I chose Skays camp as a base because I wanted the best chance to see and photograph tigers. It certainly delivered. The owners are experts and their knowledge of tigers is second to none. They made surge I was in the right place to get the best shots sending out a man to queue for hours to get tickets for the best tiger zones. they then made sure I was in the right position to get the bet shots. I set out with one aim in mind, to photograph tigers, and Skays camp certainly delivered.
Skays's Camp provided the perfect accommodation for my stay in Tala March/April 2018. The location is well situated as you are only a 2 minute drive from the Tala gate which is important for the early starts and later finishes. The rooms are clean and comfortable with everything you need from a warm shower to air conditioned rooms in the heat of the day. The camp has very good internet both in the rooms and communal areas which was important for me as I needed to access emails on location. Food consists of a large array of fruit and cereals for breakfast along with cooked eggs if you wish - I opted for tomato and cheese omelette most days. Other meals were a variety of filling vegetarian dishes which was great after an exciting drive in the jungle.
The camp amenities are one thing but the best part about staying at Skay's Camp is that you have both Satyendra and Kay (the camp owners). If you are looking to learn as much as possible about Tigers and the variety of wildlife in the Indian jungle, there is certainly no better place to stay. Both are extremely passionate and have been working in the area for many many years. Kay and Satyendra know the Tigers so well that we could look for certain individuals and even avoid the crowds at times to find our own Tigers. This knowledge was very important for me and I learnt a great deal about the wildlife on location.
The entire team in camp were very friendly from the kitchen staff to the drivers themselves and nothing was too much trouble. I have not long been back but already organising my stay for 2020!
The best word to describe Skays Camp is probably rustic. This is not a fancy place but if you are coming to Bandhavgarh to see tigers then there probably isnt anywhere better to ensure a good park experience. The lodge consists of separate bungalows that are simple but adequate. Our bungalow had comfortable twin beds, good air conditioning plus ceiling fan and a tiled bathroom with tepid water that was fine in the summer heat. There is no TV and no internet which for us was not an issue because we were there to see tigers not to surf cat videos.
The lodge is family owned and run with a relaxed communal atmosphere. All meals are provided as part of the tariff and are taken in the dining room family style with the owners. Breakfast is the usual fruit, cereal, toast and eggs to order. Other meals consist of simple but tasty vegetarian dishes.
The lodge is close to Bandhavgarh NP and they have excellent management of drives within the park. We saw tigers on each of our 3 drives. Nothing is guaranteed but if there are tigers to be seen these people are going to locate them for you. Their drivers seemed well trained and disciplined which is more than can be said for many others. I dont hesitate in recommending Skays Camp for visitors to Bandhavgarh based on their excellent knowledge of the park and enthusiasm for the local wildlife.
We stayed at Skays Camp for a week and had a superb time, both during the safaris and during our stay in the lodge.
The owners Satyendra and Kay are truly passionate about Bandhavgarh and its tigers. Kay has actually a very impressive 'family tree' of all the known tigers in the park that dates back to the time when the iconic tigress known as Sita ruled the center of the park some 25 years ago. You will found hanging in the dining hall. The family tree reflects actually as a testimony to their deep knowledge and love for the park and all the animals.
Kay is also an excellent wildlife artist. After many years of observing the mammals and birds of Bandhavgarh in their natural habitat, she has mastered the rare art of capturing their spirit in her paintings, especially those of the tigers.
Her husband, Satyendra has lived in Tala and Bandhavgarh for more than 30 years now, and surely no one has a better knowledge of the park and the tigers since it was established 50 years ago. During diners he happily shares several extraordinary and also some funny stories from the past. He is a dedicated and talented photographer, and his pictures are being published regularly.
Being both keen naturalists and wildlife artists, Satyendra and Kay made sure that every drive into the park was more than enjoyable. Actually we were most impressed about how much they love and care about the park, the animals and the people that live nearby.
On the one occasion an entry into the park was not possible, they took us for a drive into the bufferzone which was actually as interesting and beautiful than a safari into the core zone.
During our stay in the month of March we managed 14 tiger sightings, of which 9 were different tigers. An impressive record, I think. Even though every tiger sighting is exciting in itself, some of these sightings were really memorable.
The lodge offers anything one can hope for during a safari. Staff are friendly and ever helpful. Room and bathroom were clean and spacious. Food is healthy and safe. Diner time was always a good time to share stories with other guests and Kay and Satyendra.
All in all we had a fantastic week, and are looking forward to return to Bandhavgarh and Skays Camp. We also think that a minimum stay of 3 or 4 days is recommended. Enjoy it !
So you have Kay, an accomplished artist, passionate about nature, who has 20 years experience engaging with the wildlife and people in the Park (she even developed a symbolic notation to identify each tiger and its' family tree, drawn up in large diagrams on their walls!); and you have Satyendra, wildlife photographer, Indian National Tiger Authority rep. for the area, called Guruji by several of the official guides; and you have the privilege of their time and company during drives and in their homestay.
The experience is unforgettable. Kay and Satyendra's deep connection to the Park ecosystem, their knowledge of the animals, birds and butterflies informing their fun and knowledgeable commentary as you bounce around in jeeps - and back at home, over food and chai, their commitment to making their guests feel at home and have memorable times, makes it an immersive experience. We - 67 year old couple - left feeling connected to the Park in a holistic way - understanding something of the personal, historical and geographic context of the place and its' inhabitants. And yes, we saw tigers - though the most thrilling part was tracking, Kay/Satyendra collaborating with the guides to identify particular tigers and their families, interpreting where they would most likely be travelling and then being in the right spot at the right time to hear the alarm calls getting closer as the cat heads in your direction. But we also saw and had identified for us myriad birds and butterflies, stopped just to look and breathe in the beauty of the Park, and managed to avoid most of the mad crowds gathered around a day's sighting, with jeeps revving and racing around to get the best shots: understandable but counter-productive in the long run for tiger sightings.
They describe accurately their accommodation as simple, which means clean, comfortable and attractive. The food is plentiful and tasty, staff hospitable and charming. And the shared common rooms and meals, with Kay and Satyendra, bring it all alive. Thanks!