Evaluate: KAAV Safari Lodge, Kabini, close to Mysore, Karnataka in India

Words from Bindu Gopal Rao

A vacation at Kaav Safari Lodge surrounded by nature is the best way to beat the travel blues in the COVID-19 era.

The tranquil setting of Nagarhole Conservation Area provides the perfect backdrop for Kaav Safari Lodge, a boutique hotel that offers a niche wilderness experience, is on the edge of the forest and is perfect for a getaway in the wilderness.


The four-acre property has only six rooms; Four regular rooms and two tents mean you can vacation free from pandemic worries. The property was designed with the surrounding forest space in mind and is largely natural and free flowing.

The original building was a two story structure on stilts that was the template from which the existing design evolved. This structure was then modified to add four rooms, each with a separate balcony, central communal area, and upper deck that offers great bird’s eye views of the surrounding forest. The two tent accommodations were added later.

The property was designed with the surrounding forest space in mind and is largely natural and free flowing

Divya Pant, Manager at KAAV Safari Lodge, said: “As this space has been redesigned, the design ethos should always have a minimal carbon footprint. The owners are Tony Joseph, an architect who designed the space, and his partner Sanjay, who owns a farm in Ooty. KAAV means sacred grove and space has evolved as such.

“We share the borders with the forest, we are very strict with our pest control and do not consciously spray anything. This is also why we do not allow children under 10 years old here as the space is quite wild and there is a lot of wildlife. Children are only allowed if the family books the entire resort and takes control of them. “

A rugged stone path leads you to the resort with a small open kitchen and restaurant as well as the manager’s office. The rooms are located on the first floor of this building. The pool (currently closed) is located next to the restaurant on a slight rise and is flanked by a massive banyan tree and offers views of the jungle.

The decor in the rooms continues the nature theme with polished cement concrete floors, wired glass doors, sawn timber, and white walls. Free WiFi is offered throughout the resort, while solar energy is used to power part of the electricity required and a biogas system provides the kitchen with rainwater.

The four-acre property has only six rooms; Four regular rooms and two tents mean you can vacation free from pandemic worries

The food at KAAV is simple, home cooked food that is full of flavor and flavor. You can eat in the restaurant next to the kitchen or by the pool and there is also room service. The staff is attentive too, I had all of my meals delivered at the exact time I requested them every time during my stay.


One of the morning activities to take part in is a coracle boat ride, which takes approximately 20 minutes on a traditional bamboo web boat. The boat trip is a great way to explore the Kabini River and spot some of the waterfowl on the banks. You can also walk or bike to the riverside to take in the natural surroundings along the way. Kayaking is another activity the retreat offers and I would definitely recommend the nature walk which is wonderful as you can see multiple birds along the backwaters and I was fortunate enough to spot dozens of migratory bearded geese. Bicycles are available within the retreat so you can ride around the riverside, through the village, or on the main road at any time of the day.

The KAAV Tiny Safari is a unique activity that you should also take your time for. The night safari takes place around the property, where you can see everything from spiders to frogs to snakes, lizards and caterpillars. Sujith Surendran, the in-house naturalist who conducts the session, will tell you some amazing facts about night life here.

When you want to relax, head to the open observation deck to watch the sights and sounds of the jungle. From here I spotted a wide variety of birds including the spring parrot, the drongo, the coppersmith barb, and the red-bearded bulbul. There is also a view of the sky on clear nights as the team sets up a telescope to see the stars and planets. For guests staying longer than three nights, a barbecue and campfire dinner are hosted on a nearby property to create a differentiated dining experience under the starry sky on the riverside.

The land safaris are a great way to see the big cats, especially tigers and leopards

The main attractions, however, are the wildlife safaris organized by the government through the jungle huts and run twice a day in Nagarhole National Park with land and river options. The river safari takes place on the Kabini River and is a great way to spot waterfowl. Large herds of Asian elephants are also relatively common during the summer months.

The land safaris are a great way to see the big cats, especially tigers and leopards. The resort will organize a jeep to pick you up from the safari. You can also book your seats for the safari (for a separate payment). The jungles of Nagarhole (also called Kabini Jungle and Rajiv Gandhi National Park) have a melanistic leopard that is completely black and is a major attraction. Of course you need a lot of luck to discover them!

The jungle itself is alive and you can spot a wide variety of animals including elephants, sambhar, spotted deer, wild boar, gaurs, and more. I was very lucky to spot tigers on two safaris on my trip to KAAV. The park is also full of bird life and woodpeckers, blue jays and barbets, and bee-eaters are common.

In a nutshell

A vacation experience at KAAV is a wonderful way to get close to nature and rejuvenate your senses, even if we all come to terms with COVID-19.

Fact box

Address: KAAV Safari Lodge, Malalli Cross, N Belathur PO., Kabini, HD Kote, Mysore, Karnataka – 571114, India
Tel: +91 82282 96491, +91 82282 96492
E-mail: gm@kaav.com
Website: kaav.com

All images courtesy of KAAV Safari Lodge

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