I’ve never stayed anywhere like Sujan Jawai. Though I’ve been on Safari, in Africa and India, my accommodations were never anything close to as unique as this place. Sujan Jawai really feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. You can’t take regular cars there, instead you’re greeted a few km outside of the camp with welcome drinks and and a safari truck to take you in on winding dirt roads, or occasionally, over giant boulders where you question the truck’s capabilities. Once you arrive, you’re greeted with a champagne welcome, tour, and introduction to your luxury tents. The staff takes care of absolutely everything, but without a pretentious or stuffy air. It’s a pretty magical place.
Your days are structured around twice-daily safari drives, should you chose to avail of them. Other than that, you eat, have massages, do yoga, go on walks, or relax around one of the lounge areas. It’s full-board, and the food is top notch, which is great considering you have no choice. In the evening they set up a bonfire where you can have a pre dinner drink and keep warm.
The highlight of course, were the game drives. Seeing a leopard is not a guarantee, though the scenery alone is worth the drive. Plus, the staff provides a basket full of teas and snacks to accompany your journey. And on the your final drive, gin and tonics.
We were lucky to have one of their better trackers who spotted Nigel, the leopard as an impossibly tiny spec on a cliff face on our first drive. We’d then see him again on our next morning drive much closer. This was, apparently extremely lucky. And pretty incredible, I’ve never see a leopard in person, and while I know they are predators Nigel seemed mostly content with lazing about various rock faces as we tried to catch glimpses of him.
Jawai was truly a rare and unique travel experience, and we loved every second we spent there. The peaceful silence of this place is even more rare, the noise pollution in India is extreme, from calls to prayer, to music blasting from weddings until 4am, to the constant horns, even in rural areas it’s hard to not be woken up by some noise. But in Jawai, far away from everything we got our first taste of silence. It was hard to leave. The luxury, the kind staff, the food, the rides through the desert in search of leopards. But of course, we had more to explore. From very rural India we’d make our way back to the city-Jodhpur.