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Monday, August 21, 2017

Kanha National Park - Zones or Gates

Zones and Gates in Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park and Tiger Reserve is one of the most visited forest reserve in India. Tourists from all over the world visit Kanha to spot the majestic king of the forest – Tiger and other wildlife, wildlife photography, enjoy the peaceful environs and spend time with family and friends. Most tourists visiting Kanha go for Jungle excursions in open Gypsy to enjoy the forest and spot wild animals.
Tiger in Kanha National Park
Tiger in Kanha
When visiting Kanha you need to plan your jungle safari excursions and here is where many get confused. Kanha has zones for safaris and entry is through gates but mostly we get confused for zones as gates.
The Zones:
Safari in kanha is conducted by the forest department and tourists are permitted to visit only 4 zones – Kanha, Kisli, Sarhi and Mukki, in core area. Along with we have 3 buffer zones – Khatia, Sijhora and Khapa, also available for safaris. Rarely visited by tourists, Phen Sanctuary is a satellite core of Kanha, leopard and sloth bear sighting here is very good.
Tourism zones in Kanha Tiger Reserve
Tourism zones of Kanha National Park
The Entry points:
Kanha national park has many entries off which 3– Khatia, Sarhi and Mukki gates are open for tourists.
·         Khatia gate (also known as Kisli gate) is the main entry gate for excursions. If you are staying near Khatia gate (we have many resorts in Khatia, Mocha and Boda Chhapri villages) you can go to any of core zones for safari as well as visit Khatia buffer.

·         Sarhi gate is the northern gate and we can visit Sarhi, Kanha and Kisli zones from this entry point. Sarhi gate does not have good accommodation although Madhya Pradesh Tourism is coming up with a property here and forest department runs some home stays. Rarely anyone stays at Sarhi side so most entry to Sarhi zone is from Khatia gate only.

·         Mukki gate is best for entry to Mukki, Kanha and Kisli zones.

·         Entry to Khatia, Sijhora and Khapa zones are easily accessible from Khatia, Sarhi and Mukki gates respectively.   
Map of Kanha Tiger Reserve
Kanha Tiger Reserve - Core and Buffer Map
How to plan your excursion:
When planning a jungle safari trip to Kanha keep accessibility in mind, for gate as well as zone. If you are staying towards Khatia gate you can visit any of 4 core zones. Here you enter from Khatia gate, reach Kisli zone first and take designated route to reach your permitted zone.  If staying towards Khatia gate we suggest not to take Mukki zone for evening rides as it is almost 45 minutes’ drive (although it is from inside the park / core area) since you have less time in evening excursions you will not get enough time in your designated zone. (The route we take to reach Mukki zone via Kisli zone and come back or vice a versa is one of the best for spotting tigers so if you are ready to take the risk, no issues there.) Remember, if you have booked your permits for Sarhi zone and staying at Mukki gate side you must drive down 40 Km’s (60 – 70 minutes) to Khatia gate for taking entry.
Kanha is best forest to spot tigers
Kanha is the best forest to spot tigers
Khatia gate is easily accessible from Jabalpur, Raipur and Nagpur. Mukki side is easy to reach from Raipur and Bilaspur. Sarhi gate can be reached from Jabalpur, Raipur and Bilaspur easily.
Travel time between gates:
Travelling from Khatia gate to Mukki or Sarhi gate takes almost an hour. Travelling to Sarhi gate from Mukki takes almost 1 hour 30 minutes.
A very common question from visitors is: Which is the best zone for spotting tigers in Kanha? A very difficult question to answer because sightings change due to many reasons but certainly Kanha and Mukki zones will come on top followed by Kisli and Sarhi. 
If you are visiting Kanha for 3 nights 4 days and taking 4 safaris, which are on day 2 and 3, I will suggest following itinerary for safaris –
If you are staying at Khatia gate side:
Option 1
Option 2
Safari 1 (Morning) – Kanha zone
Safari 2 (Evening) – Kisli zone
Safari 3 (Morning) – Mukki zone
Safari 4 (Evening) – Kisli zone
Safari 1 (Morning) – Kanha zone
Safari 2 (Evening) – Kisli zone
Safari 3 (Morning) – Kanha zone
Safari 4 (Evening) – Kisli zone

If you are staying at Mukki gate side:
Option 1
Option 2
Safari 1 (Morning) – Kanha zone
Safari 2 (Evening) – Mukki zone
Safari 3 (Morning) – Kisli zone
Safari 4 (Evening) – Mukki zone
Safari 1 (Morning) – Mukki zone
Safari 2 (Evening) – Mukki zone
Safari 3 (Morning) – Mukki zone
Safari 4 (Evening) – Mukki zone

