Visited : July 2021. Stayed for 1 day.
Kamshet has been in our list of ‘places to go’ since a long time and when we heard (from Crazy K9 Campers & Wheels and Tails) of Native Place Guesthouse – a pet friendly eco retreat, we found it to be what we required at the end of a hectic week. We are always looking for places where we could let Jiraiya run (and we breathe) free. He, like us is living in this urban jungle out of necessity but our soul always dreams of open spaces and wilderness and Native Place was the perfect choice!
Check location here.
Kamshet is one of the crown gems of Maharashtra which shines brightest during monsoon season. Our visit to this small town coincided with the peak of monsoon season. Following the google maps, the route to Native Place is just 10-15 mins off Kamshet across Indrayani river and on the banks of Vadivali lake. The weather was outstanding and bright green Western Ghats complimented the rolling grey rain clouds. The wind was strong and cool, it was the ideal weather for a road trip.
When we reached the Indrayani river, it was dangerously overflowing over the bridge and we had to turn around. Luckily we were able to get through to the hosts and they guided us to take Kanha phata > Takwe village > Uksaan village route. After turning towards Takwe village from Kanha phata we had to ask locals the route to Uksaan village as google took us straight into the scarily flooding river :p
Once we turned towards Uksaan village – guided by locals, our google map re-aligned and we were guided straight to Native Place. What an adventure! this new route is super scenic but for us first timers, it was a bit scary not knowing where we are going, with every turn the road getting narrower and narrower. 45 mins of detour, and we were finally there. A rocky/rugged slop got us to a humble metal gate covered in vines welcoming us in Native Place.
Location of Native place is unmatched. On the banks of beautiful Vadivali lake, it has trails all around the property and it’s well planned plantations which attracts a number of birds, butterflies and other garden beings keeping the ecosystem healthy. The whole property is sectioned out into various plantations like a food garden or a butterfly garden etc… Wild flowering shrubs/vines and medicinal plants along the trails and sitting areas makes strolls around the estate an adventure on its own.
Native Place guest house has a healthy vegetable patch and a hennery in the backyard which helps them to be self-sustained. Other missing kitchen ingredients are sourced fresh from the local farmers.
The building structure of Native Place is built on the slope of the mountain without cutting through it. The plan of the property is an architectural success. It is beautiful, airy and practical. Permaculture design runs deep into its roots. We loved the central courtyard dining area where we were served lip smacking buffet for all the meals (included in tariff). Recipes were simple and locally inspired.
The owners run ‘Nirvana Paragliding training center‘ from the property and have dorms for the students. So essentially there are two building structures in the premises. The two roofs are the best hang out place where they sometimes organise barbecue nights too. Roofs serve as a great viewing point and for us it doubled up as bird watching tower as it gave us a great vantage point over the canopies to spot birds in the forest.
Rooms at Native Place are basic but very tastefully and thoughtfully decorated. They have the bare essentials and are honest, homely and comfortable. There are ‘Info Cards’ available in the room to introduce the guest to the place and list suggestions on what to do during the stay.
Personal observation and relief – there were no creepy crawlies or insects inside the room even though the whole estate is practically a forest! windows have mesh protection and cleanliness is top notch.
A wise thing to remember is that this is not a hotel, its a home – and luxury toiletries and room service should not be expected. Kitchen is open to all and any need for drink refrigeration or multiple rounds of tea, can be requested.
The underlying moto of the place is sustainable and eco friendly living. We felt the efforts towards it all through out. For example they have opted for solar gysers than the electric ones. They have high ceilings and ventilators so as to keep the room cooler, to reduce the requirement of an air conditioner. The water and waste management is done on property to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible and not to get too dependent on the man made resources. The outdoor furniture in most cases is built-in while constructing the building. Its practical and needs almost no maintenance – wood saved, plus plus!
Vadivali lake is the centerpiece of the whole show and a trail circumventing the garden took us to it where we spent a good amount of time chilling late afternoon. Talk of the lake, Jiraiya had the time of his life jumping and swimming in it. In-fact he was so much at ease during the whole stay. Running around, making friends, exploring new smells and pathways and experiencing new terrains and surfaces – we could literally feel his happiness trotting around and finding his trails around the building and gardens – freely! By end of our trip he knew his way around the whole property and was enjoying his time off the leash!!
The courtyard has a basket with the ‘Discovery cards’. Oh, I loved this concept! To encourage and entertain the guests coming to the homestay, these cards are placed as a game of sorts so they can indulge them selves in a treasure hunt around the property spotting various plants or birds or flowers etc.. We, as expected picked the card with the birds. All our afternoon and evenings were passed birding from the garden, trails and rooftops. The natural forests in the estate as well as planned plantations attract a multitude of birds and Sunny went all in with lenses and tripod. Check Sunny’s intagram feed to see some of his bird photos from this trip.
Astrid, the owner/host of the property is a birdwatcher herself and conducts successful permaculture designing and gardening workshops. She was friendly, welcoming and while talking to her, she reflected the pride, efforts and hard work that she has put in-to make this estate a home away for home – for humans and flora and fauna alike. She and her team has no doubt made this home-stay a unique ‘experience’ and not just a vacation accommodation.
At the end, we felt that the trip was too short and there was so much exploration still left to do! The trail behind the Native Place goes up the rocky mountain an requires an hour. It’s said to have an amazing panoramic view. We also want to explore the innumerous waterfalls and mangroves around the lake and do some exciting bird watching!
Huh, next time perhaps. Soon maybe?
Native Place Guesthouse – Bookings and cost
Check out their website and blog to know more about this lovely guest house and their plans and journey towards a greener future. It is one of the best websites I have seen for a homestay/guest house and it has detailed information about the whole property.
Also follow do checkout Native Place on Instagram for homestay details and upcoming events.
For bookings and tariffs, just call or Whatsapp on +91 93237 08809