Pench and Tadoba

#1 Jan 29th, 2018, 13:36
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#1
Visiting National parks and doing the safaris was a dream, though I happen to be right next to one of the popular national parks, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), Mumbai. Morning walks and driving inside SGNP is an activity I have been doing close to 20 years now. But a serious wildlife safari and sighting of those amazing creatures in wild, happened only in my recent Pench and Tadoba trip.

I am sure the tiger reserve of Tadoba and Pench is very much familiar to all and needs not much introduction. Along with a few friends, did a relaxed trip from 15th January to 20th January. It was Mumbai - Nagpur (flight) - Drive to Pench (1 night) - Drive to Tadoba (2 Nights) - drive back to Nagpur - Mumbai (Flight).

We visited the forest of Pench (which lies on the Maharashtra side) and then went to Tadoba. We did 2 safaris in Pench and 4 in Tadoba. The stays were mostly in Forest Rest houses or the government run eco-huts.

Eco huts, Pench!



Of course, the main attraction had to be the tigers, but we really had a wonderful time doing the safaris and watching many a birds and other animals too. Our very first safari was at Pench in the evening. This was at Silchari Gate.



We had tough luck sighting a tiger here. We spotted one at a great distance. But the drive inside the reserve was wonderful. Many birds and animals were seen.



The 2nd safari was in the Khursapark range of Pench. This was an hour's drive from the eco-huts we stayed. We left around 5 am in the morning and were raring to get inside the forest by 6 am sharp. We had booked 2 gypsys from Silchari gate/eco-huts as we did not have the safari bookings at Khursapark. As the Khursapark range is not very popular, it wasn't much difficult to get the safari bookings.

Khursapark Range



We did not have much expectations of tiger sighting in this place. But as they say, always expect the unexpected, we were exceptionally lucky to not just sight, but also to see the feline walking right next to our gypsy during the safari. We witnessed some thrilling moments within 5 minutes of entering the forest when we got to see the tigress already in stalking and hunting mode.

It was very early in the morning and poor light conditions, hence blur images. But the joy of getting to see this dazzling beauty is good enough reason to post some pics here.





The joy and excitement of sighting this regal one cannot be explained in words!
A tense moment - A story worth telling!
She was about 100 feet away! Completely focussed on something which we couldn't see! About 4 or 5 gypsys with anxious visitors with their eyes riveted on this beauty, expected some action!

She crouched, hid, sometimes stood tall but never took her eyes off the subject she was watching! She was in hunting mode. After 5 minutes of watching she made up her mind and ran towards the subject! Visitors in gypsy held their breath for the next 1 minute!





Within a minute what we next watched was hilarious! Anti-climax! The tigress ran back with her tail inbetween her rear legs and was trying to save her life...she had tried to prey on an Indian Gaur...an adult at that!! She was unceremoniously chased out of that thicket!!





This was as close as we got to see her! She never bothered about presence. She walked royally, marked her territory cautiously and even attended to nature's call with utmost dignity and just vanished into the wild!!



As we watched her from the gypsy!!



Post Pench safari we had returned to the eco-huts, freshened up and had left for Tadoba. It's about 5 hours drive as we need to travel via Nagpur again. By evening we were comfortably spending time in the forest rest house at Tadoba. 4 were safaris planned for the next 2 days.

Tadoba FRH



Amazing forest of Tadoba offers one excellent feel of the wilderness. Teaks, bamboo and other trees and the well maintained forest and forest roads is a joy to behold.

Just before the gates for safari opened.



Inside, as we drive thru the forest:



Absolutely gorgeous morning and lovely light. We thoroughly enjoyed all the 4 drives in this forest.



A barking deer crossing the road.











The Waghdo range inside the Tadoba forest. This drive is absolutely amazing. We drive through thick bamboo growth and the silence around this range is deafening.





Almost in every safari we sighted the tiger in Tadoba, it was only in the last drive that we actually got to watch it for some 10 odd minutes at one place. We had reached the place by 4.00pm and a few gypsys were already queued up closer to the lake.



