Recently, as a human book on travel, I was conversing with a bunch of corporate employees. The first question they asked me was, “Suggest a weekend getaway from Chennai other than Pondicherry.”
I gave them few options, including Tranquebar, Tada, Yelagiri, etc. However, none of the options seemed to be as enticing as Pondicherry for them. After a week or two, I happened to know about a camping by Exoticamp at Sri City, Tada. As I had a great experience previously with Exoticamp at Vagamon Camping, I was all the more interested to try this camping out.
Sri City, Tada is a smart integrated business city, which is 50-60 km away from Chennai. While I googled about it, most of the articles were related to the IT and business aspects. Slightly bewildered at the thought that this might be Industrial Visit Deja Vu situation for me, I asked one of the organizers of Exoticamp on what we are planning to do at Sri City.
He laughed at my bewilderment and said, “Don’t worry, leave industries, you will not even find time to touch your gadgets once you reach our Nature Camp.” True to the name, the camp was just close to nature.
Located at Satyavedu Mandal, the camping spot is in middle of a huge natural reserve – we even argued a lot on whether we are in the middle of a forest reserve or in a beautiful, lush village. Nevertheless, we were way away from everything other than nature.
Many of you might wonder what will one do when camping with strangers. In fact, that’s a question that many of my friends asked me. In fact, one of my friends was so unsure on how someone can go camping with strangers and without alcohol. Trust me, even I was skeptical, but as I said in my earlier blog post when you are here will neither miss your gang nor alcohol.
1. Diverse Campers:
Somedays I like to be alone with a book, but on the other days, I love to learn a lot from people. That’s why I predominantly support the concept of human books. When you camping with strangers, especially with a safe camping partner like Exoticamp, you will not only meet new people but will also befriend them and learn a lot. For instance, in this camp, I met the owner of the Lenskart store, I usually purchase from. It was a sweet coincidence. I befriended a fellow traveler, who loves camping. I also had an opportunity to talk to a theater artist, a bibliophile, a dancer, a dog owner, etc. From each person, you learn something or the other, and in turn, you share a lot of things as well.
2. Innumerable Activities:
My mom was wondering what will I do in a camp other than sit and sing around the campfire. My close friend was teasing me that I might probably get bored in a place, where there is not much internet connectivity even to upload the photos I click. However, trust me, I was at the camp for good 24 hours and still felt it was insufficient. From volleyball to cricket, from swimming in the creek to kayaking, from cycling to night strolls, we had so much fun to do. We hardly got a minute to feel even remotely bored. From the moment I entered the campsite to the last minute, the organizers were enthusiastic in making me experience something or the other, which was new and fun. From learning to Kayak to getting drenched in waterfalls, I thoroughly enjoyed it all.
3. Family, Kids, and Pets-Friendly Camp
Every time I go on a backpacking tour, my mom keeps a puppy face and asks, “Why can’t I come? I will be an awesome travel buddy.” However, I generally worry about her comfort and take her only to pre-planned luxurious getaways that involve flight travel and AC resort stays. However, this camp in Sri City is perfect not only for elders but for children as well as pets. We camped alongside couples who bought their moms and kids as well. We also had the privilege to camp with 2 lovely pet dogs.
The Swiss tents with basic electric fixtures like fan, light, and charging slot, makes it all the more convenient for families. In addition to that, there are well-maintained eco-toilet and bathroom facilities, so women and children don’t have to worry about safety in that aspect.
What’s more, there are peaceful spots for elderly people to sit and read, do bird watching, take a stroll, etc. Also, as the place is just 65 km from Chennai, traveling with your children or pets will not be a huge issue.
4. Safe, Secure, and Comfortable
This camping spot is leased out by Exoticamp themselves. The place has a security personnel as well as other workers to take care of the campers, in case of emergency situations like power failure, etc. Also, the organizers are well-trained in the camping and traveling field for close to 10 years now. There will be at least one organizer with you when you are doing activities like cycling, kayaking, night strolls, etc.
Furthermore, there is also a rescue team for activities like kayaking, swimming in the creek, etc. What’s more, from Odomos for protection against mosquitoes to life jackets for protection from drowning – everything is provided in the camp.
5. Perfect Getaway
Pondy and ECR are definitely not the only perfect weekend getaways from Chennai anymore. Sri City, Tada is the new Pondy, for me. I have even planned to do this camping again with a bunch of my friends. We are planning to go to Tada early in the morning, trek and relish the waterfalls and reach Sri City by afternoon, chill in the camp, and have a perfect weekend getaway.
Cost per head:
Travel to and fro Sri City is not included.
Do I recommend?
If it’s not already evident, a big fat YES!
Lemme know if you are planning to take this camp or any other camp with Exoticamp, I would love to join.
Photo Courtesy: Fellow Campers and Exoticamp.