“We fell in love with the colourful Himalayan forests of Uttarakhand and created a little settlement in one of its quiet valleys. We’d love to welcome you in our humble jungle aboard for a real forest adventure!”
~Gauri & Manav, hosts at Getaway Jungle Camp.
~Hemu & Rahul, managers at the Camp.
Camping in the middle of a Himalayan forest is not everyone’s idea of a holiday! If you are up for spending the night with a lantern, exploring the jungle at night with a torch, living in a tent amid a dense jungle, rappelling on the rock face, waking up at midnight to the call of the barking deer, or if you’re lucky, a leopard, then you are sure to love an adventure at Getaway Jungle Camp.
Sattal literally means seven lakes, and while two of those have dried up, the ones that remain are reason enough to visit this lesser known neighbour of Nainital & Bhimtal. The two lower lakes look something like a photoshopped picture; isolated turquoise blue waters nestled in a colourful forest of maple, oak & deodar. The three smaller lakes have joined to form a big one, on one side of which lie most of Sattal’s lodgings and food joints, while the other is draped by a dense forest amid which the camp is located.
Getaway Jungle Camp is true to its name, and to reach it, you must cross the big lake by boat (or a swim!), and hike a short distance through the woods. The campsite is a dried out lake of Sattal, making it a specular valley whose hillsides are dotted with colourful trees of oak, pine and deodar The two dozen tents of the camp are interspersed with tall, bright green poplar trees, planted back in the early 1990s. The surrounding forest is home to leopards, porcupines, wild boar and barking deer. Its location in this forest makes the camp a haven for bird lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, and an ideal place to spend a few days in the wild.
Accommodation is provided in Safari tents to compliment the charm of the jungle. Each tent is equipped with twin beds and comfortable bedding for a good night’s sleep. The tent has netted windows to air it during the day. Shared western-style bathrooms & showers are located in a walled enclosure in a corner of the camp. Extra quilts and hot water bottles are provided during the colder winter months. Hot water is available through a hamam.
There is no electricity at the camp, to ensure that it does not disturb the wildlife of the jungle. At night, lanterns are provided, bonfires are lit, the stars sparkle in the sky, and a torch is a must to survive the dark.
The chef of the camp and his assistant Sachin, whip up delicious food in the kitchen. Breakfast typically consists of bread, cutlets, eggs or paranthas, while seasonal vegetables and lentils are served during lunch and dinner. Non-vegetarian food can be prepared on prior request; someone from Hemu’s team at the camp will trek through the mountains to Bhimtal to procure fresh stock for you.
Hot tea, made sweet and milky, is available at the camp. You can ask Sachin, the assistant chef, to procure soft drinks from the Sattal market.
Depending on whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway, an active adventure, or a mix of both, you can choose from the following activities:
On prior request:
A stay at Getaway Jungle Camp is priced at: INR 5,000 per couple per night
The above is inclusive of the following:
Sattal is located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, near the hill stations of Nainital and Bhimtal. The nearest railway station is at Kathgodam, from where a taxi can drop you off at Sattal, about 1 hour away.
Driving to Sattal from Delhi takes approximately 7-8 hours via the Rampur – Bilaspur – Haldwani – Kathgodam – Bhimtal – Sattal route.
Paddle or rowing boats are available along the riverside dhabas of Sattal. Getaway Jungle Camp is located on the other shore, a short 10-minute hike into the forest. A longer, alternate trekking route through the forest leads you directly to the camp without having to cross the river.
Weather at the camp is pleasant throughout the year, except during the monsoon months of July & August, when it pours continuously. The camp is only partially operational during the monsoons, but if you love the outdoors in the monsoons and can handle the forest in the rain, go for it.
The valley where the camp is located receives plenty of sunshine during the day, while early mornings and nights range from chilly to cold, depending on the time of the year. Extra quilts, hot water bottles and bonfires are available to keep you warm on a winter night.
Getaway Jungle Camp certainly isn’t for the faint hearted! Set your heart to adventure, go with an open mind, and the jungle might just surprise you.
“We enjoyed our stay at the Jungle Camp at Sattal and feel that it was good value for money. The place was a great for birding. The food and lodging arrangements were good too. We enjoyed our conversations with Hemant, Nitesh and the others. We are likely to visit the camp again.”
~ Nikhil and Radhika, travelled in June 2014
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Getaway Jungle Camp is located on private forest land, where Gauri & his team planted poplar trees in the early 90s, in what was then a barren valley made from a dried out lake of Sattal. No trees were felled to create space for the camp. No electricity is provided at the camp, in an attempt to preserve the natural environment of the region’s wildlife.
Hemu and his team of adventure enthusiasts expertly manage the farm and double as trekking guides. They hail from the surrounding village and the jungle is their second home.
Below are some tips to practice responsible travel while at Getaway Jungle Camp: