
Check-in was at 12 Noon. We had left from Koramangala around 10:15AM. We reached the Bannerghatta Zoo parking lot around 11:30AM. We had been asked to call the Park office once we reached there. You need to leave your cars here in the open parking lot. There is a security guy and the Park people try and organize such that all the Jungle Lodges folks park their cars together. I would still not leave any valuables in there – just to be careful. The Park office cheerfully informed us that pickup is on the way.
We then figured out that, it was going to be three families into a single jeep. We were all flummoxed as to how this was going to be managed. The driver guy simply said – “Women, children, and elderly inside the jeep. Others stand behind.” Problem solved.
The resort is about 5 km into the jungle away from the zoo. You can see a lot of Sambar, spotted deer, and Indian Gaur (looks like a bison, but its not).
The road winds its way into the forest, and the view from the jeep back is awesome. The wind in my hair is a great feeling. Another first. Never ridden standing in the back-deck of a jeep before.
And we hit the first check-post. This gate closes at 5:15PM and opens only in the morning. So no entry and exists possible between this time.
And after some more winding roads,
We hit the resort gates.
And yours truly getting out of the jeep deck.
The resort has 2 log huts. We stayed in one of them. They are made fully of wood and concrete. They are on a raised platform.
They have a split AC inside. Very well furnished inside.Comfortable bed. Chair and table. Very clean toilet. Nice tribal painting murals on the walls.
Each log hut (and most other rooms) come with a large sized hammock just outside it. Fantastic to laze around and relax.
Other than the two log huts, there are 10 swiss tents. These are similar sized rooms, but have canvas material for walls. We were told that the bathrooms (at the back) are concrete.
And other than these 12 individual rooms, there is a dormitory that can take 36 people.
So, back to the plan. We settled into the log hut, and were told that lunch is at 1:30PM. Within a few minutes a very courteous staff came and said, that there is a vehicle that got free now, and we can do the safari right away. It should take about 45 minutes and we should be back in the camp for lunch time. There are large enclosures for lions, tigers, elephants, and bears. Quite a few of these animals are roaming in their natural habitat. The safari vehicle is a steel fortified swaraj mazda. In all, a good safari with guaranteed sightings.
After lunch time, the jeep dropped us off at the butterfly park. We were asked to call the driver once we are done. The butterfly park is an unique concept. It is a one-time-must-go. It is a large dome, filled with flowers and butterflies. The doors have wind curtains so that the butterflies do not escape out. There were several signs of very colorful butterflies, but I saw only black ones everywhere.
After the butterfly park, we called for the driver, who picked us up and dropped us off at the zoo. The zoo is a different matter. While the safari had a special van for the jungle lodges folks, the zoo is the regular deal. It was defenitely too crowded for comfort, but then it was the weekend. Also, there was heavy littering etc which was pretty sad. But the son got a good view of the animals.
Then we came back to the log hut. Had Onion pakodas and Chai. Then dinner. With all the walking around, sleep came easily. There is an early morning trek planned in the morning. We skipped it. Breakfast opens at 830AM. We had breakfast around 9AM, and then packed slowly and were ready to check out around 10:15AM. The jeep then takes you back to the parking lot and drops you off at your car.
Food: The food here is very sub-standard. It is not to the point that it could give you a bad stomach ache. But it leaves much to be desired. But then, hey, you do not have any other choice. All the three meals are buffet meals in a hall called the Gol Ghar – a circular hall.
Price: Rs 3200 per person per night. Kids less than 5 years stay free. So our total came to around 6700/- all inclusive.
Tips: There are two large donation boxes (one at the food hall and the other in the reception). It is written in a couple of places that, instead of tipping individually, it is better to use the gratuity boxes.
Value for money: High. If you want to do the zoo/safari with your kid(s), it is a nice option to stay in the wilderness, while at it. Not too far from Bangalore city, so no planning required.
Staff: Extremely courteous staff. Kudos to them.
Comfort/Cleanliness: Fantastic. I would rate these guys very high compared to other similar places I have been to.
And lastly, my favourite pic – the poser: