The meaning of Sapana is “dream”, and that’s just how this charming lodge began: with the dream of one man. All it took was the belief in this man and the support of a couple from the Netherlands to bring this dream to reality.
The owner wanted a way to give back to his community while owning a business, and with help, he created a sustainable and responsible eco tourism project contributing to the indigenous people of the Terai region. Sapana Village Lodge is supported by the Dutch development organizations NCDO and FEMI. Sapana Village Lodge left an impression on my family, one we’ll never forget.
The Sapana Village Lodge
Sapana Village Lodge is located near the border of Chitwan National Park, easily accessed by a 4-5-hour drive or a 20-minute flight from Kathmandu. Spread out across an expansive botanical retreat, the lodge is a haven for birds, elephants, goats, water buffalo and more. The staff are some of the best we’ve met in our travels, and eager to learn more about you as well as share their culture and stories.
They were attentive to our children and often suggested activities for them to do. With all the green space available, your kids won’t tire of running around, searching for birds and insects or walking across the bridges and river. The best part is that the lodge houses three elephants and one 3-month-old elephant who walk around the premises and are there for as many cuddles as you can give.
* Note, while the lodge provides free WiFi, it is only located near the office on the veranda, and can be a little touch and go. Don’t come here if you need to be connected at all times.
We stayed in family room 303. It’s a ground floor room, which I’d recommend at this time of year (March/April) due to heat. We had a double bed and two single beds, as well as an extra bed on the floor for my 3rd child. The room had a ceiling fan and a floor fan which came in handy for the warm afternoons and evenings, as well as for keeping mosquitos at bay. The bathroom is an all-in-one, meaning your shower is right there next to the toilet and sink. Our kids thought this was pretty cool. The best feature was surely the fact that we could look out our window to see the elephants.
* Note, they have a conservation of water initiative and use solar power for the heating of the water, please be mindful of this during your stay. They also turn off the electricity at certain times of the day, so don’t expect your fans and lights to work at all hours.
Dining at Sapana Village Lodge
The menu provided by the lodge is more than adequate, and nothing is over $6.50 USD. We were able to affordably feed our family of five three times a day during our stay. I recommend the Sapana Special Yogurt, something I’ll keep a surprise for your visit. For the pickier of kids, ask for Chicken Fried, which is something like chicken nuggets without the batter, or a plain grilled cheese sandwich. The curries were delicious, but the hit for us were the Momos (dumplings). You’ll be addicted to them by the time you leave (we even took a cooking class while there to learn how to make them, as well as bought the seasoning packets in town to take home.)
Giving Back to the Community
Sapana Village aims to support the local community. You’ll feel good knowing that up to 50% of what you spend at the lodge will go back into the community. There are some things that are not available in Chitwan and are highly appreciated if you wish to bring them as a gift:
- Toothpaste with fluoride
- Children’s toothbrushes
- Clothes and shoes
- Pens and other writing equipment
In addition, Sapana Village is not only building their own school for the local children, they also sponsor 22 children in the village who want to go to school. Other projects include the Women Skill Development, medical checks, microfinance, social projects and chain free elephants.
For activities and excursions found at Sapana Village Lodge, please see the following article here.
Practical Information for traveling to and packing for Nepal can be found in my other article here.