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Found 16 results

  1. India pleasantly surprises me always. No one is ignorant to the fact that we have 16% of world population living in less than 1% land mass of this planet, and 4% of this 1% is the protected area in India. If the bio-mass pressure of our population was not enough on the shrinking forests of our country, add to that the pressure of cattle grazing. The growing demands of a developing nation do not help the cause either. To say that the Government is not doing enough will not be fair, and even more unfair will be to say that the people of this country are intolerant, not by a distance when it comes to environment. If one travels in the interiors you will still find, rural India worshipping trees, animals, mountains, streams, and practically everything that is in nature. No wonder this is the reason, why despite all adversities, all activists, politicians, NGO’s, courts, etc, India has still managed to hold on to some key species. The so called #TigerExperts had given a apocalypse that Tiger shall not survive to see the turn of the 21st century. Well, the Tiger survives well into 16 years, with a increasingly healthy population. Did these experts underestimate their subjects of study, and overestimate their own expertise? Maybe no, they were perhaps quite right at the time of this prediction, perhaps they did not understand the Newton’s 3rd law of motion. For every forest being disrobed, there are many Krishna’s prohibiting the same. There are poachers and there are protectors. In summary the experts saw only one side and predicted, they did not see the other side, the positive side, the human side. But I would still like to thank them for the prediction, cause that woke up lot of sleeping souls of the society, who did not wait for someone to tell them to rise, awake, and stop not till the goal of protection is reached. I would like to share an incident that I witnessed in #BandhavgarhNational Park in Feb 2016. Do see the image of the same below the text. While doing an evening safari in #Bandhavgarh, from a distance I noticed a forest guard sitting near the #Rajbhera waterhole. On looking closely we see a cheetal (spotted deer) by his side, and the guard feeding him with water and leaves. We waited. When we asked him what happened, he said, while patrolling this morning he noticed the deer, who was old and weak, almost dying next to the water hole. He then fed him with leaves and water. Thereafter, the deer was able to lift his head after a couple of hours. When he came back in the evening to feed the cheetal, he saw more improvement. I was touched by his gesture, no one had told him to do that. We appreciated his work, and what he said after that amazed me, and made me laugh simultaneously. He said, “Sirji hum to tiger ko bhi aise kar dein agar woh karne de”. (we would treat / handle the #tiger similarly if he allows us to). His voice and eyes had genuine concern and love for animals. Whether the deer survived the night by himself or not, whether he became food of some #predator or not, is not important. What is important is, that we do have a lot of sincere people in our forests doing their job very sincerely, silently, away from media and recognition. In my eyes, he did not only save the cheetal, he saved the tiger, and the forest simultaneously. His boss sits about 35kms from #Bandhavgarh, still he was doing something beyond his job, with no expectations, and perhaps hence I could see the smile and peace in his eyes. This is why I say, that there are Krishna’s working silently in many areas. A silent forest ranger at work in Bandhavgarh National Park I have not lost any hope despite a lot of adversity. Nature will regenerate, it is powerful enough to take care of itself, it has done so for eons, and will continue to do so eternally. Best Wishes Sharad Vats
  2. Strictly my view, but arrived having seen many Tigers over 28 years of safaris in various parks of India. It was not easy to arrive at this decision but not a difficult one either. In the current Tigers in the Wild it is Umarpani Male in Kanha National Park who will get crowned as the largest Tiger in central India. Son of Legendary Munna, and Umarpani female, he is a huge Tiger who has outsized his parents, and is all set to takeover reins from his father as King of Kanha. Read the link below to know about him and his competition today. Best Wishes Sharad Vats
  3. The Eternal Game of Wilderness: Predator vs Prey A visit to any wildlife sanctuary or a national park is always a fascinating experience, and if the destination is a Tiger Reserve, the magnitude of this fascination knows no boundaries. Mother Nature, the lord of surprises, ensures that every time we are surprised with a unique experience that is remarkably different yet, equally enjoyable. Our visit to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in the March of 2015, once again proved to be no less. The journey to the wilderness was an exotic experience in itself as we drove literally across Maharahstra from Pune to Umred, already making the trip a memorable one. The journey was long(over 900kms) but worthwhile and we arrived in Umred with bountiful of expectations riding high on this super start to the trip. The lone safari in Umred was not the best of safaris I have had maybe due to the long journey and the lack of animal activity,however since it was my first visit to Umred, enjoyed this lesser known,gem of a forest and the close association of the locals with the wildlife as the Umred Karhandla forest is still just a sanctuary and not a Tiger Reserve yet. The plan was simple;Pune-Umred-Tadoba-Nagzira, and all this in mere 5 days only to arrive back in Pune on the 6th morning. Sticking to the schedule we left Umred after the morning safari getting some lunch on our way to Tadoba. We were put up at the Kolara gate FDCM dormitory in Tadoba and just like all the FDCM guest houses, this one too was about a km away from the reserve gate. Tadoba is regarded as one of the best places to setup a meeting with our National Animal and we knew that unlike Umred, Tadoba would surely not disappoint. As expected, this dry deciduous forest, dominated by Bamboo(one of Tiger's preferred habitats in this part of the country) showed us why nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts regard this wilderness so highly as we spotted a male leopard and s tigress in the same safari.Cloud nine was the only destination for each individual in the vehicle that day. After all one does not spot 2 of the 3 largest cats in a single day that too in the matter of a few minutes. Still hung over the previous day's heroics(although all we did was hop into the vehicle and soak in the