We as a family, are very fond of wildlife. Our preferred holidays are places with natural beauty or going to a forest reserve where there are game drives. We’ve been to Ranthambore, Tadoba, Kanha, Bandipur and our all time favourite Kabini (8 times in all 😃). So many trips to Kabini partly because it’s such a short drive from Bangalore. And the resort there is simply beautiful. By the riverside, it’s a peaceful haven and can transport you into another world. And the added attraction of game drives.
Recently we took another short trip there and wow it was amazing. The first day we had a leopard sighting for almost 2 hours. We sat and watched Scarface lazing around while we got some amazing shots. Unfortunately for the rest of the family only my father in law and me went for that drive.
The kids loved the place. The open space, the fresh air. They could cycle around the resort. Watching birds there and the whole experience of the game drive was exciting for them. Even though we dint spot any big cat in that particular drive, seeing deer, monkeys, Gaur and peacocks was enough for the little one. She was sitting in the canter van and keenly looking around to try and spot something. It was the first game drive experience for her. Earlier we would always leave her behind at the hotel with someone to look after her. As soon as she would see something she would point out “Mamma dekho deer ka baby! (Mamma see a deer baby!) Or “Mamma see peacock!” It was amazing to see how interested she was in driving around the forest and seeing the animals.
Yes, Mr Macau was with us too on trip. Since he is a bird, P thought he would like to see the forest and his wild friends.
And in between the forest and the resort, it was a 10 minute drive through the local village and farms. Those too were so exciting for her. She saw so many cows and goats and dogs and hens with chicks. On the last day we even had someone take us to a village and show us how the people there live. It interested P a lot as to the way the houses were made, what was growing in the fields and also how the local school was. I wanted to show her how in the village they had only one small room (almost just as big as her own classroom) for 70 children. Grades 1-5 all sat in the same room with 1 teacher to teach them.
It was a very humbling experience. To see how we take the things we have for granted. Basic necessities for us like the tv, fridge, car are all things which are out of reach for these poor villagers. The tribals have the farms inside the area which has been demarcated as forest reserve by the government. So they are being asked to relocate just outside the forest boundaries with a piece of land for farming and a certain sum of money. It’s one of the steps the government takes to reduce animal human conflict. Just 2 days before we went there, a tiger died due to electrocution by the electric fence the farmers put around their farms to protect their farms.
P was intrigued as to why the farmers had to put electric fences and why they made machans on trees to overlook the fields. The ginger fields had many colourful flags and apparently has become a very important export crop in recent years. All in all the children had a great time in the wilderness. It’s an experience of a lot of learning too. Since they are learning food chains in school, seeing the animals live was a wonderful experience. We would spot different bugs and insects they would watch them with such wonder.