A long weekend at Kabini

posted in: Asia, India, Karnataka, Nature | 54

As I wrote my recent article on 5 wildlife destinations in South India for the Lonely Planet, I found myselfย recollectingย my own tryst with nature and wildlife at Kabini. It has been quite sometime since that trip but given that today is a Throwback Thursday, what best but to share my long weekend at Kabini.

Deers at Kabini
Deers at Kabini

Kabini is a wildlife reserve near Mysore and is a part of the Nagarhole forests. It used to be the private hunting grounds of the Royal family of Mysuru, where the Wadiyars were known to have hunted scores of elephants and tigers. If you recall my earlier post on the Bangalore Palace, you will note that some of the relics from their hunting expeditions were kept as trophies in their palaces. Thankfully, when the Wadiyars gave this up, the forest was released and it became a part of the protected Tiger reserve and the Rajiv Gandhi National Park.

Elephant near Kabini River
Elephant near Kabini River

Kabini is a smaller area of this park, so named after the Kabini river that flows through it. It is this river that attracts the wildlife, where you can spot mammoth elephants, the prancing deer, the dancing peacocks and tons and tons of colorful birds. It is around here that the mighty Tigers prowl and the fleet footed leopards hunt their prey. The same river has the huge Mahseer fish and given its fresh water, attracts tons of exotic birds to it.

Kabini Water Woods
Kabini Water Woods

I had heard a lot about this place and one long weekend was all it took for me to get there and explore it. Packed into 2ย cars with 3 crazy kids and 4 adults, on a beautiful day, we head to the diverse wildlife reserve of Kabini from Bengaluru. We had booked a stay at the Kabini Waterwoods, a resort that was right onย the banks of Kabini river. The drive to Kabini took us around 5 hours, with a short halt enroute at the Kamat Lokaruchi. Once we had passed Mysore and entered into the forest zone, there was a visible drop in the temperatures. At some point, we had to take a diversion and encounter 45 minutes of bad road. Eventually, we reached our resort and checked in.

Birds of Kabini River
Birds of Kabini River

The first thing I noted was the numerous birds that were flying around the Kabini river, some of which did not even need the binoculars to spot them. The resort had an outdoor dining shed and we had the pleasure of having lunch in the company of these birds. It is a different experience to have a meal amidst the squirrels and birds – a huge change from the fine dines and restaurants of the urban city. The cool breeze blowing around and the sights and sounds of nature to keep you company can be such a refreshing change.

At Kabini
At Kabini


Sunset at Kabini
Sunset at Kabini

We spend that evening at the resort using all the facilities that they had – cycling around, flying a kite, playing some outdoor games like football and witnessing the beautiful sunset over the river Kabini. We ended that day with a dinner around a bonfire, meeting our fellow guests who had just come back from a safari. We learnt that they had managed to spot a leopardess and her cubs in the forest.


The next day, post our breakfast, we headed out on a Boat safari around the river Kabini. We spotted some interesting bird life on the driftwoods in the river, but no such luck with animals. They say that if you are lucky, you can spot several along the banks of the river. ๐Ÿ™

Swinging along the Banyan Trees
Swinging along the Banyan Trees

We finally landed at the village of Beemankoli. Beemankoli was an interesting village, one with a 12th century temple and Banyan Trees which were over centuries old. We did visit the temple but it was the Banyan Tree that became a highlight. Not just the kids, but we adults too, had a go at their hanging branches to try out our possible skills at being Tarzan and Jane.:-)

My Jane at Kabini
My Jane at Kabini

It was a fun experience for the kids, something that they had never seen before. Swinging on the branches was not easy but at the end of it, they mastered it and were unwilling to let go till we threatened to abandon them.

At Kabini
At Kabini

Along the way, we found some unusual boulders, smooth and perfectly rounded. There was no explanation as to why they were there. They felt like the “Roc’s egg” from Sindbad’s adventure. I had myself thinking of the story and remember sharing it with the kids.

Once back at the resort, we had a quick lunch and waited for the evening Safari to start. We boarded the closed Jungle Safari bus and entered the red world of Nagarhole. As we neared the Kabini river, here are some sights that we saw.

Deer at Kabini
Deer at Kabini


Peacock crossing over
Peacock crossing over

The best sight were the elephant’s having a fight. Could not get close for obvious reasons ๐Ÿ˜‰

Caught in action
Caught in action

The kids kept pestering us for the leopard that we had heard of, but instead of that, we managed to see this ๐Ÿ˜€


We returned back to the resort after the lovely safari. The one thing that I have to draw your attention to is the fact that I used the word “red” when describing the world of Nagarhole. The forest has red sand all around that flew onto our hair and faces. It was quite funny for from dark hair beauties, we had become red haired ones ๐Ÿ˜‰

That night, we sat on the swings and stared up at the starry night sky, sharing stories of the constellations and milky way with our kids. There was a calm and peaceful feeling within – something that I cannot explain, something that I have never felt even when I have been at home. Maybe it was seeing those animals in their homes, maybe it was being in the pure and natural space or maybe it was just a beautiful night.

