It has been a hectic but fulfilling time for us all at Kipling, and we have only just managed to draw breath after 33 consecutive days of visitors.There has been an amazing diversity of guests; Swedish, Canadian, Australian, Indian, German, American and British – all with fascinating lives and experiences. And, without exception, they have been thoroughly rewarded with all that Kanha has to offer.
The magnificent Sal trees, which dominate the Park’s forests, have reached their peak flowering. The sweet, lemony-elder smell pervades every airspace. The Sal’s flush of vivid green leaves is a stark contract to the brittle, dry jungle floor and dusty meadows. Temperatures during the day are now in the mid to late 30°C.
We continue to have our own wildlife show; a sloth bear and a leopard sauntered through the Camp recently, and our numerous Palash trees – otherwise known as the ‘Flame of the Forest’ – have erupted with bright blood-red flowers on their otherwise leafless skeletons. Birds have been fortifying themselves on the intoxicating nectar of the Palash, so that they can pursue their relentless courtship and chasing displays. The sky above our water hole at times resembles a scene from the Battle of Britain, full of vivid darting objects, whilst the accompanying chorus of song and flirtatious chatter is both intense and mesmerizing. Not to be outdone, numerous butterflies bounce erratically on the air in a ceaseless display of colourful flashes.
After two months, we were sorry to say goodbye to Rufus, who continues on his Gap year to Darjeeling where he is teaching in a school, and to Theo who is on his way to Nepal via Varanasi.
My own role as Honorary Manager has sadly come to an end and I must now reluctantly return to a cold, belated British Spring. It has been a wonderfully exhilarating and fulfilling six months, and I leave Kipling Camp with the knowledge that the legacy and vision of Bob and Anne Wright continues through Belinda and the dedicated staff, to impose its principles, formula and magic on all who participate in its great story.