Big Red Tent Karnala
Holidays form the most beautiful memories and we as a family thrive on those memories for the year.
We try to squeeze in a holiday every now and then whenever we can. My kids have been wanting to come on trekking trips with me as they here my wonderful adventure stories with awed expressions and big eyes. I was pretty sure they can’t rough it out at all. They have been born in an era where they don’t know life without an air conditioner and I am partly to be blamed for that. I decided to give to give them a small taste of trekking. So we chose a site that I had already done, ie the Karnala Fort. It’s not an easy climb for a 5-year-olds, but then it’s safe and I knew the way, so I chose it. We decide to camp at the Big Red Tent which is situated just 5 minutes drive from there.
Located just 1.5 hours from Mumbai, 12-acre camp ground of Big Red Tent Karnala is a lush green and manicured location flanked by palm trees. There is waterfall right within the campground. It is an ideal camping location. So how was our camping and trekking experience?
It is quite basic but so is camping. We were not expecting much. The picnic wooden table outside the tent and hammocks were just perfect to chill. If you look at the camping ground. They make sets of camps together based on the number of people in a group in one large ground. The ground has a huge gate as well and you can park inside the camping ground.
There are 5-6 make shift toilets and I think one or two shower areas in one designated corner of the camping ground. We were just camping overnight so we didn’t need to take a shower there.
There is a small shack where they have tables and chairs and where the barbeque is set up. We even managed a small campfire.
Contrary to our expectations, we found the tent spacious: large enough for two people and comfortable for one to sit upright. Once zipped up, no creepy crawlies, not even mosquitoes can enter.
Things You Need To Carry
- Crank torch
- Small backpack if you are planning to trek
- a jacket
- Mosquito repellant
- matches or lighter if you want to make a campfire.
- Telescope or the Star gazing app on your phone
- Outdoor Games
- Books to read
You can check in only at 4 pm and it get’s dark pretty soon as you are camping under the stars.
The temperature tends to dip in the night and there are mosquitos so be prepared.
Barbeque dinner is served at 8 pm but if you need your rice and roti kind of meal, you need to check with them earlier or carry your own.
They provide tea and biscuits but I would suggest to carry some snacks on your own.
11pm to 7am are silent hours in the camp and when camping in the night in the wilderness you will tend to sleep early as there is nothing much you can do.
These are proper camps so don’t expect any fans, ACs or TVs.
They take you for a small walk around the camping area and to a nearby hill, but it’s just a very small walk and mostly they do it around dusk so there is very little visibility.
They don’t keep any games around the camp nor have any activities planned out.
The next day we had a nice breakfast with eggs, bread, butter, tea and poha and after the checkout, I took the kids to the Karnala bird sanctuary for a small trek.
I was hoping the BRT guys will take us for the trek but then they don’t do that, while it is misleadingly mentioned on their site. We picked a few large sticks to use as hiking poles and bought some water and tickets at the bird sanctuary grounds before we started climbing. The trail is not manicured and there are lots of steep rocks to be climbed. It took us 1.5 hours to complete 3 posts and that’s when my little one (5 years) gave up. I had done the trail earlier and knew that there was still a very steep climb left, so we walked down which also is not very easy.
Once down, we ate and drank at the local restaurant as we were all famished with the exercise. Though my kids did not finish the trail, I think they got a taste of what trekking and camping is like.
There is a person who is incharge of the camping grounds. You can see he is well experienced with the area and doubles up as a local guide. You can make out he is doing this out of passion and less like a job. It’s people like these which can really improve your experience about a place.
Was decent and not over the top. I did wish they had more snack options during tea time and some more food options during dinner barbeque. The breakfast was just perfect.
Karnala bird sanctuary is a major attraction especially for the kids at the Karnala Campground. There’s a lovely hike within the bird sanctuary. From the same entry point one can also opt for Karnala Fort trek which takes roughly 3 hrs (for experienced) or 4 hrs (for amateurs).
Value for money
At 1600 for adults and 850 for kids below 8 years, it is a very reasonable pricing for that one night camping experience.
I loved the camping site and the greenery and cleanliness, just wished they had more activities planned to keep people involved. However, if you go now reading all the facts you can plan it like a nice picnic.