Lodge Review: Tree House Hideaway, India
Travel to in India’s Umaria district, Madhya Pradesh, and you will find Tree House Hideaway, a Pugdundee Safaris property. Located in the buffer zone of Bandhavgarh National Park, the lodge offers easy access to one of the best national parks for tiger safaris in India. Bandhavgarh National Park is known to have the world’s highest density of Bengal Tigers and is where the BBC filmed the Tiger Dynasties documentary.
The lodge is like a destination in itself and is unique in the fact that it is made up of tree houses. Each tree house has its own private hideaway, tucked away in the wilderness with views out to the jungle. With an expanse of 21 acres of land, the feeling of privacy in the remote wilderness is undeniable. Set high on stilts amongst the trees, the locally made tree houses blend harmoniously into their natural surroundings. While they appear rugged on the outside, stepping inside you realise that nothing has been spared on the interior.
A part of Pugdundee Safaris, the lodge has embraced a sustainable tourism ethos. It is at the heart of the company. Not only are they committed to reducing the impact on the shared environment but also to contributing toward a positive change.
Jungle living here is not without the comforts of home, with a design that is a fusion of contemporary and traditional with earthy and eco essentials. Space is not compromised with the large open bedroom and king-sized bed, living area, writing table and chair. This extends out onto the balcony with lounge chairs and a table so you can sit and watch the wildlife go by. For comfort, there is a split air-conditioner, a stocked mini-bar with tea and coffee and mosquito netting over the bed. The bathroom is just as spacious and is stocked with eco-friendly toiletries.
Possibly the star of this lodge is the main lodge, which is built around a century-old Mahua tree. Split into two levels, the ground level is a cozy dining hall that serves up tantalising local Indian dishes, continental favourites and personalised barbeque meals. Upstairs is a bar and lounge fitted out with a small library, a perfect meeting space to talk about the incredible sightings that you experience when on a safari drive through the National Park.
There is also an emphasis on sustainable and healthy food options. Adopting farm-to-table initiatives, the lodge manages to serve fresh food produce grown in their organic kitchen gardens. If anything is missing, it is sourced from local farmers. More than 70 per cent of the lodge services and procurement needs are met locally, keeping the tourism dollar local. Through this, I enjoyed an authentic and holistic experience during my stay.
Beyond sustainability, conservation is a big part of the guest experience. Tree House Hideaway attracts guests who seek tiger viewing in Bandhavgarh National Park. Being a part of TOFT, Travel Operators for Tigers, is recognition of the standards the lodge upholds for guests partaking in safaris in the park. With activities like elephant back safaris still operating in India, I was determined to stay at a lodge that didn’t engage in any such activities.
For a truly unique experience, a tree house stay is the way to go to embrace different. You can fully immerse yourself in the surrounding nature and enjoy wildlife right from your tree house deck.
Wildlife safaris into the national park are a must and while tiger viewing is never guaranteed, your chances of spotting one are high due to the large concentration of tigers in the area. You can also spot a range of other wildlife such as leopards, sloth bears, deer species, and a plethora of birdlife.
While the focus remains on wildlife, the Tree House Hideaway offers more than just safari adventures. Engage in eco-friendly initiatives like nature walks, birdwatching, or exploring nearby tribal villages that provide a glimpse into traditional ways of life. Indulge your senses as you reconnect with the rhythms of the earth.
Need to know when staying
Tiger Safari: Book a game safari to go spot tigers and other wildlife in Bandhavgarh National Park, where the BBC filmed the famous documentary, Tiger Dynasties.
Sustainable Stay: Know your stay has minimal impact on the environment with zero single-use plastic, natural architecture in harmony with nature, re-wilded native species and farm-to-table initiatives.
Specialty Dining: Try the local Baiga cuisine of Bandhavgarh cooked over Chulhas by the local ladies in the village, all in an intimate jungle dinner setting.
How to Book
To book your stay and wildlife safaris, contact Pugdundee Safaris on +91-011-40146400 & +91-011-40132687, or email email@example.com. You can get more information by visiting their website pugdundeesafaris.com.
The writer Kate Webster was a guest at Tree House Hideaway. Tree House rooms start from INR 22000 (AUD392) per night with meals included. treehousehideaway.com / pugdundeesafaris.com