The Sundarbans Tiger Camp, a Waxpol resort hotel, is located in the Gosaba region of the Sunderbans Delta – a stunning region of mangrove and forests in West Bengal. Though it only has 21 rooms it has a sprawling presence over Dayapur island, one of the few inhabited islands of the 102 that form the Sunderbans.
It’s a pretty resort that though basic in many ways, oozes with undeniable rustic chic. There’s a surprising level of amenity considering it is on a remote island in the mist shrouded Sunderbans. There is some dependence on solar power and the likelihood of any telephonic connection leave alone wi-fi is just as remote.
There’s plenty of well-tended foliage and pretty flowers around the pathways and they make for a lovely evening ramble around the resort. You may come across the gaggle of geese and the guinea fowl that roam around freely in their own patch of the camp.
A short stay here offers an opportunity to let go, be in the moment and really relish the lovely fauna and flora and admire nature’s unique eco system. And be cognitive that not too far away there may be man eating tiger prowling around the mangroves beyond.
If you appreciate wild life and relish the opportunity of spotting a tiger while cruising through sensational scenery then this is for you.
Bird watchers would be in their element – there are plenty of several kinds of Kingfishers and different species to spot without leaving the resort.
There are several styles of accommodation, some have have air conditioning but all are pretty and comfortable. These include huts, non air-conditioned cottages, deluxe cottages, executive rooms and executive cottages. There are some lovely quirks too, including a hand painted mural depicting the wildlife in the rooms, a ceiling fan and rustic locally made furniture.
En-suite bathrooms have showers but getting hot water is sometimes challenging as they use solar power to heat the water. However, there is a bucket which they will fill with heated water as required.
Tea and coffee facilities and bottled water are included with small packets of biscuits and toiletries that include soap, hand cream and dental kits with a bizare masala flavoured toothpaste.
Food and Drink
Food is Bengali cuisine with fish for lunch and chicken at dinner besides vegetarian items and dessert and served in an al fresco restaurant.
There is a nightly bar selling wine, beer and other tipples and every morning tea or coffee is delivered to your room – which sets you up nicely before a crack of dawn river safari.
Facilities and entertainment
Every week the resort puts on a really lovely al fresco tribal dance performance by local dancers who show offer their moves in the light of a blazing bonfire. They also show a 90 minute feature film showing amazing imagery of the area and the tigers.
The guided village walk into Dayapur village is a must-do as it gives an eye-opening insight into what local life may be like in such a remote village. Or hire a bike and get there on two wheels. And where-ever you are on the island keep your binoculars handy as there are plenty of birds to spot.
There is a weekly candle lit gala buffet-style dinner too with plenty of food, drink and entertaining local music.
If you still need more entertainment there is a pool table room, cards room and a library and you can even go fishing within the resort.
If you want a souvenir, visit their quaint gift shop where you can pick up locally made trinkets but probably the best item to buy is a jar of honey. The honey is locally harvested courtesy the local bees who produce a staggering 20,000 tonnes of the stuff every year.
Is Wi Fi available?
The village is a short 15 minute walk away and is really worth exploring. The resort has two small boats for short trips over the river – especially pretty at sunset. And of course the entire Sunderbans National Park is at your doorstep.
Rates for an air conditioned executive cottage with a balcony start at Rs. 14510 (£158) for one night which includes the room, breakfast, lunch and dinner. All excursions are extra.
The resort can arrange transfers for you from Calcutta. The pick up depends on the type of car you choose and starts at Rs. 6500 one way per person. The boat safari costs between Rs.7500 to Rs. 8500 per person depending on the season. There’s also a forest entry fee of Rs. 200 per head per day.