“Hmmm…A Canoe Safari, I wonder what that is?” I thought to myself when I read the travel itinerary by Forsyth Lodge team given to me. I haven’t been on any safari till I visited Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh so I was quite curious about the whole experience. So the prospect of a Canoe Safari was a double curiosity for me.
The Canoe Safari on an early morning at Satpura Tiger Reserve with Forsyth Lodge Naturalist turned out to be one of those rare worth-living experiences in travel after a long time for me – those which keeps me a travel addict (after the incredible sunset inDwarka, Gujarat in 2006 and Sunrise at Tiger Hill in Darjeeling in 2009).
The Canoe Safari was scheduled on the last of my weekend getaway at Forsyth Lodge.A day before, our Naturalist Varun told us that we would be starting really early, before sunrise, so that we are able to enjoy the sunrise over Denwa River. That got me nervous! So, here’s the thing – I am not a water person at all (though I know swimming and God only knows how much effort it took me to learn the craft!!) and the prospect of spending time in or near a water body (be it a lake, river or a beach) for long duration gets me apprehensive. I was almost thinking of not going on the Canoe Safari, but my fellow travel blogger Akansha’s enthusiasm for the canoe safari got to me (and she admitted to not knowing swimming but was a complete water person!!)
We got up really early and headed for the bank with our Naturalist. The canoes for the safari were sturdy 3 seater ones and I chose to sit in the middle (to be on the safest side!!). We wore life jackets and were advised to be careful while making any movements, so as not to shift the weight so that the canoe topples. We had the luxury of not having to row the canoes (which was being done by the Park Guides).
So it was the two canoes, the deep green waters below us, the sound of paddles, the sky in all it colourful glory waiting for the sun to rise and the forest area on one side. It was breathtaking experience. As we rowed silently, the sky changed its hues by the minute and the first rays of sun burst forth from the horizon – totally amazing!!
As the sun rose, the views around us became more clear. The guides and Naturalist pointed to many birds (not a birder so forgot the names!!). It all made for a pleasant sight. The fog rising from the river bed at places made for many surreal moments (check out my instagram feed for videos – myunfinishedlyf).
After an hour of rowing, we came ashore at one of the rocky outcrops and had our breakfast. It was one of the best breakfasts we had, chatting with our Naturalist and gathering bird information from him (which we knew we would then forget, but the Forsyth Lodge guides are so knowledgeable that it is a pleasure talking wildlife with them!!).
All fed up it was time to head back and I had become so ‘brave’ by my experience that I chose to sit in the front of the canoe this time around!!
Lodge is one of the two Resort Lodges offering the canoe safari In Satpura and I believe it is included as part of the tariffs (check here for details). In any case, Satpura Tiger Reserve is the ONLY Reserve in India offering Canoe Safari…so if you want to experience this amazing safari, you have to come visit Satpura Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh.