My family (3 senior citizens aged 70 - 78, my wife, our 7 year old son and I) drove from Nainital to Chopta last week for 2 nights. My main goals for the trip were to photograph some interesting landscapes/timelapses and also see the elusive Himalayan Monal (though 3 of us are avid birdwatchers, we had not seen this magnificent bird in the wild ever!)
Initially I was in contact with some of the other Chopta camps and had almost booked ourselves in one of them, but then two of my father's acquaintances, who travel to Chopta often, recommended Magpie Jungle Camp - so we decided to stay there instead. I got in touch with Mr. Ashish Bhatt from Magpie on the phone and he was most helpful and prompt in responding to all my queries and confirmed our booking with zero hassles.
While we drove down from Chopta village towards Magpie Jungle Camp, we passed some of the other camps that I had almost booked - and were very relieved to discover that Magpie was by far the better location and staying option, due to its tucked away setting (a 300 metres walk from the car parking area, slightly uphill but easily do-able by the elders in our group). The other camps are located almost adjacent to the main road with all the related noise, traffic and disturbances impacting your experience. But the meadow in which Magpie Jungle Camp is located is not visible from the main road at all. And since this location is on the "Char Dham" route to Kedarnath, a lot of cars and buses carrying religious tourists and pilgrims ply in this road.
The tents we were provided at Magpie were large, clean and very comfortable, with en suite bathrooms (which had very interesting stone-and-soil natural flooring!) with running water and flushable WCs. Hot water for bathing is available at specified times and on request.
The young team which manages the camp were very helpful and full of energy, trying their best to make our stay most comfortable. Hot, well-made tea was provided whenever we needed it and the food was as good as one can expect in such a setting. The camp kitchen is purely vegetarian (no eggs even!) so one should be prepared for that. Breakfast was usually porridge, fruits, bread and delicious paranthas. Lunch and dinner consisted of daal, 1 or 2 vegetable, rice, chapatis and salad, all provided in the comfort of a central dining room that encourages social interactions amongst guests.
We stayed at Magpie Jungle Camp for 2 nights and were able to catch a glimpse of the Himalayas from the camp site itself on Day 2 morning, despite being summer/early monsoon season. We also saw 6 Himalayan Monals on our morning drives and a whole lot of Himalayan Thar as well (both within 10 kms drive from the camp!). Unfortunately, none of us were really fit enough for the treks available in the region (Tungnath, Chandrashila, Deoria Tal etc) but the camp is a perfect base for exploring those as well.
In summary, we loved our time at Chopta, and at Magpie Jungle Camp. I recommend all travellers who are looking for a peaceful and serene getaway, with some bird-watching and trekking thrown in, should not think twice before staying at this wonderful camp.
The rooms were extremely spacious with enough room on the bed for at least three people, the toilet was extremely clean and well maintained, the food provided was again excellent. It was truly an extraordinary experience, where one can roam around in the jungle freely, if you are lucky you will see some animals like the Himalayan langur, wild boar and many species of birds. Being inside the jungle, the place captures your imagination, the hustle and bustle of city life is left far behind. Though we visited this place in early October, this place can be visited any time of the year.
We visited this place between 12 Nov to 14 Nov. Food, Place and People are good. Specially staff is very polite. There was a Minor problem with the Management, We asked 2-3 times for some changes in the Room which was not done by them. If you are going Chopta then you can choose this place for Peace, Admire Nature's Beauty and have fun with friends. If you are a Airtel customer then try to get Vodafone Sim because Airtel does not work there at all.
This is a fabulous place to stay and the best one in this location. Wonderful view. Mini Switzerland. Very well maintained. The tents in the camp are beautiful, similar to Char Dham Camp. However, one caution. Before coming to this property, one must be mentally prepared that here it is Self-Service and there is NO Room-Service eg. one needs to collect hot water from a central location nearby in a bucket and bring it to the tent. No hot water tap in the tent. We knew it before, so we loved doing it. We did have senior citizens with us (age 74 & 70). The senior citizens did bring the empty buckets from their tent, but the resort staff was kind enough to bring the hot water filled bucket back to the tent. Since this resort is situated within the Kedarnath sanctuary limits, there is NO electricity. In the evening the hotel staff would provide one emergency light per tent. The mobile signal is available very feeble and that too at some pockets. The evening pakoras & tea was fabulous, specially in the climate. The buffet dinner & breakfast had multiple options & great quality. While the dinner was veg, they did supply boiled eggs in the breakfast. In the evening, they had lit a bon-fire. We did visit Tunganath temple (4 kms steep trek each way), which is closeby. This place is a MUST VISIT and I am sure everybody would enjoy -from kids to Senior Citizens. Avoid rainy season & winter season. Best time is May, September & early October.