Firstly, I’d like to start with Jose, our driver for the first 10 days.

Jose was a highlight of our holiday. He was a veritable walking-talking encyclopaedia of knowledge. Always polite, he was ever-present in his spotlessly valeted car and clean uniform every day and his driving skills were exceptional. At no point did either I or my husband feel the slightest bit concerned as Jose took us around Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Every day, we had the choice of cool or ice cold drinks plus a range of snacks and a welcome cold flannel to cool down with after walking in the heat.

With a fabulous sense of humour and an obvious love for his country, he entertained us with all manner of stories that has really piqued our continuing interest in India – especially its wildlife and we shall return.

And it is with regard to his wildlife knowledge, in particular birds, that Jose really comes into his own. Audley may, or may not, be aware but Jose has an excellent reputation as an outstanding ‘Twitcher’. Whilst staying at Nargarhole Hotel, we were identified as being with Jose and told by staff that our driver was highly respected by the naturalists there as being at least as good if not better than them. I’d probably agree with that statement as he seemed to be able spot pretty much everything as we were being driven around.

We also really appreciated the fact that Jose took time every evening (via the driver ‘grapevine’) to ensure travel for the next day would be hassle free. As a consequence due to a blocked road, we enjoyed a rather surprise detour between Coimbatore and Munnar that took us completely off the beaten track and up close to a wonderful array of crops and small villages. I haven’t a clue where we were, but it didn’t add a significant amount of time to the overall journey and we would highly recommend this drive for any of your guests making a similar trip.

Jose also provided us with sound advice with regard to the ‘scams’ on the Keralan backwater trip. We were already aware of the market one where tourists are invited to choose their fish for the evening, which Jose reminded us of. He also warned us to be wary should staff suggest a trip to a church and neighbouring market where we would be pressured to buy highly over-priced,This is exactly what happened (more of that in my review below). We were relieved to have been pre-warned.

On another note… as I’m not accustomed to eating curry morning, noon and night, I was mightily relieved that Jose seemed to know all the clean and hygienic toilets on route – especially at the start of our holiday!

So, thank you for matching us up with a fab driver!

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