We got to know that the tiger was sleeping in the nearby bushes and would be making its way to the lake nearby any moment. Well, our joy knew no bounds.



Yawwwn!!



Yes, the tiger was very much there!!



Time to leave!!



Evening and our visit comes to an end!!

#2 Jan 29th, 2018, 15:44
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Awesome experiences, Naveena!
#3 Jan 29th, 2018, 15:46
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Excellent photos , the beauty of the forest at dawn and dusk , a tiger sighting, such an adrenaline rush. Loved your pench landscape shot.
#4 Jan 30th, 2018, 13:46
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Thanks Prakaant & sindabad!

Yes, It was a wonderful experience. The dawn and dusk was the best time to be in the forest. Though there was less activity, the forest looked and glowed in those beautiful hues.
#5 Feb 3rd, 2018, 11:23
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Excellent TR Naveena and pix are enviable.

I was planning a similar trip this summer and little more specic info would be of great help.

1. How did you book the Forest Rest house and safari?
2. When does the booking window open? (how many days in advance & how difficult or easy is it to get a booking)
3. When you book a safari, does it come with a gypsy or is it you book only a safari slot and hire a seperate gypsy on your own?

Thanks in advance
#6 Feb 5th, 2018, 01:36
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Good to read about your Pench & Tadoba experience. In fact from 13th Jan to 16 th Jan we were also at Tadoba but in a different range i.e. Pangdi. We also had some good Tiger sightings.
#7 Feb 5th, 2018, 07:29
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Nice photos! Thanks for sharing! I'm wondering how the weather was in the morning at Tadoba. Based on what people were wearing in the gypsy photos it doesn't seem that it was cold. We're going the end of March and I'm not sure what to pack.
#8 Feb 6th, 2018, 13:38
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PP, you won't require woollen during your visit.
#9 Feb 6th, 2018, 14:09
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Great TR Naveena. Enjoyed thorughly.
Cheers
#10 Feb 7th, 2018, 13:45
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Excellent TR with great photos. Somewhere I read that inside Tadoba NP, we can't wear bright colours like yellow, red or pink; is this being followed up strictly????
#11 Feb 7th, 2018, 13:59
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Tadoba never dejects you when it comes to Tigers. my record was 6 tigers ,Sloth Bear, and a leopard in one safari.
#12 Feb 8th, 2018, 20:14
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Sorry All! Replying a bit too late! Haven't been regularly logging in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottler View Post Excellent TR Naveena and pix are enviable.

I was planning a similar trip this summer and little more specic info would be of great help.

1. How did you book the Forest Rest house and safari?
2. When does the booking window open? (how many days in advance & how difficult or easy is it to get a booking)
3. When you book a safari, does it come with a gypsy or is it you book only a safari slot and hire a seperate gypsy on your own?

Thanks in advance
Trottler, The FRH wwe stayed was in Nagpur and Tadoba. I am not sure if they are available for booking for all. We were visiting the places with forest Officer and his staff. Hence we got to stay with them. The tariff was very nominal and we made the payments during check out.

In Pench, we stayed in Eco huts (Sillari Gate), which I think can be booked online. We were helped for all the bookings online. Only thing we had to do was 'pay'.

Safari was expensive. We had hired 2 gypsys - 4 members in one. They charged per head entry fee and the gypsy charges along with the guide fees was paid as and when we went for the safari. Camera charges - lenses above 250mm is charged. Not many know this. So if you have a digicam or lenses less than 250 mm, mention it near the gate.

The bookings were made online and paid from Nagpur a month ago. We made all the payments once we reached Nagpur.

I am a bit lucky to get help in these bookings. For the past 10 yrs, I have been volunteering for some small projects in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai hence knew this gentleman officer. He is now promoted and posted in Nagpur. He was kind enough to help us out considering the past work I have put in.

I think @shahronakm will be able to write about the safari and gypsy info in detail?


