A couple of years ago, my friends and I had graduated from college and entered the work force for the first time. We trudged along for six months, and by December the sheen of making our own money had worn off and was replaced by a desperate need for some peace and tranquility. So we scraped together whatever savings we had accumulated and booked ourselves into a room at Denwa Backwater Escape (DBE) near the Satpura Tiger Reserve. Best decision ever.
Location and How to Get There
DBE is a two and a half hour drive from Bhopal. We flew down to Bhopal from Mumbai, and hired a taxi to DBE. The ride can get a bit bumpy, especially in the last stretch since this property is in the middle of nowhere (which is the best part). It is located right near the Denwa River, and the Satpura Forest Reserve is on the other side of the river.
DBE has limited rooms – eight cottages and two tree houses – but this only adds to the charm of the place. The rooms have been done in earthy tones and materials so as to blend in with the wilderness.
But the best thing about the rooms is the view! Our room overlooked the river and we could see the forest on the other side. They have fully leveraged the beautiful view by making the entire wall opposite the bed in glass. The cottages also have an individual sit out area and a terrace from where you can get an even better view of the river and forest.
The bathrooms are large and airy – I’m happy to report that everything inside works.
DBE has a buffet lunch and dinner, while for breakfast they serve the usual breakfast-y stuff (toast, eggs, tea, coffee) and one other dish that changes everyday. We were told that the ingredients are locally sourced and therefore, the menu is seasonal and limited. They do not serve a la carte. Nothing to fret about though – the food was delicious and we had no complaints.
I cannot talk about the dining experience at DBE without mentioning the dining room. What makes dining here truly spectacular is the little deck they have adjoining the dining room where you can sit and eat. Breakfast out on the deck is nothing short of paradise! JUST LOOK AT IT:
They also have a lovely fireplace in the dining room, which made dinners in the December cold, warm and cozy.
The staff is warm and friendly. Every night they would put hot water bottles in our beds, which was a nice little surprise. DBE also has a guide who comes along with you on your safari. He was an amiable man and really seemed to know his stuff.
DBE is Rs. 14,500 per room per night, which includes three meals a day for two, and a safari a day for two. However, we went a couple of years ago, so the prices may have changed.
This and that
DBE does not have TVs or internet. There is also no cellphone reception except for BSNL phones, that too only in the reception area. So if you have a pesky workaholic spouse/parent coming along with you, or if you’re a tech-addict yourself, be warned.
But the separation from technology need not scare you – DBE has more than a few activities to keep you engaged. They have safaris, night safaris, boat safaris (they take you on a boat along the river to look at different species of birds. Although it may sound like a snooze fest, watching the sunset on the river is something that you should not miss!), bicycles which you can ride in the resort, and board games.
Also, for an extra charge, they will organize a romantic candle lit dinner for two on the banks of the river. They also have a swimming pool, which we didn’t use since it was too cold to swim.
This was the first time I had been on safari or to a jungle lodge, and what an initiation it was! Our stay at DBE was very relaxing, and the service was amazing. However, if you’re a safari enthusiast expecting to see tigers and a wide variety of animals on safari, you will be disappointed. I recommend this for anyone who just wants to take a break from the daily grind.