Kabini River Lodge

Kabini River Lodge


After excellent birding sessions on the lakes of Mysore, we started on our drive towards Kabini. We had been wanting to go to Kabini since a long time but never got a booking there. Now that the monsoons are here and the huge elephant congregations are over, we got booking for a day on June 30th.

The drive from Mysore to Kabini on Mananthvadi road itself yielded excellent sightings of a Black Shouldered Kite, a few Indian Rollers, Spotted Doves, Bee-Eaters and Bulbuls perched on the wires running along the road. The road was in good condition besides the last 15 kms, which was pretty bad. We did see a mongoose run across the road from a distance on entering the park.

KabiniRiverLodge-JLR KabiniRiverLodge-JLR2

When we reached the reception of JLR we met with the disappointing news that the forests had been closed just from that day. We had not known this during the time of our booking but had read in the newspapers later about it. However, we had presumed that the closure was from 1st of July so had been hopeful that we will be able to manage one safari inside the forest. It seems that this is the first time in Karnataka that the forests are being closed in the monsoons. We were informed that we would be taken on a “boat” safari which would take us to the river banks inside the forest and a “jeep” safari the next day along the main roads outside the forests.

As compared to other JLR properties we have been to, the Kabini River Lodge seemed much more luxurious and sophisticated. There was a fridge and coffee maker in the room, even the bathroom had a bath tub!! The setup seemed to be targetted at attracting international tourists. Maybe they could have some rooms at a less expensive rate and keep away the additional frills.

KabiniView SpiderWeb

The boat safari initially seemed nothing more than an oridinary boat ride but as we moved towards the forest, the scenery around us was breath-taking. Dense green forests on all sides with us in the middle of the river gave a totally different perspective from being inside the forest on a jeep. As we moved inside, there were a many bare trees on the river with their branches jutting above the surface of the water. And on top of most of the branches, there were beautiful birds. A tree with around 7-8 branches and a single Painted Stork on each branch made an awesome sight. It seemed almost like a painting. Another tree had many Lesser Whistling ducks (lifer). There were many small islands full of birds, one with White Ibis, another with Painted Storks, a third one with many Egrets.

PaintedStorksOnATree PaintedStorkInFlight

On moving slightly ahead, we had the beautiful “Osprey” in full view. After a few minutes, the Grey Headed Fish Eagle was seen perched on the branch of a tree along the shore. We were soaking in the these raptor sightings when a herd of 10 elephants was seen grazing on the banks of the river. The boat moved closer to the bank for a better view. The naturalist told us that there had been no elephant sightings for the last two safaris. Going to Kabini and not seeing an elephant would have been sad indeed. On the way back, we also saw a couple of wild boars and a herd of spotted deer at a distance. Even though our expectations from the boat safari had not been too high, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Osprey WhiteIbis

The next mornings Jeep safari was on the main road, the one we had taken to reach Kabini. We spotted the Booted Eagle (lifer), Crested Serpant Eagle, Peafowls (without the dance), a few Flamebacks and the Grey Junglefowl. An interesting incident happened though. A herd of elephants could be seen behind the bamboo thicket and all the jeeps were watching it. It seemed that the herd wanted to cross the road so the four jeeps moved back to make way for the elephants. We all were waiting for the elephants to cross the road, but they probably were scared. After a long patient wait, a single elephant came out from the thicket and ran over to the other side (he seemed nervous). After a few moments, an extremely cute young calf followed by its mother also crossed the road. It was amazing to see them so close. This incident gave the sense of adventure which we had missed because of not being able to enter the forest. It was probably the high point of the trip to Kabini.

CrissCross ElephantAtKabini

After we checked out from JLR, we decided to go on our own “Car” safari along the same road. For a longish time in the slowly moving car, we could not sight a single bird. We then decided to just stop at one place and wait for some time. Immediately, a White Bellied Drongo came into view, followed by two Flameback Woodpeckers (one after another) on a tree. Then there was a Streaked Woodpecker (lifer) on the ground with a Oriental Magpie Robin and it then hopped its way up on a tree. A group of Jungle Babblers were seen playing with each other and we could see three Drongos (White Bellied, Racquet Tailed, Black). A movement in the branches on the opposite side of the road showed us a beautiful Rufous Treepie (another lifer). This 15 minute halt yeilded us more bird sightings than we had on any of the safaris :)

Rufous-Treepie-(recordshot) LongTailedShrike1

The treat was not over yet. On the road from Kabini to Mysore, we got the much awaited sighting of two Long-tailed Shrikes. We spent some 15 minutes with them before moving ahead. Some more BSKs and Rollers could be seen along Mysore road. We took a 20 minute diversion into Ramnagaram and said hello to the Long-Billed Vulture there. As a bonus, we got to see an Egyption vulture perched a short distance away from the LBV which took off in a few minutes.

A wonderful weekend came to an end. The beautiful sceneries, the excitement of spotting so many birds and the amazing time we had will keep the memories of this trip fresh for a very long time.

Common-Peirrot Flower-@-Kabini-River-Lodge


Bird List:

  • Hoopoe
  • Ashy Prinia
  • RV/RW Bulbul
  • House Sparrow
  • Spotted Dove
  • Booted Eagle
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Peafowl
  • Junglefowl
  • Flameback Woodpecker
  • Babbler
  • Greater Coucal
  • WB Kingfisher
  • Laughing Dove
  • Streaked Woodpecker
  • White Bellied Drongo
  • Racquet Tailed Drongo
  • Black Drongo
  • Rufous Treepie
  • Oriental Magpie Robin
  • Long tailed Shrike
  • Indian Roller
  • Black Shouldered Kite
  • Long-billed Vulture
  • Egyptian Vulture
  • Brainfever Bird (Call)






12 Responses to “Kabini River Lodge”

  1. 1 Anjali
    July 16, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Nice write up and photos like always.I am always amazed to see the no of sightings u have on all ur trips to add on u heard the Brainfever Bird (Call) now this i have been wanting to hear for quite sometime now. To add on the elephant sighting wow what an experience it must have been i can only imajin :)

  2. 2 thoughtsinflight
    July 16, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks Anjali :) Appreciate your comments on all our posts.

    A recording for the Brainfever Bird (Common Hawk Cuckoo) call can be heard at http://www.indiabirds.com under the “Hear the bird” section.

  3. 3 Anjali
    July 19, 2007 at 3:06 am

    So nice Thank You :)

  4. 4 anil
    July 19, 2007 at 3:16 am

    sahin, neelu
    Am I glad I found this weblog or what?

    (a) excellent and informative images and words. I’ve been quite a passive, armchair nature-enjoyer. The only activities of note in this context in the past 6 months have been a couple of hikes, youtube viewings of certain Kaziranga incidents, and googling for the differences between Indian kites/hawks/eagles (btw, that last one happily led me to this blog site, god bless search tech.). My visit here to your site may spur me on to greater things in nature-appreciation

    (b) i happen to be your bro! and i’ve made some unsuccessful attempts at getting in touch with you over the past yr. (including blind-emailing a certain hapless sachin nayak @ mphasis.com!). So email me pronto..

    nice nice..

  5. 5 Anush Shetty
    July 19, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Wow.. good stuff. Plan one more trip in october or april-may.

    Even your ramanagaram post is lovely.

  6. October 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Hey, I just went there recently. Not really a bird watcher but an amateur photographer…
    Didnt get to see much as this really isnt the season…

  7. November 18, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Beautiful blog..we would like to invite you to the official blog of Jungle lodges and it would be great if you can share your stories and experiences with the community.Pls mail junglelodgesandresorts@gmail.com or drop in to the blog.

  8. 8 Thanuja
    January 30, 2009 at 11:49 am

    WOW!! A very exotic place indeed from what I hear and see in the picture!! Planning to visit soon!! Thanuja

  9. July 29, 2010 at 3:35 am


    Any idea still the Forest is closed or we can enter in it? as without Forest going to kabini doesn’t make sense.

  10. May 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Beautiful photos and nice write up. I have enjoyed my stay at jungle lodge in May and not so green. you must have taken this sept or so ?

  11. July 31, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and actual effort to make
    a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot
    and don’t manage to get anything done.

  12. September 1, 2019 at 4:35 am

    It is not my first time to pay a quick visit
    this web site, i am visiting this web page dailly and get good facts from here every

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