Wildlife adventure tourism in India
Wildlife safari excursion and tiger sighting tours
Wildlife tourism in India has its own place in world wildlife adventure tourism map. India is a vast country with good natural heritage including national parks, tiger reserves, reserve and protected forests as well as areas not so well protected but having very good tourism potentials. Wildlife adventure tourism in India includes tiger safari, bird watching, jungle walks and allied tourism activities. Most of the nature and wildlife tourism in the country is through its tiger reserves where tourists from all over the world visit to spot free roaming wild tigers and other wild animals in their natural habitat. India has some good tiger reserves in almost all states be it Kashmir in the north, Kerala in the south, Rajasthan in the east or Orissa in the western part. Out of all these the best place is certainly the central part with the state of Madhya Pradesh leading the wildlife tourism baton in the country.
Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has some best managed and most frequented tiger reserves of the country including Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Panna and Satpura national parks and tiger reserves. These and other destinations around them are also good bird watching sites in India and certainly one of the best places to enjoy a quiet holiday with nature. With Kanha and Bandhavgarh being at the helm of tourism Pench, Panna and Satpura are fast catching up the tourism graph.
Kanha national park:
One of the best managed tiger reserves in India, Kanha forests are famous for not only spotting the striped cat but also Hard ground swamp deer or Barasingha as it is locally known as, one of the rarest deer species in the world. Spread over 940 Sq Kms, with predominantly Sal and Bamboo forest and meadows Kanha is on top of list for any natural history fan and wildlife photographer. You can visit Kanha national park to see 22 species of mammals, 259 species of birds, 117 species of butterflies and many other flora and fauna. With more than 1000 flowering species of flora Kanha is also a treat for people mainly interested in the green cover of the earth.
Bandhavgarh national park:
Well known amongst tiger enthusiasts as a tiger reserve with highest density of Tigers per Sq. Kms., Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is one of the most visited national parks within wildlife buffs and photographers alike. Bandhav garh gets its name from the fort of Bandha, once under the Royal family of Rewa. It is one of the oldest known inhabited places in central Indian history where archeological surveys has unearthed relics dating back to thousands of years. Once royal hunting grounds of Maharaja of Rewa, today it is one of the best tiger reserves of the country, thanks to the royal family. Spread over 105 Sq. Kms. its topography varies between steep ridges, undulating, forest and open meadows. With 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds, Bandhavgarh forests are best known for its biodiversity and spotting Tigers.
This white tiger country as it is also known as (Since first wild white tiger cub – Mohan, was caught here by Maharaja Martand Singh ji) has excellent tourism infrastructure with good alternative for all budgets. Mahua Kothi (Taj safaris), Tiger garh, Syna tiger resort, Tree house hideaway, Samode Safari Lodge, Bandhav Villas, Hotel Monsoon Forest and Maharajas Royal Retreat are some premium properties catering to luxury tourists. For mid segment and budget tourists The Wildflower resort, Tiger trails, Green woods, Wild Haven, Mrigvan resorts, and Tiger Trails Resort are good choice.
Pench national park:
Spread over 299 Sq. Kms. of dense forest Pench Tiger reserve is located towards the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh. Most of the park is covered with dry deciduous forests and is situated around River Pench with predominantly Teak forest. With 39 known species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 210 species of birds and many other small and big living beings this is one of the best tiger country in Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Flora in Pench national park includes around 1200 flowering species of trees, shrubs and bushes.
Tourism infrastructure in Pench is very well developed thanks to its proximity to Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh). Some of the best accommodation in Pench include Baghvan (Taj Safari), Jungle home Pench, Tuli Tiger Corridor and Pench Jungle camp. For budget and mid segment options V Village resort, Tiger N Wood Resort and Tribal Camp Resort are the best.
Panna national park:
Famous for the wrong reason of once losing all the wild Tigers to poaching, Panna has bounced back to tiger conservation and tourism map again due to hard work and dedication of forest department of Madhya Pradesh and field staff of this spectacular tiger reserve. Once royal hunting grounds of royal families of Panna, Chatterpur and Bijawar this park has seen a lot of ups and downs in its time. Ken River, home to Indian Ghariyal flows through the forest presenting some stunning scenery on its way. With 543 Sq. Kms of core area this tiger country attracts lots of bird (around 200 known species) and has 19 known species of mammals including otters. It is a very good breeding ground for vultures and yearly vulture estimation is attended by many birding enthusiasts and volunteers.
Tourism infrastructure in Panna is not very well developed since most visitors prefer to stay at nearby temple town of Khajuraro. Some of the good places to stay in Panna national park include Pashan Garh (Taj safaris), Sarai at Toria, Ken River Lodge, Panna Tiger Resort, Jewel of Jungle and forest rest house.
Satpura national park
A bio diversity hot spot, one of the biggest tiger reserves of central India, Satpura national park covers an area of 1427 Sq. Kms. including Bori wildlife sanctuary and buffer zone. Famous hill station of Madhya Pradesh – Pachmarhi falls under this beautiful national park. With many still unlisted species of plant species Satpura boasts of more than 1300 flowering species with many of them having medicinal use. Here tourists can spot 29 mammal species, almost 190 butterfly species and many reptiles, birds and other big and small living beings. Falling under Satpura mountain ranges, landscape of Satpura forests is very diverse. A hotspot for photography enthusiasts and natural history educationists this is one of the least visited of all national parks in Madhya Pradesh but has one of the best biodiversity of all others.
Tourists planning to visit Satpura national park can stay in forest guest houses or at hotels and resorts in Pachmarhi. Some good accommodation in Satpura includes Forsyth lodge, Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, Denwa backwater escapes and Madhai wildlife resort.
Madhya Pradesh has many other natural sites of tourism interests including bird sanctuaries, reserve forests and national parks but most of them do not have good tourism infrastructure except basic accommodation being provided by the forest department. When planning a wildlife tour to Madhya Pradesh do check all the options and plan your trip with keeping any of above national park as your base.