These are suggested safari itineraries for Kanha and different combinations can be worked out. Do keep in mind before finalising the zone or booking permit for safari in Kanha do call your accommodation provider, check on social media or talk to someone who resides in Kanha (Guide / Gypsy Driver / Naturalist), you maybe suggested a different safari itinerary as per sighting and availability of permits. Also, we can only suggest but there is no assurance of spotting tigers since they are free roaming animals, tracking them takes a lot of hard work and experience and certainly your luck plays a big part here.  
Kanha landscape is very good for tigers
Kanha forest has beautiful landscape
Hope the above will be helpful in better planning, making your jungle holiday toKanha an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Happy Tiger Tracking …….

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Best 5 Tiger Reserves of Central India

Spot the Stripes in Central Indian Forests

Travelling to forests of India to spot the striped big cat - Tiger, in its home - Jungle, is every wildlife lover and travellers dream vacation. Travellers from all over the world visit India to spot these majestic cats in the wild. Spotting Tigers and photographing them in the wild is an unforgettable experience. India boasts of maximum Tigers in the wild and one of the best places in the world to spot them. Today India has many Tiger reserves famous within the tiger lover community and choosing any one or two of them is not easy. 

Munna - the famous tiger of Kanha
Munna - The famous tiger of Kanha Tiger Reserve
Central India has the maximum number of Tiger Reserves with the state of Madhya Pradesh alone having 7. Here is a list of 5 best tiger reserves to chose from for your upcoming trip.

Kanha Tiger Reserve -

Spread over 940 Sq Kms, situated in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, Kanha national park is on top of the list. Also known as Kanha Kisli Tiger Reserve, it has one of the best developed tourism infrastructure. It can be easily reached from Jabalpur, Nagpur, Raipur and Gondia. Kanha has more than 100 tigers and is the only wilderness where you can spot Hard ground Swamp deer or Barasingha - the twelve tinned deer. Kanha's Sal and Bamboo forests are one of the best place to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul. Kanha is the best managed national park of India.

Hard Ground Swamp deer at Kanha Tiger Reserve
Hard Ground Swamp Deer of Kanha

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve -

Famous for spotting tigers and it's historically important ruins, Bandhavgarh is one tiger reserves you should not miss. With very good infrastructure and easy to reach from Jabalpur and Khajuraho it is always on top of list of wildlife lovers and photographers. It is located in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh forests are also famous for having the highest density of tigers as well as for white tigers. If it is only the tigers on your list Bandhavgarh will certainly be on the top.

Pench Tiger Reserve -

Famous as playground of famous writer Rudyard Kipling, it is said his novel  'Jungle Book' was written with forest of Pench as the set. Pench is dry deciduous forest patch and visibility is very high (especially in dry season) compared to other reserves. It is easily reached from Nagpur and Jabalpur as well as Pachmarhi. Pench forests also have very good bird population and known as bird watchers paradise. You can spot tigers with ease and if lucky leopard, wolf and host of birds as well.
Leopard in forests of Central India
Leopard in forests of Central India

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve -

One of the most famous and well known of all tiger reserves, Ranthamhore is situated in Sawai Madhopur District in Rajasthan state. With dry deciduous forest and 3 main ponds (namely Padam Talao, Raj Talao and Malik Talao) spread over the park, spotting a tiger here is relatively easy and ruins of Ranthambhore fort and old princely state make the spotting surreal. Famous for Tiger men of India - Late Shri Fateh Singh ji Rathore and longest living tigress Machli, it has been visited by many from the list of rich and famous. It has very good rail and road connectivity and well developed tourism infrastructure.

Panna Tiger Reserve

Khajuraho is famous for its temples and visited by tourists from all over the world. Panna is only 30 Kilometer from Khajuraho but rarely visited although it is one of the best reserves to spot Tigers and Leopards. Panna lost all its tigers to poaching sometime back but with hard work of forest department and support of locals they have come back and regained their kingdom. Panna forests are very good for bird watching and one of the last places in Central India where you can spot 8 species of vultures. Easily reached from Khajuraho and Satna, Panna is one place I will suggest not to miss.    
Tiger in forest of India
Tiger in forest of India
I will suggest to visit minimum 2 tiger reserves, 3 night stay at each and 4 safaris at both destinations. This will increase your chances of spotting tiger and you will be able to enjoy the wilderness to its best.
Happy Tiger Trailing .........

Tiger in Central Indian forests
Spotting a tiger in wild is an unforgettable experience.