Rajasthan Road Trip | Camping in Ranthambore
From Anopura, we drove 3 hours to Ranthambore, famed for its enormous national park inhabited by a certain stripy king of the jungle. Yep, we were headed for tiger country and on a mission to spot one of these beautiful big cats in the wild.
Our abode for the next couple of nights was a tented camp (although about as far from soggy festival digs you can get) at Khem Villas, nestled on the banks of a stream in the Rajasthani countryside. We found the place via i-escape, the tried-and-trusted hotel site we’ve booked places in Sri Lanka, Goa and Mexico through before and has been something of a go-to for me when it comes to trip-planning for years. You get that Indian Summers feel while still having electricity, radiators (or fans if you’re there in the summer) and en suite bathrooms fit for any bricks and mortar boutique hotel. Although if you’re more into walls and ceilings, there are standalone cottages you can stay in too which I have to admit, look like they might just beat the tents. However I can’t imagine much beating the location of our canopied. As soon as we sat down for tea on our decked verandah, we immediately felt content…
We spent our first afternoon soaking up the last of the sunshine by the lake, reading outside our tent and generally easing into life in the Indian outback. Wildflowers surrounded the tents and played home to literally hundreds of butterflies, while at night the sounds of the wilderness served as our very own sleep sound machine. When dusk falls around 6 p.m (remember this is technically winter in Rajasthan), Khem Villas came into its own, with a candlelit bar and glowing hurricane lamps leading the way to the roaring log fires where guests wrapped up in coats and drank clinking G&Ts. On that note, a few words on what to pack. Ranthambore in November was properly cold in the mornings and evenings so it’s worth bringing some kind of warm jacket, trainers and basically stuff that’s more substantial that itsy-bitsy beach wear. Let’s just say I was super grateful for my thermal leggings to sleep in too… Go to Uniqlo and invest in a couple of heat tech layers or a down jacket that can roll up into nothing at the bottom of your suitcase when you don’t need it anymore.
After a dinner of vegetarian Indian comfort food (think thali trays laden with lentil curry, saag aloo, beetroot pickle, curried cauliflower and steaming chapatis), we headed back to our tent by torchlight ready for a 6 A.M start the following morning and our first safari drive….