An eco resort in Sunderbans, West Bengal
The Sundarbans mangrove forest is one of the largest such habitats in the world and its unique landscape of mangrove forests, fields and mudflats interspersed by numerous tidal streams and channels cannot be found anywhere else in the country. While best known for its tigers, this region is also home to many other species of animals and birds. For nature and wildlife enthusiasts, the Sundarabans offers an experience unlike any other.
Here, on the island of Dayapur lies Waxpol Group’s Sundarban Tiger Camp. An eco resort, nature takes center stage at the Camp with distractions like televisions, newspapers and internet completely absent.
The Dayapur Island, on the banks of the River Pitchkhali and opposite the famous Sunderban Tiger Reserve, is home to salt water crocodiles and a variety of exotic birds and if you are lucky you might also get a glimpse of the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger.
There are 21 rooms housed in cottages and the decor makes use of locally sourced materials and incorporates elements of the natural surroundings in the form of paintings on the walls by a local artist. The restaurant offers meals prepared with fresh ingredients sourced from the local market and the property’s organic farm.
Guests will be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do at the Camp. The resort offers wildlife safaris, dingy boat rides, crab catching trips and even stays on their houseboat. There are village and nature walks to the nearby villages. The tribal residents of the village give an insight into the local culture through dance and song performances.
It is best to choose one of the itineraries listed on their site as these ensure a good mix of planned activities. For instance, their fixed-departure-2N3D trip, with departures on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, includes the transport from Kolkata (3 hours by land and 1.45 hours by boat), a boat cruise through the mangroves, tribal dance performance and a village visit among other activities.
Do be aware that the location poses challenges. The travel from Kolkata is not very easy and as the camp is in the middle of tropical jungles, be prepared for insects and mosquitos. But the reward is worth the troubles as you will be ensconced in nature’s lap.
Price: From Rs 12,000 per room per day
The Sundarban Tiger Camp relies completely on solar energy, as there is no grid-based electricity here, and on rainwater harvesting, as Sundarbans has no freshwater source. Other Responsible Tourism practices followed include: waste-water reused for gardening; locally sourced vegetables and meats; R.O filtered water; employment of local staff; growing of organic produce on the grounds; and plantation of both endemic and fruit-bearing trees to promote bee habitation and increase in pollination in the region.