Aman-i-khas: Luxury Tiger Safari Camp in India

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Hot off the press from Aman-i-Khas in Rajasthan, India

Aman-i-Khas is a ten-tent luxury safari camp on the outskirts of Ranthambore National Park. It is nestled within a brush forest near the village of Sawai Madhopur. The main attraction in the area is the Bengal Tiger, but there is also a wide array of other wildlife including crocodiles, leopards, jackals, Sambar deer, peacocks, and around 300 species of birds. In addition to the safaris, Aman-i-Khas offers multiple unique excursions that include a trip to Ranthambore Fort, sunset camel rides,  and tours of the local village.

My Experience

Getting there: My husband and I made the trek to Aman-i-Khas from Agra by train. (This can also be done via New Delhi.) I had heard horror stories of the trains in India so I was definitely a bit apprehensive. Luckily, Aman-i-Khas sent a batman (personal butler) out to meet us at the train station to accompany us on our journey. He helped us with our bags and made sure we got on the right train. He set us up in a first class air-conditioned semi-private room (max 4 people) where a Scottish couple was sitting. Our batman whipped out a beautifully patterned Indian blanket and laid it out over the sofa for us to sit on. It seemed the couple sitting across from us were wondering why they didn’t get a pretty fabric to sit on. But then our butler came back and pulled out a small folding table. He set out two cold water bottles, a container of freshly baked banana bread and cookies, and gave us hot towels to clean our hands. I overheard the woman sitting across from us quietly ask her husband why they had not been set up so nicely. I thought to myself, “because you made the mistake of not booking with Aman.” Aman Resorts never miss a detail, no matter how small it may be. So when the choice came to book at Aman or the competing 5 star resort – I knew my choice.

Amanikhas tent house

Most of Rajasthan is a very different world than what us Western hemisphere folks are used to, and the train ride through the small villages of the countryside gave us some perspective of this. It felt like I had stepped into a time warp – taken back hundreds of years. Many places were without electricity, or even running water, and people cooked their meals in homemade clay ovens, powered by burning cow dung. Animals roamed the streets in large numbers while local villagers sat around arranged piles of burning trash – trying to warm their brittle hands. Bedazzled camels carried small loads of cargo, with patterns painted on their faces and colorful netting over their backs. Unlike America’s Starbucks-obsessed society, coffee in Rajasthan is a distant luxury that is mostly replaced with tea. The men seem to stand around enjoying this tea while the women do most of the physical work. We were surprised when our guide told us that many of the Rajasthani men were, for the most part, lazy. We caught a glimpse of this as the women were seen doing all of the roadwork, and carrying heavy loads on top of their heads. I found it very interesting that as poor as these people were, all of the women looked so vibrant and beautiful in their pressed saris and braided hairdos. A totally refreshing and spiritual vibration radiates from Rajasthan’s landscapes. Something you can’t understand until you visit for yourself.

Trip to North India

Aman-i-Khas: I’ve heard Aman-i-Khas referred to as the most luxurious camping in the world. While I cannot disagree with this, the kind of luxury we experienced was not a flashy, pretentious type of luxury. It was a minimalistic, organic, and authentic kind of luxury. Aman Resorts always seem to be more focused on the experience than anything else – and they do an unmatched job at that. The property here is not impeccably manicured with flashy decorations as one might expect from “the most luxurious camping in the world”. It is arranged in a well-thought-out and intimate setting within a natural brush forest. Each air-conditioned tent (there are 10) is far enough apart to ensure each guest has plenty of privacy. Tents are designed to echo Mughal Pavilions with cotton drapes separating the sleeping, dressing, and bathing areas.

Property: A stroll through the property reveals a library and gift shop tent, a dining tent, and an outdoor dining terrace. A large square-shaped sofa is set around the main fire pit with little lanterns strewn throughout. This is the main area where guests can mingle with a sunset cocktail and enjoy the occasional wildlife viewing. I was able to witness some large deer roaming through the grounds, as well as two resident crocodiles, whom dwelled down by the property’s lake. Small lantern-lit pathways lead guests to the tented spa, gardens, and a contemporary style pool.

Amanikhas India

Dining: While the menu options are limited, we found each meal to be fantastic. I later found out that Aman-i-Khas grows all of its own fruits, vegetables, and herbs in its beautiful organic garden, which made me enjoy the food even more. You can’t beat that kind of freshness.

Trip to North India
Dining at Amanikhas
Jungle Dinner Amanikhas

Service: All guests are assigned their very own batman (butler). Our batman arranged everything for us, and waited on us during all of our meals. He came with us on our excursions – to ensure our safety and to provide us with whatever we needed. Hot towels, snacks, water? We were covered. He also made sure to keep his distance to give us the perfect amount of privacy. On our last night, our butler set up a private dinner for us in the middle of the jungle. He just said he wanted to make dinner plans for us. He took us to where they had set up multiple clay ovens, a bar, fire pit, and a beautifully set table for two. There was a chef cooking authentic Indian food – the real way – and he taught us how to make naan bread. There had to have been at least a hundred lanterns hanging in the trees and on the ground. The lengths they went to – to provide an authentic and very special experience for us was almost unbelievable. Nowhere else will you ever see service like this.

The Best Dishes in India
Amanikhas sunset

The Tigers: Let me start by saying that I have had a fear of large cats since I was a little girl. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had nightmares about lions, tigers, and bears. (Oh my!) I’m not going to lie, I was terrified to go on this safari. Mostly because the open-air jeeps they use are more like go-carts, very low to the ground, and within easy reach of any wildlife. I had also heard that just the year before someone had been eaten by one of the tigers in this very park. My husband was very excited about the safari so I figured I’d try my best to conquer my fears.

