Kipling Camp has reopened for our 31st season. All the important things remain the same. Anne and Belinda are as welcoming as ever and our beloved elephant Tara is content and happy. The cheetal and langur are wandering through the Camp looking slightly irritated that their territory has been invaded again and all the staff members are in robust spirits having survived an exceptionally long and late monsoon. Our Honorary Manager, Charles Fraser, is back for a second year.
But there are subtle differences as well; the trees and bushes are taller and greener, everything is wetter, the ducks are fewer (the result of active pythons during the monsoon). We have a fabulous new uniform and two new Gap year volunteers – Simon (Sam) Clutterbuck and Tom Smith – both of whom are enthusiastically practising their ‘cocktail of the week’.
It has been the latest monsoon on record with disruptive results. When Belinda and Charles arrived to set up Camp on the 10th and 12th of October respectively, the Banjar River was barely crossable with water breaking over the bridge, and at one stage in late September Mocha and Katia were cut off for nine consecutive days. As it was, no sooner had we arrived than we were threatened by Cyclone Phailin, which mercifully veered northwards as it approached the Orissa coast from the Bay of Bengal and thus spared us the worst of its drenching.
Preparing Camp became a race against time, but with traditional Kipling fortitude, the staff were ready to welcome our first guests of the season (from Australia), who arrived the day before Kanha National Park opened on 16th October.
Since then we have had a busy few days with many and varied guests. The strange weather has meant that the wildlife is somewhat subdued. Only the tigers seem unfazed and they have been making some wonderful appearances for visitors.
Outside the Park, Shukla and Sam came across four wolves on the road to Mandla earlier this week, which is most unusual.The rice harvest has started but is not yet in full swing.
So to all our former guests, our friends and followers of this blog, you can rest assured that life is very much as you remember it and we are delighted to be here to share our wonderful experiences with you.