The Royal Migration Camp was designed with one fundamental purpose; to allow you to revel in the romance of safari. Many old timers, who have spent decades in the bush, find it difficult to define what this ‘Romance’ truly stands for. I for one have always maintained that romancing the bush is more than just showing you a great wildlife sighting. It’s helping you paint the perfect picture of a perfect moment in the wilds, then ensuring that you can take home the canvas, imprinted in your mind forever. I realize that if we could make you come alive with the entire experience that leads to that sighting, then help you sit back and revel in that journey, maybe discuss it over a bonfire at camp and take it home with you to treasure for life, that’s when I for one would feel I had done justice to your safari with us.
My grandmother Her Highness the Ruler of Bhopal, owned hundreds of square kilometers of forest. I grew up in these jungles around Bhopal, the very same that Kipling had once fallen in love with. Chiklod and Delawadi were our private hunting lodges and though i never hunted, I would accompany the elders as they camped in the lodges for weeks on end. Consequently when hunting was banned in 1972 in India, i would walk the jungles with tigers roaring their freedom and deer running in panic, not from us this time but from the denizens that they had always shared the jungles with. Proximity to both the predators and prey was essential if one were to get the true feel of the bush and because we didn’t have elephants in the Bhopal jungles, the first camps we set up were in the pristine elephant forests of the erstwhile State of Mysore in the mid 1980’s. Consequently after reading Cynthia Moss and Hamilton, my wife and i decided to explore Africa and we guided our first safari in 1992. Very soon we was head over heels in love with Africa and here we are now, welcoming people into the very heart of Maasailands.
Many believe that romancing the wilds is taking a tent and disappearing into the wilderness. We’ve been there, done that and we soon realized that we never had the time to truly sit back and be one with Africa. We were so busy setting up camp, cooking and doing all the chores that it really left us no time to sit back and just take in the sheer magnificence of the endless wilderness. We would miss out on the lions walking past camp, the snap of branches as elephants drifted along on their never ending journey or even the buffalo shuffling on the periphery of the campfire. Thats not how I was used to experiencing the bush. Somethings would need to change. We would have to ensure that amenities replicate in exactly the same manner those that we had grown up with in the Indian bush as royalty, if we had to host guests and enjoy carefree moments in the most glorious wilderness biospheres in the world.
Once this realization sank in our world on safari changed. Suddenly the follow car appeared and would await a call from the vehicles that had proceeded on a game drive. Be it a gin & tonic or a delicious snack, be it a flush loo or a head massage, the follow car had it all. The service department at camp found itself with more staff than most have seen at such small camps. The grandeur of a royal safari to be complete, would need a private valet making sure that our guests needs were met well in time and a house maid to tuck them into bed with a hot foot massage, exactly how we had learnt to sleep. The kitchen started to prepare food on demand and we sat and drank till late at night yet had delicious hot food on the table when we did manage to get to the dining tent. Time spent at camp had to have its ‘fun n games’ and the bar with a pool table soon appeared. We started to play bridge at night and would spend hours just talking about life. All this was possible because, now we had the time to finally have Africa to ourselves. Personally I found that sleeping in a big tent in the jungle was taking away from the excitement of sleeping behind canvas with lions roaring outside. So we let the old tents be the same but erected two new tents with separate but exclusive facilities. Now you could have a bath in a tent and sit and write a letter to your loved ones in another. Once we managed to bring back all the little details of how we has once lived in the bush in our formative years, the camp suddenly took on a different feel. It started to throb with excitement, till one day both Sangee and i realized that we were now ready for a King. Thats when we opened the camp to a highly exclusive world and into this surreal experience we invite you.
See you this December for Christmas at Ndutu. We will be there till April catching the calving season of the migration. Let’s just drive out one afternoon and feel the world of the ngu drift by as lions sleep in the afternoon shade. We look forward to welcoming you and hosting you soon. Till then stay safe and stay happy.
Much love and dua.