The Mudamalai Tiger Reserve was a side trip for us, reccomended by my son whose PhD thesis is based in Mudamalai field research. Son also advised us to stay at Secret Ivory, so we booked in and they sent a Jeep to collect us in Ooty. The road from to Mudamalai from the Nilgiri Hills is a roller coaster ride -- 36 hairpin bends with nerve racking notices about accident statistics along the way. In order to spend 2 nights at Secret Ivory we did it in both directions --36 down and 36 up. It was worth the excditement. Secret Ivory is modern, basic but totally acceptable by any standards. One does not expect luxury in a nature reserve and I have stayed in far less comfort in the Negev desert for example -- or in the Atlas mountains. The rooms are arranged into two blocks -- with an additional one in a tree house outside the electric fence. The fence is supposed to keep elephants out of the compound -- but there was a large pile of elephant dung on the grass in front of our balcony. We were told a group had crashed the fence a couple of days earlier. The eating area is in a separate building, but the friendly staff will deliver to your balcony if you wish. We sat out with a bottle of Kingfisher beer, watching langur moneys frolic in the trees close by. A variety of exotic birdlfe provided additional entertainment. The dirt roads across the reserve are now closed to motor vehicles, so the only way to explore is on foot. We set off on an early morning walk through the jungle with 2 guides -- one up front and one behind. They were obviously professional and sensitive to our needs...so we trusted them and were rewarded with a close view of a group of wild elephants and fabulous bird watching -- notably a large red, white and black woodpecker hammering away at a tree a few feet away from our binoculars. We also saw a wild rooster (enormous), wild peacocks, wild boar, spotted deer and monkeys galore. We narrowly missed seeing a tiger. Sadly, the tranquility of Secret Ivory was shattered on Friday evening, when a very noisy group of young male IT workers from Bangalore turned up for a boozy weekend. One wonders why a place set up for people who love wildlife allows this to happen -- and can only assume a decline in international visitors has affected the hotel's cash flow.