The Incredible India Tour provides the opportunity to visit three of the most iconic wildlife parks found in central India.
India is a land of mystique, a land filled with natural wonder, ancient customs, fascinating history and yes, Tigers & other wonderful wildlife.
In the central regions of India lies 3 safari regions known not only for producing some of the best Tiger sightings in the world, not only for the wealth of wildlife that occur there including leopard, sloth bear & wild dogs, but also for its diverse & scenic landscapes steeped in beauty & history
This safari takes place at the end of the dry season during the month of April, and this also affords you the very best chance of seeing tigers in abundance. During the late dry season the surface water is restricted to the last few large remaining water bodies. During the heat of the day Tigers are drawn to these water holes and this is where you stand the very best chance of seeing them. As the tiger’s prey also need water on a daily basis, the odds of finding tigers on the hunt around the remaining waterholes are very good.
Pench National Park
Pench National Park will be the first Park that we visit on the Incredible India Tour.
Pench National Park is a wild playground harboring country’s maximum density of prey animals, chased by an estimated 65 Tigers. The park is well administered and extensively mentioned in the Indian history for its vivid fauna and flora. The landscapes of scrublands, deciduous forest of Teaks and many lakes, streams and Pench River can be instantly associated with the incidents and wild mentions of the animal life in the jungle book of Sir Rudyard Kipling. The established corridor between Pench and Kanha National park, adds to the glory of both the parks with many animals frequently traversing between the park boundaries. Pench is a protected area in the southern extensions to the hills of Satpura, Central India and park was established in 1975, subsequently declared a tiger reserve, Kanha-Pench Tiger Conservation unit under Project tiger in 1992.
After an internal flight from Delhi to Nagpuar (about 1 and a half hours) we will transfer by road to Pench National Park (around a 3 and a half hour drive).
The drive initially takes us through the hustle and bustle of the City and then later into the rural areas, before entering the buffer zone bordering Pench National Park.
Where we staying: Pench Tree Lodge
The famous Jungle Book character Mowgli was a wolf befriending boy from the tribal village of Pench. If Mowgli could enliven his escapades, Pench tree lodge would be his time warped home in 21st century. He could certainly somersault with the monkeys here or luxuriously laze under the shade of Mahua Tree, in the comforts of stylish, spacious and snugly tree houses set in regal landscapes. Later, deciding to set out on a Jeep Safari to meet ‘Shere Khan’–the Tiger and ‘Baloo’-the Bear and check on his troop of ‘Bander log’– monkey folks and all other good old friends from Pench national park.
Pench Tree Lodge is the refuge of the au courant, adventurous and eco sensitive ‘Mowgli’. The six well appointed tree houses are perched in the undisturbed 16 hectares of forested area in the small ‘Sarrahiri’ village of Pench in the Karmajhiri area. This is the first lodge to be set up in this underdeveloped zone and supports the conservation policy of not overcrowding areas.
Kanha National Park
The second park that we will be visiting on the Incredible India Tour is Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Kanha Tiger Reserve is spread over an area of 1,949 sq km (940 sq km of core area and 1,009 sq km of buffer zone), making it one of the best habitats for tigers in India. The park is situated in the Central Indian Highlands, which are part of the extensive tableland that forms India’s main peninsula. Kanha’s undulating landscape is dotted with dense groves of vegetation, hillocks and meadows. Of all these habitats, it is Kanha’s meadows that are its lifeline, as they sustain large numbers of Chital, Sambar, Barasingha and Gaur, which in turn support populations of predators and co-predators (Tigers, Leopards, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cats and Foxes). The park is primarily a moist Sal and moist mixed deciduous forest featuring Sal, Bamboo, Tendu, Jamun, Arjun and Lendia. It is home to over 1,000 species of flowering plants and about 350 species of birds.
Its greatest achievement has been the preservation of Hard Ground Swamp Deer or Barasingha from near extinction (they numbered just 66 in 1970). Today, they number more than 400 and are the only surviving population of Barasingha in the wild.
