On Monday we had planned to go to Pench Jungle Camp in Madhya Pradesh. Our plane was schedules at 15 35, but was more than one hour delayed. Bad news…. we were early at the airport and now we had to wait even more – with only a snack bar as company! When we arrived in Nagpur, the driver was there to collect us. He seemed a bit shocked when he realised we were five people and five suitcases + a variety of rucksacks and bags. But one of the good things with India is that there is always a way out when the going gets tough! So there we were again, shifting the suitcases in and out of the car, up and down from the roof till we eventually found a suitable solution. When the driver told us it would take at least two hours tow Pench, morale sank…. And the continuos traffic jam out of Nagpur made things worse… In fact it lasted for miles and miles. But after nearly three hours we were there, a little before ten in the evening. The place was beautiful, even in the dark. And the silence a big relief. The only thing we could hear was the lovely sound of silence….
The big surprise was the temperature, it was freezing cold compared to Mumbai: + 8 degrees. Most of all we wanted to go to bed, but dinner was prepared for us in the dining room. The main house was fantastic; big rattan furniture, nice curtains, but cold everywhere.
The cottages were nice as well, and we jumped into bed before midninght because the safari was scheduled at six in the morning…..
We lay in bed and listened to the sounds of the jungle; birds and apes mostly. And the silence.
No problem really to get up in the morning, but it was cold. Only 6 degrees. We put on the warmest we had for the open jeep drive, we got blankets but it was very cold. It took some time for the sun to heat us up, when it arouse around 7 am. We didnt see any tigers, there are only 33 in that vast area. But we saw a lot of other animals, and it was great fun. We also saw several fresh tiger pug marks.
For the rest of the day we did absolutely nothing, we were simply enjoying the tranquility of the beautiful area. We sat around the pool, we were served lunch and dinner. The service was fantastic.
But again, we had to get up early, out plane was due at 8 30 in the morning so we had to start at 5. Settling the bill created a lot of locomotion. I had paid half the bill in advance, and now they couldn’t get any card machine to function… After a lot of “please sit down and wait”, I suggested we withdraw the money from an ATM in Nagpur the next morning to send back with the driver, so finally we could go to bed!
The early drive back to Nagpur next morning took less than 2 hrs. Traffic was sparse, but enough to wonder why lives aren’t lost all the time… The traffic system in India is beyond belief…
The plane back to Mumbai was half an hour late. It really was a shock to get out of the Mumbai airport to the honking horns and heat…. But the car was waiting and the driver was able to speak a little English so that I could get the recent updates on Indian politics and my “favourite” politician Lalu Prasad…
For the rest of the day there was rest…. we were all very tired and felt incredible hot, and I have started to fantasise about my home made pizza………………..