Pench and Tadoba National Park: An Extraordinary Wildlife Safari

A number of days earlier, we returned from our yearly nature trip to Pench and Tadoba. Both are enchanting forests, providing a varied mix of hills, lakes, grasslands, bamboo groves and thick trees. In general, Pench situated in Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh is thought about much better for birding and identifying leopards, while checking out Tadoba's core area in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra pretty much guarantees tiger sightings. Both parks have numerous manufactured watering holes that, in that dry countryside, have actually become a sanctuary for animals; since these watering holes are plainly noticeable from the course, there are opportunities for outstanding animal sightings.

It was such a satisfaction to take pleasure in the clean, fresh air! The trees appeared greener after the early monsoon showers. There were stars visible in the night sky that would never be seen once again from Mumbai. It was hot, particularly throughout the afternoon safaris, but not overbearing.

We saw a varied series of wildlife-- from tigers, leopards, sloth bear, jackals, wild pet dogs, display lizards and numerous types of deer consisting of the shy barking deer to the beautiful chousingha. Above our heads, a profusion of birds enchanted us-- the common babblers, rollers and doves, the remarkably plumaged Indian pitta, golden orioles darting around like streaks on a Van Gogh painting, the beautiful racket-tailed drongos that discovered unusual guts in collaborating to chase a much bigger eagle far from their nestlings and the water birds that dotted the fringe of the lake at nightfall like little pearl drops around a dark darkness.

Some of the tigresses had actually just recently had cubs, and it was such an uplifting sight to see the youngsters playing with each other, gradually discovering how to climb, stalk and jump. My favourite was the time when a tigress was grooming among her cubs, and another one jealously gazed at his brother or sister prior to visiting require a share of her love!

At another time, we were at a waterhole where a leopard had actually gotten scared by an approaching tiger and vibrated up a high, thin tree-- one of those times when worry provides wings. Regrettably, once the tiger was gone, so were the wings and the leopard invested the next two hours attempting to figure out how to come down. Ultimately, thirst won, and it rushed and tumbled down the trunk and after that gratefully went to the waterhole for a long drink. The interesting bit about this was how monkeys fearlessly hung around the leopard, just out of his reach, as though realising that the thin tree that it was stuck upon would not provide him the purchase to launch an attack.

As it often takes place in the forest, serendipity plays a big part. One morning we were early and needed to wait alone for 15-20 minutes till evictions opened. Simply then, in the morning gloom, a sloth bear-- normally an extremely reserved animal-- ambled across the road less than ten feet far from us and vanished into the bushes to our left!

Tadoba is a small reserve and gets many visitors. For that reason, extremely often the tigers here are surrounded by twenty or more vehicles, and they have actually grown familiar with people. There is practically an air of barbarism in how the Gypsies cut around trying to get the best view. Thankfully, the authorities have only opened 20% of the park to traveler traffic; thus it's simply the tigers whose territories fall in this location. All in all, this distance to traveler traffic implies that they do not have the latent threat that their Ranthambore brethren carry, which's rather a pity.

As an interesting side-note, Pench was the inspiration and the setting for Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book', although he never visited there. In fact, he took the name of the wolf pack in his story from the Seoni range, obtained a number of the topographical features from the area and even designed the potter's village on close-by Kanhiwada.

The parks are conveniently located-- Pench is about 2 hours' drive north of Nagpur and Tadoba is 2 hours south. Since they include various habitats, if you do go, I 'd recommend checking out both rather than just among them.

Travel Tips

Advance online reservations for safaris (and for working with better guides) is important. To experience the best of the forest, go to the buffer zone. However, going to the core area increases your chances of identifying bigger animals. A well-experienced guide can make your experience rewarding with anecdotes and insights. Make sure to tip your guide and motorist well!

Be a thoughtful visitor: do not litter, speak gently (so that the animals are not frightened from your group) and provide area to others too, to capture pictures. Chat with other travellers to exchange images and stories at your hotel; a number of them are fellow nature fans, and they may have fascinating tales to share.

Be mindful of the weather, and drink lots of water.

If you are taking a trip with a kid, engage them in the forest by helping them maintain a log of what they see, checking off sightings from a pre-prepared list. Older kids can carry a copy of Salim Ali's Birds of India and, equipped with a set of field glasses, to hone their bird identifying abilities.

Most significantly, don't be consumed with seeing a tiger; there is a lot that the national parks in our country have to offer, so enjoy everything. And when a tiger lastly does make an appearance, you will have another valued memory to take back with you!

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