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Right where the Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks meet, on the shores of the Kabini River, boldly stands The Bison Resort; an East African camp meets lavish Raj lodge.
Guest rooms here consist of ten large canvas tents - if they can even be called that with their wooden floors, king-sized beds, dressing tables and full-length mirrors. Each room is complete with a rain shower, 7x6 walk in bathtub and, beyond, a veranda with seating and a day bed that overlooks the Nagarhole forest. The newer and more spacious Machan Suites are also furnished with plush couches and have an extra room. The USP, however, is that they are elevated 20ft off the ground offering aerial views of the camp and forest - an even better chance of spotting elephants, boar, deer and maybe even a big cat. Grab a pair of binoculars and watch the wildlife from the comfort of your bath!
Breakfast is served on the banks of the Kabini with views of both the calm water and thick forest. Perched on stilts and draped in mosquito nets, the wooden dining area at The Bison is a charming spot to enjoy a delicious dinner in the Indian bush. Alternatively, dine with locals and Mr Shaaz, the owner, sharing stories and songs around the camp fire. Arrangements can easily be made for more intimate evenings - think lanterns, candles and a personal butler. To top it all off, we recommend a tipple of the house red at the Observation Deck Bar, whilst also gawping at game through the binoculars and telescopes on offer.
If it is first class game viewing you are after then Bison is your answer. Further to the typical 4x4 safari drives through the bamboo, rosewood and sandalwood forest, this resort offers a whole host of activities: guided tribal and bird-watching treks, white water rafting, catered bullock cart rides, wildlife photography lessons and boat trips down the Kabini River- all the while spotting game with the help of expert naturalists. Take a short break with a dip in the swimming pool or join the locals in a spot of cricket between 4 and 6pm. After exerting yourself in activities galore treat yourself to a drink on the calm Kabini waters at sunset - which will just so happen to be one of those experiences worth writing home about as you'll have your own floating bar in the middle of the moonlit backwaters for a full hour.
It is worth noting that one absolutely must do day trip from here is Dandeli Wildlife sanctuary. Just a short drive away, it's the perfect addition for any animal lover's experience, abundant with flora and fauna throughout its undulating terrain. The main wildlife species to keep an eye out for here include the leopard, black panther and tiger.
Why we love it
The camp is not fenced, so the wildlife does roam free. However, Mr Gowda, the camp's resident security guard is always on hand, and if guests clock in with him at the beginning of their stay, he will wake them if there are any not to be missed sights.
Frances, Original Traveller