Jungle Retreat is a family run establishment; a combination of wilderness, serenity and comfort appreciated by travelers from across the world. We, the Mathias family, have lived on tea plantations for years, in close proximity to the jungles of Tamil Nadu. Nestled in the foothills of the Nilgiris and skirting the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Jungle Retreat was born of this close bond with our surroundings.
We’ve come a long way since our beginnings in 1996. We offer accommodation in country-style cottages with sprawling private verandahs that afford spectacular views of receding mountains and tropical jungles.
Immerse yourself in our hospitality, and relax amongst friends you have just met. As each day goes by, find yourself swapping stories and photographs with staff and guests. You will begin to appreciate we are not a hotel.
We have been providing direct and indirect employment to families in the area since our inception. The jobs are not menial ones. The locals work with us in the capacity of wildlife guides, housekeeping staff, management staff, service staff, drivers, kitchen staff etc. Families we employ now have steady and considerably increased incomes. Consequently, their children are able to attend school regularly and have a better shot at a brighter future. Over and above this, we also sponsor school fees and books for several of our staff’s children, from primary through high school.
Dependency on the jungle for livelihood has also decreased dramatically.
In addition to employing locals, we run a ‘specialist guides programme’ wherein we train and provide work opportunities to members of the local community as nature guides. We teach them the importance of environmental interpretation, wildlife safety and natural history.
Additionally, we impart a variety of vocational skills like communicating effectively in English, cooking, driving etc.
We have also built and encouraged local interest in ornithology. Our guides are provided with binoculars and birding books. We got many of our guides interested in nature photography and encouraged them by teaching them how to use state-of-the-art cameras like the Canon 5D Mark 2. They now assist us in documenting the local fauna and birdlife.
We use a combination of rainwater harvesting soak pits and tanks, as well as water conserving foot taps. At present, we are working on building a waste-water treatment plant where grey water will be treated and made reusable.
Most of our hot water requirements are provided by solar water heater systems installed at all our cottages and in the kitchen. Organic waste from our restaurant and kitchen is turned into compost and used as organic fertilizer in our reforestation programs. Non-organic waste is segregated and handed over to the local waste dealer, most of which is then recycled, as there is scrap value for these commodities.
The neighbouring tribal villages face water scarcity during the summer months every year. We provide water to the houses of all our employees and in some cases to the hamlets and school. This is done entirely at our cost.