Last weekend, Karan and I packed 2 backpacks and brought our 2 toddlers to Nagpur for safari! It was HOT and fabulous. Here are the details of how we did it:
Backpacking with Kids
Karan and I have a long history of backpacking before having kids, and this was our first time traveling so light after kids. They are age 2 and almost 4, so we don’t need so much STUFF anymore. It felt GREAT! Karan’s bigger backpack held the clothes for him and I. My smaller backpack held the clothes for Leela and Rumi. Considering that those backpacks have lasted us for a 6-month-long backpacking trip before kids, it didn’t feel like a problem to fit 4 days worth of clothes. Leela also packed a small Frozen backpack with her stuffed animals but she made me carry Rumi’s stuffed animals because she ran out of space 🙂 I brought 2 small coloring books, 6 crayons, 2 children’s book. That was it for their entertainment.
We flew to Nagpur on Saturday afternoon. It’s only a one-hour flight out of the small domestic airport which was great. We stayed over at the Radisson Blu which is close to the airport. Leela and Karan went for a swim, there was a freak hailstorm, we gave the girls dinner and put them to bed.
Everyone was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday (that happens when 4 people are in a hotel room!) which was good because we had the 2-hour drive to Bamboo Forest ahead of us. We arrived at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge which is so beautiful! Their food was delicious and hospitality was wonderful. My city girls were so happy to be in nature. We had lunch, gave the girls naps, took a swim.
On Monday, we had a quiet morning, and then had our safari in the afternoon!!
On Tuesday, we left at 6:30am to drive back to Nagpur and catch our flight home.
The safari through Tadoba National Park was amazing! We spent about 3 hours in the Jeep and we saw monkeys, a crocodile protecting her next, spotted deer, wild boar, gaur, sambar, barking deer, peacock, wild hens and … a TIGER! Funny enough, the monkeys were a highlight for the girls – there were so many of them! It’s not guaranteed to see a tiger, but we were really lucky to see a big male cross the road right in front of us. There was a female in the woods nearby but it was so hot to sit and wait, and there were other people hoping to see her and I felt my loud kids would sabotage their chances, so we moved on.
Yes it is too hot to go to Nagpur, but there comes a point when you live in India and just get sick of planning your whole life around the heat! So we said f*ck it and went. And do you know – we were FINE. We kept the girls and ourselves very hydrated, with water, electrolyte drinks, and juice. One afternoon I have them a long bath in the outdoor shower bath which was shaded. There was a lovely swing under a tree at Bamboo Forest that we sat on in the evenings at sunset time. We made friends with the little boy whose parents work at the resort and kind of invited ourselves to his house to play with his toys. We took naps. We used tons of sunscreen and wore long layers to protect our skin. I let them watch TV in the hotel room and I think it was literally been their first time watching TV.
On the safari itself, their cheeks got very rosy but they didn’t complain once. Kids are remarkably adaptable. And if they had been struggling in any way, I would have cut it short.
We like this type of travel that makes you more resilient, that stretches you, and makes you appreciate the comforts of home. It was really refreshing to step away from our life in Mumbai, spend time watching bugs, and now that I know how hearty the girls are, I’m excited to plan more adventures.
If you have more such trips to recommend around India, I’d love to hear about them!