About Backwoods Camp
Backwoods Camp is ideally located at the heart of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, bounded to one side by a seasonal stream and merging into the forest, makig it the perfect location from which to explore the prolific avifauna of the area.
You will soon be introduced to the commoner inhabitants of the forest and foothills. From first light, when the noisy cackle of the Malabar Grey Hornbill announces the start of the day, until dusk, when the Indian Pitta sounds its shrill whistle, days here are accompanied by the sounds of the forest, while at night its silence is disturbed by the calls of Oriental Scops Owl and Ceylon Frogmouth.
Owned and run by birders, for birders, the camp has a unique atmosphere where you will feel at home, and with only 14 rooms it is small enough not to interfere with the surrounding environment.
Backwoods Camp is located in the village of Matkan near Tambdi Surla, famous for its 13th century temple - a National Monument, in Goa's Sanguem taluka. The camp is just a few kilometres from the border of Goa with the neighbouring state of Karnataka, and a distance of approximately 70km (a travel time of 1hr 45min) from the coast and the capital city, Panjim.
The camp and surrounding areas have a birdlist of over 260 species, including many sought after specialities. Birds commonly seen within the camp grounds include Malabar Trogon, Flame-throated and Yellow-browed Bulbuls, Orange Minivet, Puff-throated and Dark-fronted Babblers, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Indian Blackbird, Malabar Whistling-thrush, Orange-headed Thrush, Indian Pitta, Small Sunbird, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Black-naped Blue Monarch, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Ceylon Frogmouth, Oriental Scops Owl, and Brown Hawk-owl.
Besides the birds, the camp is frequented by troops of Hanuman Langurs and Bonnet Macaques, while fruiting trees attract endemic Malabar Giant Squirrels.
Butterflies are abundant and confiding, with species including the spectacular Malabar Banded Peacock and delicate Malabar Tree Nymph, both found solely in the Western Ghats.
The camp has mains electricity, however the supply can be erratic. In case of power failure a light and fan in each room operate on an inverter, and failing this the camp generator will be run in the morning and evening. Candles are provided in all rooms.
Each bathroom has running cold water, supplied from our well. Water heaters are installed in the two farmhouse bedrooms; elsewhere we will supply a bucket of hot water in the evening on request.
Wholesome buffet meals of traditional local recipes, cooked with fresh local produce in the camp kitchen, are served in our streamside sitout.
Tea and coffee are available throughout the day, while our bar is stocked with water, soft drinks and some local refreshers, beer, and a range of spirits – including Goa’s own Caju Feni, distilled in the nearby village.
When to visit:
the peak season is 1st October - 30th April, yet we do remain open through the summer and ensuing monsoon. The most productive period for birding, also the most comfortable in terms of climate, is November to early March when winter migrants can be found alongside resident species. After this the heat can become an obstacle to birding, and many migratory species begin to move north. For butterflies the best months are October to early February.
Temperature and climate:
Daytime temperatures from October to mid-March are usually in the range of 25-30C, dipping at night, occasionally below 15C between mid-December and mid-January. By April the summer heat becomes oppressive as daytime temperatures rise to 30-35C, remaining warm at 20-25C during the night. At this time humidity is high, at times uncomfortably so, often exceeding 70% inside the forest.
It is not unusual to experience the last showers of the monsoon in October and the first half of November, yet the unpredictability of unseasonal rainfall in recent years indicates that showers are a possibility at any time throughout the year. The monsoon sets in by mid-June, and although birding is possible it is subject to breaks in the rain until October.
Clothing and equipment:
We recommend comfortable walking shoes, shoes or sandals for use within the camp, and at least one pair of long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt for use on walks inside the forest to prevent insect bites. We advise our guests to bring insect repellent (plug-in insecticide vaporisers are provided in all rooms), a pocket torch, and of course bins and scope.
Facilities at the camp include a natural history reference library, and telephone for local calls (international calls may be available on urgent request).
With the stream adjoining our grounds the camp is endowed with a natural swimming pool of crystal clear water until early March, and for the non-birder the camp is an ideal place to relax with a book, or simply unwind in the peace and quiet of the forest.
Backwoods Camp Accommodation :- 6 large safari-style tents, pitched on raised platforms, simply furnished (twin beds)
- 6 comfortable independent cottages, simply furnished (twin beds or a large double)
- 2 small but cosy rooms on the first floor of our farmhouse (double bed)
- Spread among the trees in over 3 acres of forest on the edge of the sanctuary, each 'room' has its own private en-suite bathroom (wc, wash basin, and shower), and covered verandah overlooking the forest - the perfect place to relax during the heat of the day (with a birds-eye view of feeding flocks in the forest canopy from the farmhouse).