India’s protected reserves are one of the few remaining places on the plant to experience tigers in their natural habitat. April through June is the best time for tiger sightings because the warm days bring the tigers to their watering holes.
In contrast to African safaris, the wildlife in India takes time to find. Tigers like to stay under the cover of trees and bushes to hide from their prey and to keep cool in the hot Indian summer.
They are beautifully camouflaged in the forest, making them a challenge to find. Listening for alarm calls from the deer and other wildlife helps us locate them in the dense forest. With over 300 species of birds, including peacocks and painted storks, there is other wildlife to enjoy as we search for the tiger. There are healthy populations of spotted deer, wild boar, langur monkeys, and the sloth bear.
This trip is all about the tiger. While tiger sightings are not guaranteed, and some sightings might be fleeting, we are increasing our odds of encountering this incredible animal by visiting two well-known parks with the best opportunities to see tigers—Bandhavgarh and Kanha.
ABOUT BANDHAVGARH AND KANHA
Bandhavgarh has the highest density of tigers in India. It also has a large breeding population of leopards and various species of deer. Set amongst the Vindhya Hills in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh consists of 168 square miles of sal and a mixed forest of bamboo, grassland, and a complex of deciduous forests. There are at least 150 species of birds in the park, along with other mammals such as sloth bears, langur monkeys, wild boar, mongooses, and three kinds of deer—chital, sambar, and barking, to name just a few.
Kanha Tiger Reserve is set on the Chhota Nagpur Plateau in Madhya Pradesh and provides breathtaking vistas of grassy plains and strands of sal forests. This 366 square mile preserve was established to save two endangered species: the tiger and the barasingha (swamp deer). The park offers a variety of species including tigers and leopards, cheetal, gaur, barking deer, sambhar deer, and the endangered barasingha deer. The landscapes and surrounding luxurious meadows along with forest strands offer amazing sightseeing experiences for animal and nature lovers
Flights from the United States typically depart in the afternoon for arrival late evening the following day. Most guests will depart on Monday, but it is recommended you arrive a day early to avoid delays departing the U.S. and to rest for your upcoming safari (additional hotel stay not included).
The following is our typical schedule, subject to change:
Day 1 Arrive Delhi, the capital of India. Our tour representative will welcome you at the airport arrival lounge. Transfer to hotel where you receive a traditional welcome with Garland while the hotel formalities are completed. Overnight at Radisson Blu Plaza.
Day 2 After breakfast you will be transferred to Delhi airport for your flight to Jabalpur arriving at noon. From there you are transferred in private air-conditioned van for the 3-4-hour drive to Bandhavgarh National Park, passing through the villages and countryside of Madhya Pradesh. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Overnight at Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge.
Days 3-7 Early morning wake-up call with a knock on your room door and tea/coffee. You will wake up to misty mornings and sounds of birds calling, which will make an exciting start to your day. As soon as dawn breaks, leave for your Jungle Safari, accompanied by a resident naturalist and forest park guides in 4×4 Jeeps. Lunch and afternoon safari by 4×4 jeep accompanied by resident naturalist and forest guide Return to lodge for evening tea and rest of time free to relax. Overnight at Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge.
Day 8 Morning Jungle Safari, after breakfast & early lunch drive to Kanha (6 hrs.) Our drive takes us through rural countryside & colorful town & villages and stops in the sleepy town of Mandla (sacred city for Gond tribals) where the Narmada river, second holiest to the Ganges, is the center of activity. En-route enjoy your picnic lunch & arrive Kanha and check in at Lodge Overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge.
Days 9-12 Early morning wake-up call with a knock on your room door and Tea/Coffee. You will wake up to misty mornings and sounds of birds calling, which will make an exciting start to your day. As soon as dawn breaks, leave for your Jungle Safari, accompanied by a resident naturalist and forest park guides in 4x 4 Jeeps. A picnic breakfast in the middle of the Jungle with a cup of hot Tea or Coffee Rest of the morning at leisure or go for a nature walk, visit a nearby village/school or engage yourself in a cooking demonstration. Lunch and afternoon safari by 4×4 open jeep. Return to the lodge for evening tea and rest of time free for star gazing. Overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge.
Day 13 After morning jungle safari and breakfast, drive to Raipur airport for flight to Delhi departing at 8:05pm, arriving at 10:00pm. Schedule international flight to U.S. after 1:00am, Monday, April 22.
Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge is Located within walking distance of Bandhavgarh National Park’s main gate. The jungle lodge has been developed on the theme of an Indian village, with thirteen thatched twin-bedded cottages around an inner courtyard. There are two separate villas with further accommodations of eight rooms. Kanha Jungle Lodge was established in 1987 to provide sophisticated, environmentally friendly experience of untamed beauty of Kanha. It lies amid a rich Sal forest and thus designed as a Jungle lodge, well camouflaged in the forest. It is tastefully developed with low impact on the land and the environment, with 18 well-appointed rooms and 2 deluxe cottages, to give a physical and emotional jungle experience. The jungle lodge is planned to provide a friendly, informal relaxed environment with lots to observe, understand and learn, to make good friends and support conservation. Since it is located close to Kanha National Park and is the closest to the Mukki entrance gate, it has been sensitive to the environment. Guests can listen to Jungle sounds during day or night, which makes it an exciting and chilling experience for some, listening to the alarm calls of the deer or an occasional roar of the Tiger. Its Sal forest and open meadows have become a favorite place for Deer (chital) to stay fearlessly in the compound. It is set on strong principles of being environmentally friendly and every aspect of its development and operation is sensitively synthesized towards nature conservation.
Passport and Visa
To enter India, you need a valid passport and an onward/return ticket, and a visa. Note that your passport needs to be valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in India, with at least two blank pages. The visa must be purchased in advance.
The cost of the trip includes:
Pre-trip planning meeting
One night at Radisson Blu Plaza upon arrival in Delhi
6 nights at Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge
5 nights at Kanha Jungle Lodge
All ground transportation with a private driver in air-conditioned Toyota Innova
Internal flights: Delhi to Jabalpur and Raipur to Delhi
Accommodation on double/twin sharing basis
All meals and soft beverages
Private guide and vehicles – two guests per jungle vehicle
The cost of the trip excludes:
Dinner/Drinks on Day 1 due to late international flight arrivals
Emergency medical and evacuation coverage is mandatory. Trip cancellation is optional. I use Squaremouth.com to purchase my insurance. They provide quotes from multiple carriers.
Tips for camp staff and guides
The cost of this safari is $6,400 per person sharing a tent and $7,000 for a single. Your reservation is secured by a $1,500 non-refundable deposit.