Paula Gilhooley’s Tiger Safari Bandhavgarh

Our final Tiger Reserve was Bandhavgarh National park, located in the Vindhya Hills of the Umaria district in Madhya Pradesh.  This 450 square mile area became a National Park in 1968 and has become one of India’s most popular parks.  The name Bandhavgarth comes from the most prominent hillock of the Umaria area.  It is famed to have the highest density of tigers in India.  The park is divided into three major zones Tata, Magdi and Bamera of which Tata attracts the highest amount of tourists.

As in Kanha “Tiger Moments” on elephants are offered as well as full and half day elephant safaris.  We chose to do a full day elephant safari (two DSC_4599 half days) and were not lucky in spotting any tigers even though we had the ability to move through the jungle without restrictions.  Most of the time spent on the elephant was in protecting our faces from the branches that snapped back into place once the elephant had pushed through the bush.  Afterwards we agreed that a half day elephant safari would have been sufficient.

We did have our best Tiger sitings in Bandhavgarh when we came upon a tiger walking through the jungle.  He continued walking up to and across the road directly in front of our vehicle before walking into the forest.  This gave us a great opportunity to take lots of great photos in a less frantic manner than we had earlier experienced.

While visiting Bandhavgarh we stayed in The Nature Heritage Resort which is situated adjacent to the park in the heart of Banghavgarh in Tata village.  We stayed in an individual cottage that was situated in a lush garden setting.  Since we were not part of a group, which the resort seemed to cater to, we were assigned to have our cocktails and dinner in separate areas away from the other group guests.  This gave up the opportunity to get to know the other individual travelers including a young man from France and an internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, Simone Sbaraglia from Rome, whose amazing photographs can be seen on the web site with the same name.  He was there representing an Italian travel magazine to take photogrDSC03205aphs to help promote travel to Bandhavgarh.  The restaurant at the resort was the only one in the three parks that served vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes.

Two of the other people assigned to our dining table was a couple that had been doing tiger safaris for fifteen days without once getting even a brief siting of a tiger.  After hearing their story we felt very lucky tohave had sitings in all three parks we had visited.  We also view Gaur (wild ox), several kinds of deer and antelope…but bears, wild boar and leopard remained elusiveDSC_4595

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