Quote:
Originally Posted by shahronakm View Post Good to read about your Pench & Tadoba experience. In fact from 13th Jan to 16 th Jan we were also at Tadoba but in a different range i.e. Pangdi. We also had some good Tiger sightings.
Aaah, wonderful!! We weren't much lucky Ronak. Only the last day, last safari was good. But photography wise not much luck. I think we stayed near Kolara Gate. We were told Sonam and her cubs were being sighted regularly. But no luck for us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pani Puri View Post Nice photos! Thanks for sharing! I'm wondering how the weather was in the morning at Tadoba. Based on what people were wearing in the gypsy photos it doesn't seem that it was cold. We're going the end of March and I'm not sure what to pack.
The weather was vevry cold and definitely we needed good warm clothes. Morning safaris was like Brrrrr.
Evening also one would not need wollen clothes, initially but by the time we finished our safari, we would be feeling chill! Also, carry some scarf or stole to cover your face - one can breathe easily with a scarf on in those mud roads during the safari.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelmanna View Post Excellent TR with great photos. Somewhere I read that inside Tadoba NP, we can't wear bright colours like yellow, red or pink; is this being followed up strictly????
Thank you!!
I am not sure if it is enforced legally! But then, any nature lover or those who go on wildlife expedition would would generally make sure that they are wearing forest friendly colors all the time that they spend in the forest. Even if I were to wear a red T-shirt, I would be wearing a jacket which would cover it completely until such time I am doing the safari.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fundoo View Post Tadoba never dejects you when it comes to Tigers. my record was 6 tigers ,Sloth Bear, and a leopard in one safari.
Lucky you.
I have heard most of them say the other way! Even I did not have much luck in Tadoba. But in Pench, I was least expecting a sighting in Khursapark Range. I had in fact not heard about this forest range until I actually went there. But then, within 5 mins of entering the forest, we were witnessing an intense scene. Another 5 mins, the tigress was walking beside our gypsy!!
#13 Feb 8th, 2018, 20:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenamohanrao View Post Lucky you.
I have heard most of them say the other way! Even I did not have much luck in Tadoba. But in Pench, I was least expecting a sighting in Khursapark Range. I had in fact not heard about this forest range until I actually went there. But then, within 5 mins of entering the forest, we were witnessing an intense scene. Another 5 mins, the tigress was walking beside our gypsy!!
i had always been lucky at Tadoba never had a tiger miss in any safari.
#14 Feb 10th, 2018, 20:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottler View Post Excellent TR Naveena and pix are enviable.

I was planning a similar trip this summer and little more specic info would be of great help.

1. How did you book the Forest Rest house and safari?
2. When does the booking window open? (how many days in advance & how difficult or easy is it to get a booking)
3. When you book a safari, does it come with a gypsy or is it you book only a safari slot and hire a seperate gypsy on your own?

Thanks in advance
1] Safaris can be booked online here
http://www.mahaecotourism.gov.in/Sit...eBooking1.aspx

Sillari FRH Can be booked here but it does not show any of the Tadoba FRH.
https://accommodation.mahaonline.gov.in/Home/Index.aspx

Though you can book MTDC accommodation online @ Moharli
https://mtdcrrs.maharashtratourism.g...earchPage.aspx

Apart from this other accommodations are available at all the gates.

2] Booking windows open 120 days in advance. For Pench bookings are available most of the time.

For Tadoba the rates have been revised w.e.f. 1.2.2018. If you book Core areas in the 120-60 days (in advance) bracket rates (only for the entry) weekday Rs. 4000/- per gypsy & weekend Rs. 8000/- per gypsy is applicable. In the 60-3 days bracket weekday Rs. 1000/- per gypsy & Weekend Rs. 2000/- per gypsy. Buffer zones are cheaper. All the details are mentioned in the safari booking page. There is a Tatkal quota as well. Weekends are generally full & so will be the entire summer season. Advance booking is a must.

3] When you book a safari online, it is only for the entry permit you are paying. Gypsy charges, guide charges & camera fees (only for lens above 250 mm) are extra. Once you check-in at a place you can hand over your permits to the manager of that place & he will arrange the gypsy. Gypsies & guides are allocated on rotation basis.

You can checkout this thread for all answers on Tadoba
http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...adoba-t242256/

Ronak.

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