Climbing the Trees
Climbing the Trees

The next morning, before we left, we had fun feeding the same flock of birds that we had seen on day one, climbing a few trees, playing with the resident dogs and just posing on the quad bikes ๐Ÿ˜‰ We reluctantly piled back into our cars and headed back to the concrete jungle. Though it has been some time since I did this trip, it remains as fresh and recent as ever.

That weekend at Kabini was one of the most relaxing and fun weekends I had, one that I will definitely be heading back to and one that I recommend for all of you. Till then, here is a happy pin ๐Ÿ™‚

Kabini - www.thrillingtravel.in

Getting to Kabini:

  • Kabini is around 80 kms from Mysore and 210 kms from Bengaluru. Bengaluru is the nearest airport while Mysore is the nearest railway station.
  • One needs to hire a vehicle to reach Kabini as there are no public buses to this place.

Travel Tips:

  • Kabini is best visited between October to May. The chances of spotting wildlife during this time is quite high.
  • There are plenty of resorts and hotels in Kabini for a good stay. Some suggested names – Orange county, The Serai, Jungle Lodge, Waterwoods, Red Earth and The Bison. I have personally, stayed at Waterwoods and definitely recommend the same. ย Of the others, I have heard some good reviews.
  • Dress sober and comfortably when heading for a Safari. Please keep your voices low and avoid scaring the wildlife.
  • The Karnataka State Tourism offers a boat or a jeep safari betweenย 6.30 am to 9.30 am & 3.30 pm to 6.00 pm. Your resort will be able to help you in booking the same. Theย same is generally, a part of the package offered by the resort.
  • You can even do Kayaking and a few other adventure activities in Kabini. These are offered by the individual resorts.
  • There is an Elephant camp accessible at a distance of 2 hours from Kabini. The same is in Kerala and can be reached by road from Kabini
  • This is a wildlife reserve area and there are no commercial shops or restaurants here. Hence, you will need to partake all your meals at the resort or hotel that you are staying in. Also, note that you will need to depend on them for all your essentials. Hence, it is advisable to pack well before you reach Kabini




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54 Responses

  1. Excellent place to spend a relaxed weekend. Beautiful images.

  2. Beautiful post with amazing clicks….. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. That sure looks like a lovely place! thanks for all those tips ๐Ÿ™‚
    also, the pictures are great, all of them:)

  4. wow… such a lovely trip.. beautiful snapshots…

  5. beautiful place, captured and presented nicely.

  6. This post is so helpful, and you spotted a Tiger! WoW ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Always a delight visiting such wildlife areas, makes me feel those species are still in good hands!

  8. Seems like you guys enjoyed a lot.. Thanks for sharing beautiful masti wala time with us..

  9. I didn’t get to see any tiger during my visit. ๐Ÿ™
    Great captures.

  10. Kabini is so close by and now I have to go there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. This looks incredible! And please tell me that you kept a safe distance from that tiger, because it looks insanely close!

    • Yes Yes, we did. We were well in the jeep while this guy was resting on the side. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Looks like an amazing location to view animals in their natural habitat which is always great. my kids would love to visit a place like this

  13. Just the perfect weekend that I would like! Super Ami.. The pics and the write up are fab!

  14. Nice Pics

  15. I think it’s so cool so just see elephants walking around! The wildlife in Canada is not as exciting.

    • It is just amazing to see them. I had seen one on the roads in Kerala. It was quite a jaw dropping sight

  16. Looks amazing! The wildlife alone is worth visiting!

  17. Kabini is lovely, hope we preserve our nature and wildlife otherwise these kind of places will become rare.๏ปฟ

    • Thanks Vyjay. We definitely need to do our bit to preserve this amazing biodiversity that we have.

  18. It seems you had a great time in Kabini. Such a beautiful and serene place it is !!
    The captures are amazing Ami ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. This will be added to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing !

  20. Really a nice post Ami.. Awesome pictures. I like the birds and sunset scene at Kabini river the most.

  21. I really haven’t other than a little tame wildlife in theUS. Would love a big adventure such as this! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. Always in the look-up for wildlife destinations so this is a great find! Love the photos, pretty awesome!

  23. Beautiful pictures and amazing post……

  24. What a wonderful way to spend your vacation. Wildlife has its own charm. Peaceful & intriguing.

  25. Nature is the best for becoming relaxed. I would love to see tigers in the wild! Great that the kids got to see so many animals:) Roars to you!

  26. Kabini looks amazing through your lens … planning to visit either Bandipur or Kabini this month ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Great post Ami ! This is exactly what I was looking for. We are from Bangalore, and we are always on a hunt for great weekend getaways from Bangalore with our Kids.

Would love to know what you think