Samode Safari Lodge combines the best tradition of the renowned luxury African game lodge wrapped up with a distinct Indian flavour which has resulted in it becoming a much deserved and select member in the sub-Continent of a handful of Relais et Chateaux properties.
It is situated away from the main hustle and bustle of other game lodges, about 20 minutes' jeep drive from one of the main entrances to Bandhavgarh NP, and its distinct and secluded location makes for a peaceful and restful stay when one is not out on the twice-daily game drives looking for the elusive tiger.
We had the good fortune to have as our ranger, Anshuman, who not only looked after us from literally morning to night but educated us in the wildlife, flora and fauna of the Park as well as in the culture, faith and practices of the Hindu family.
We had a three night stay during which we had five separate game drives (the Park is closed on a Wednesday afternoon) and unfortunately we spotted just two tigers on one of the game drives which only goes to prove that even as the one park which supposedly gives the best opportunity to view tigers in the whole of India it's a very difficult task and one must not raise one's expectations too high.
Nevertheless it was a thrilling experience and one which we would list as one of our highlights in our intensive five week trip throughout India.
The property itself and the accommodation are lavish and spacious with every facility imaginable, including in each of the twelve suites two baths, one indoor and outside (obviously) together with five separate shower options, huge plasma TV (which we never turned on), as well as a luxury espresso coffee machine (again never used).
The bed and linen were out of this world and made for a great night's sleep until one was awoken at 5.15 a.m. in order to be ready for departure for the early morning game drive.
As we had specific and stringent dietary requirements the Lodge's Chef discussed meal options with us each day and satisfied our every requirement for which we were truly appreciative.
The whole staff couldn't have done more to make our stay both enjoyable but if I had a minor gripe I would say that we felt distinctly uncomfortable on occasion when the service bordered more towards servility than civility.
To reach Bandhavgarh from Delhi entails a two hour 'plane journey followed by over three hours' car journey through Mahyar Pradesh countryside, which is also an eye-opener, but in spite of the length of a wearying journey the Park and indeed Samode Safari Lodge itself ought to rank at the very top of a traveller's must stay and do list in India.
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