Today we are travelling to our next destination, ready for tomorrow’s pre-booked jeep safari around Ranthambore National Park.
Rather than brave the train service to Ranthambore, we opted to book a further car trip with bhati tours. Once again our driver, Bavar, was waiting outside the hotel for us when we checked out. A nice clean air-conditioned car for the journey, and our bottles of cold water were a very welcome touch.
We quickly left the traffic of Jaipur behind, and moved into open countryside with occasional villages along the route. Most of the journey is on toll roads, which are maintained in a very good condition. We stopped briefly at a Midway Cafe around the half way point – a clean cafe with toilets and souvenir shops, clearly aimed at tourists and coach parties.
About three hours after leaving Jaipur, we arrived at our base for the next couple of nights – the Ranthambore Heritage Haveli in the rather remote village of Khilchipur, immediately outside the Ranthambore National Park, and a few miles drive beyond the nearest railway town of Sawai Madhopur. All afternoon spent reading and relaxing around the pool of this converted haveli. Such a beautiful and peaceful location after several days in busy cities.
The hotel is clean but quite spartan, and in a very remote location with no local facilities. But as a base for sleeping and eating, while taking safari trips around the National Park, it was perfect. Meals were self-service buffets served in almost a canteen-style environment with large shared tables – perfect for catching up with everyone’s tales of adventure and their tiger sightings! The staff are really attentive, ensuring everyone has plenty to eat and drink, and constantly checking to make sure every aspect of your stay is perfect.
Cash flow: It was only upon reading the small print that I realised this hotel only took cash, and did not accept card transactions. A quick stocktake confirmed things would be tight, but we should be able to manage as the room rates were low and meals were buffet-style at only 500 rupees per person (about £6). Soft drinks instead of beers for a couple of days should help save funds.
Tomorrow, our Jeep Safari. Will we spot a Tiger?