After an early breakfast at Pench Tree Lodge, we will transfer by road to Kanha National Park. The drive usually take around 3-4 hours as we leave the drier Teak forests of Pench and enter the lush Sal and Bamboo forests of Kanha.
Where we staying: Kanha Earth Lodge
Kanha Earth Lodge is spread in 16 acres of natural forest, tucked away in a small hamlet bordering Kanha’s buffer zone. Its unique location, 30 minutes from the Khatia/Kisli park gate, ensures that it is close enough for easy access to the park, but still far enough from the glut of hotels lining Kanha’s tourist hub to offer guests a true wilderness experience. The 12 luxury bungalows with large open verandahs have been inspired by Gond tribal architecture and offer environmentally sensitive, low-impact accommodation through their design and use of local stone and waste wood. While the absence of neighbouring lodges or highways creates an ideal setting for nature walks, birding and cycling trips through the surrounding forest.
Bandhavgarh National Park
The third and final park we will visit during the Incredible India Tour is Bandhavgarh National Park.
Bandhavgarh was established in 1968 as a National Park, and is spread over an area of 1150 sq. kms. This national park was declared as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger in the year 1993. It is predominantly covered with vegetation like Sal, Sali, Dhobin and has vast stretches of grasslands spread over 32 hills, the region though smaller than other wildlife parks has one of the highest density of tigers in the world.
The historical links of Bandhavgarh are to be found in India’s worshipped mythological heroes Rama and Laxmana. The name “bandhav-garh” translates to “the brother’s fort” and believed to be gifted by Hindu God Rama to his devoted ‘bandhav’ (brother) Laxmana on his return from victory over Lanka (Ceylon). Inside the park there are 12 natural waterholes, several other historical monuments and remains of ancient caves that exhibit a 2000 year old rich historical past.
The vegetation is chiefly of Sal forest in the valleys and on the lower slopes, gradually changing to mixed deciduous forest on the hills and in the hotter drier areas of the park in the south and west. The wide valleys along the streams carry long linear grasslands flanked by Sal forests. Rich mixed forests consisting of Sal (shorea rubusta), Saja, Salai, and Dhobin etc. with dense bamboo thickets occur in many places. These together provide Bandhavgarh its rich biodiversity.
With the tiger at the apex of the food chain, it contains 37 species of mammals, more than 250 species of birds, about 70 species of butterflies, a number of reptiles.
We will depart Kanha Earth Lodge after an early breakfast and transfer by road to Bandhavgarh. The drive will take us around 6 hours through some rural areas as well as spectacular forests.
Where we staying: Treehouse Hideaway
Consisting of only 5 Treehouses, this is the perfect place for our small and intimate group.
The treehouses are situated within 21 acres of protected forests, attracting a variety of birdlife and other smaller mammals.
In the wild world of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, the outlook of tree houses are grunge and sturdy looking, but the door opens to acceptable elegance complementing the outside world.
The designs are a fetching fusion of contemporary design and traditional jungle living with earth tones and eco essentials. All Tree houses have been made by local staff using regularized wood. Local craft knowledge and traditional expertise has been used at all quarters to ensure that the Tree Houses blend harmoniously with nature.
The majority of the parks do not allow any off roading, and although there is a great road network in most of the parks, it is advisable to carry lenses with a bit more reach. I would recommend lenses with us to 400-600mm reach for close up portraits of Tigers, but also a wider lens to capture the beauty of the forests, especially during first light. A lens equivalent to a 24-70mm will work perfectly for this.
This is Why Travel With Wild Eye
- Experience 3 iconic park in central India, during the best game viewing time of the year.
- The opportunity to view and photograph a Tiger in the wild.
- A small intimate group of travellers, limited to 6 guests, with the assistance of 2 Wild Eye Guides.
- Travel to some of the less crowded Parks in India
- The opportunity to also travel to other parts of India to enjoy the cultural experience, either before or after the scheduled tour.