In a Nutshell
Undoubtedly one of India’s top wildlife lodges, Evolve Back Kabini (formerly Orange County Kabini) is a luxury Karnataka eco-retreat ideal for safaris in nearby Nagarhole National Park.
At a Glance
- Beautifully located on the banks of the Kabini River
- Eco-friendly, yet luxurious rooms, some with private pools
- Superb safari options on both jeep and boat to Nagarhole National Park
- Easy to combine with Mysore and Coorg or even southern Kerala
Taking its design inspiration from the local adivasi tribal villages, but exquisitely fitted out for the twenty-first-century luxury traveller, Evolve Back Kabini makes a magnificent base for forays into nearby Nagarhole National Park. Here you can experience timeless scenes of Indian wildlife from jungle elephants to tigers hiding in the long grass before returning to unfettered luxury and pampering at the resort. Evolve Back Kabini itself is sited on a bend of the Kabini River, and sitting out on the verandah and drinking in a fiery sunset while looking out across the river and plains is a real highlight, providing one of those moments of serenity only India can offer.
The hospitality at Evolve Back Kabini is simply outstanding, and the service both smiling and personalised. Accommodation comes in the form of ‘tribal’ guest huts, but don’t be fooled: these huts are exquisitely rendered, and come complete with bedrooms, living areas and bathrooms all styled with the striking textures and patterns of the local Kadu Kuruba tribe. Each has its own verandah and courtyard, and you can choose between one with a jacuzzi or a private swimming pool.
Dining at Evolve Back Kabini is excellent, and whether you are enjoying a light grill or a five-course gourmet feast, you will be treated to wonderfully atmospheric river views at any of the three restaurants. For a spot of intimate indulgence, take a private candle-lit river cruise and be served dinner and drinks on the water. Other facilities include two outdoor swimming pools, one of which is adult-only, a spa offering Ayurvedic treatments and an excellent library with plenty of reading material on the local wildlife and region.
Safaris are conducted by boat, in a 4WD or on foot, and will give you the chance to spot leopard, tiger, deer, elephant, Indian wild dog and over 300 bird species. Come in the summer months, and you’ll also be able to experience the world’s largest gathering of Indian elephants. The guiding is excellent, and the night safaris looking for owls, bats and giant moths are particularly enjoyable and informative. Evolve Back Kabini even has its own resident tusker, Kaveri, who will let you feed and bathe her. Every other evening, a Kadu Kuruba troupe performs an authentic traditional dance accompanied by drums and flute around the campfire.