We opted for the private safari with a driver and a naturalist and left the resort early in the morning while it was still dark. The drive into Ranthambore National Park had me feeling a bit like I was about to enter the gates of Jurassic Park, where carnage and mayhem were about to break loose. I know… I have a wild imagination!

Trip to North India

We were told over and over again that spotting a tiger is very rare, but if we were lucky enough we might see one. A couple who had been staying at the resort longer than us, was on their fifth safari and still hadn’t spotted a tiger. I only booked one safari and secretly hoped that we wouldn’t see one! We had only been in the park for 30 minutes when a massive male tiger stood directly in the middle of the road, staring at us.

Trip to North India
Trip to North India

The driver stopped the car and turned off the engine so we could take photos. The fact that he had turned off the engine made me feel like we were a four-person smorgasbord buffet just waiting to get eaten. Although this tiger really seemed like he couldn’t care less about us being there. He tiger walked towards us, drank some water, and then went to lie in the grass. He was obviously used to humans. This gave me a little relief and for a few minutes and I was able to just watch this marvelous creature, up close, in its natural habitat. But then two jeeps came up close behind us and turned off their engines. The tiger got up and started walking towards us. He got closer and closer and I begged our driver to back up because I feared I’d soon be a half-eaten-Misha-steak. However we could not back up because the cars behind us didn’t want to move. We just had to wait it out and hope he wasn’t hungry. At this point I was about finished with the safari… but the safari wasn’t finished with me! We drove around for three more hours and saw all sorts of other wildlife. While I was totally enjoying myself, I was also scared beyond belief at the thought of running into another tiger, and wouldn’t you know it… we did! The only way to get out of the park was to get within arms reach of her. My husband wanted to stop and take photos of her but I was too afraid. I gave him my camera and as we drove right next to her he snapped a photo. She lifted her tail and gave us a look as if to say “what’s the hurry?”

Trip to North India
Tiger in India

In hindsight, I probably should not have been so terrified. Thousands of tourists visit Ranthambore National Park every year, and the tigers have never attacked anyone inside of the vehicles. Despite my fear of tigers, looking back on my India trip and all of the destinations and resorts we visited, my time at Aman-i-khas was definitely my favorite part.

Sunset camel ride Aman-i-khas
Amanikhas hike

Showing 19 comments
  • EVH

    This looks awesome!! Trip of a lifetime.

    • Misha

      It was pretty wonderful!

  • Patrick

    Wow! This is the exact type of place my wife and I have been looking for. We’ve been on African safaris multiple times but have been wanting to see the tigers in India. Thank you for bringing this wonderful tented camp to our attention. -Patrick

    • Misha

      Patrick,

      If you have an interest in seeing tigers, this is the place to go! Feel free to ask me any questions if you are considering a booking.

  • Vanessa Vincent

    What a rich and beautiful experience. Truly breathtaking. Your descriptions and photos make me feel as if I’m there taking it all in with you. This is why travel exists!! A total dream come true. I can’t get enough of the tiger photos!

    • Misha

      Thanks Vanessa!

  • Lily

    I would love to see the tigers!

    • Misha

      Lily,

      It is a once in an exhilarating experience for sure. You should go.

  • Vanessa Rivers

    It looks peaceful and gorgeous there! I have to stay at Aman-i-khas sometime in my life! I have never even touched a camel. I can’t wait to ride one. The tiger photos you took are amazing! Your photography is so beautiful!!!! I love reading all your post!

    • Misha

      Thanks for reading it, Vanessa, and for your kind comments.

  • Lakshmi

    Of all the wonderful write-ups you’ve done, i think this is the most exhilirating! Thank you for being so thorough, from the organic garden, to the camels, monkeys & tigers, to the surprise fresh jungle cuisine!

    • Misha

      Haha! Of all the adventures I’ve taken, this one takes the term “exhilarating” to whole new level!

  • Anna Elbek

    This looks like heaven!! Wild animals, amazing food and luxury surprises around every corner!! I am putting this one on the bucket list😘😘 Amazing video!! I felt like I was there.

    • Misha

      Thanks Anna!

  • Matthew Latsha

    Wow Misha, our next trip to India will definitely be booked using only Aman Resorts due to seeing and hearing how you were treated!!!
    I loved how close you sat to your husband because of your fears. It looked like he was going to be pushed off the truck cuz you were so close, lol

    • Misha

      Haha! Yes, I was a bit freaked out. But in the end so glad I did it! And yes, book with Aman, you cannot go wrong!

  • Sheila Martinson

    Hey Misha, your trip looks like it was amazing! I have a few questions, how many nights did you stay? Also did you book the safari and camel ride prior to your trip? I’m planning my own visit and I would love to visit Aman….actually I want to visit all the places you reviewed! But we are short on time and just need some advice on how long to book each location. Thanks!

    • Misha

      Hi Sheila,
      -I was at Amanikhas for 2 nights
      -I did book the camel ride and safari prior to my trip
      -I would suggest at least two to three nights at Amanikhas. Most people do not see a tiger on their first safari so you may want to leave time for more than one. I was told we got extremely lucky to see two tigers. Another couple had been on five safaris and ha not seen any.
      I hope that helps!

      • Sheila Martinson

        Thanks for the info! I hope we see a tiger too!

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