And, if you happen to set up base at Kipling Camp, the experience of returning to your room, too, is quite special. When you come back from your safari all icy-nosed and in need of a warm drink, you’re greeted by Tara, the cheeky pachyderm, stationed outside the lodge with a friendly trumpet or a tinkle of her chains. The star of British author Mark Shand’s novel Travels on my Elephant easily steals the show at this camp. And one of the most memorable things you can do here is give up your afternoon nap to follow this adorable creature, as she ambles, her big bum swaying comically, down to the river, which is clearly her favourite spot (3pm; free). Allow her some time to gambol in the water, where she flops down with a huge splash, before jumping into the river yourself (but keep your distance – nobody likes a crowded pool). When the mahout calls out to her for a scrub down, you, too, can join in, and later feed her biscuits as she stands elegantly on a rock to dry in the sun.
Keeping pace with an elephant is hard work, so when you return to the camp, go ahead and sprawl out on one of the cots (whose legs are thoughtfully placed in small cans of water and kerosene so that pesky termites don’t join you in your siesta) placed under the mahua trees. With lots of ou