nature's marvel), the next day in Tadoba was spent way too expectant as both the safaris next day were without any significant activity except for those 10 minutes where we waited for a tigress who was in her dreamland deep into the bushes, hoping that she would show up. Too many expectations!!!! With great amount of efforts and some luck we were permitted to enter the reserve from Pangdi gate. Kolsa region was what we wanted to get into as this region boasted of at least 3 tigresses with about 3-4 cubs each at that time in Tadoba and Pangdi gate was the nearest access point to this region. The travel time from Kolara to Pangdi was about 90 minutes and in order to make it in time for the morning safari we started from Kolara literally in the middle of the night at 3.30 am through the nearby villages. Fortunately we made it in time and started the coveted safari. A female tigresses with cubs was all that we had in our mind. So obsessed with this expectant moment, the group almost failed to notice a large herd of Gaurs, the largest wild cattle in the world, that was having a morning graze. An hour into the safari and there was no sign of any predator activity around, let alone a Tiger. We waited at a large lake in the Kolsa region for more than 45 minutes only to hear the melodious chirps and calls of a lot of avifauna. Safaris at such times can get on your nerves. Neither can you enjoy the rest of the fauna as your minds are so preoccupied with the sighting you so dearly want, nor can you dump the thought from your mind. With this mindset and a wait that was getting agonisingly long we decided to move on. We crossed tracks with another safari vehicle and the group in this vehicle broke the news that a tigress was spotted with 4 cubs some 500 yards along the track we were heading on to and that the family entered the thicket some 10 minutes ago. Cursing ourselves for having waited that long at the lake we were gutted to have missed this golden opportunity. Not wanting to accept that the chance was lost we headed in the direction the group had mentioned. With half hearted approach to the above mentioned part of the forest, we saw a lone gypsy stranded close to the left side of the track. Judging by the gestures of the vehicle`s occupants we inferred that it was probably a deer or a bison that they were watching on the left. When reached closer, we were proven right about our inference as in the bushes on the left there stood a lone Gaur possibly a bull, judging by its size, as I have already mentioned about the strength and the muscle of these huge herbivores. The ridge on its back told us he was indeed a bull. The interesting part though was that, he was not in his usual calm demeanour like Gaurs are normally. Swivelling his body from one side to another with volatile movements, his body language seemed odd. "TIGER", came a whisper from the adjacent vehicle and suddenly all the pupils started surveying the bushes around the Gaur. Then suddenly we saw a tail wag and judging the head position of this animal looked intently to get a glimpse only to see of the beast's face partially. It was indeed a Tiger. Adding up all the events witnessed in the last 5 minutes; a lone Gaur being approached by his marauder, explained his nervous body language. The scene was set for what we believed would be a classical show down between the predator and the prey. Every time the bull turned his back on the cat, in came the charge. Then turning towards the Tiger the bull would fend off the charge. This went on for about 10 minutes and suddenly a second head appeared on the other side of the bull, another Tiger! This was mind boggling for the occupants of the 3-4 vehicles witnessing this. The bull in the centre trying to stand up against a two side attack now. Shutters started to clamp even more rapidly as this superlative game started getting intense. The bull now started moving away from us but still in the same parallel line. The attack was still on. Gradually and foot after foot the bull came into the open. Let me reiterate the situation. The vehicles, there were about 8 of them now on the track. The bull directly in front of the vehicles but moving to the opposite direction and the submerged Tigers in the thicket in the same line of the bull and diagonally in front of the vehicles. With the bull moving away the first cat's head started peeping out of the bushes on to the track. Things drastically changed and the bull, with no real logical explanation, started walking towards the vehicle, facing the tiger from time to time as he walked. Still walking towards us and approximately 30 yards from the vehicles, supposedly unaware or rather ignorant of our presence, the gentle giant paused in his tracks only to continue in our direction. The tiger by now was in full view and all three of us were in the same line on the track. The vehicles the bull in front and the tiger following up on his heels. The Gaur, still moving towards us, had by now sensed our presence and stopping once, he gave us a stare. He was probably a tad bit disappointed by our presence and barged into the bushes on the right. Seeing the prey get away the tiger started chasing it and that is when we realised that it was actually a cub, may be 8-10 months old. Our hair stood on its end, as all of us started realising the magnitude of the whole situation. The cub followed the Gaur on the right. The second tiger, which by now we knew was another cub followed its sibling also followed suit. Then another and another. We were flabbergasted with the turn of events. 4 tiger cubs in their most important phase of their lives had just crossed us and the suspicion had come true. It was lesson time for the cubs as the mother, watched intently, still in the thicket to our left, where this battle had begun initially. She must have been the one to instigate the cubs, probably leading from the front when the attack began and on luring the cubs into the attack had stepped off to let the kids get a hang of such situations. The cubs were being trained, a skill was being developed. A skill that would allow each of them to survive when they get older, stronger and most importantly when mum would not be around. We were witness to one Nature's most amazing spectacles. There was no sound, absolutely no sound from the mob of 60 odd people that had this visual treat. However, dreams are very rarely completed in your sleep and as if to testify this we had to back trace our vehicles as time was up for our safari and the cubs had to continue their lessons, maybe without our distraction. With throats dried up and minds filled with this euphoria we returned back to the gates. Later that evening we got the news that the ritual was completed, the Gaur had fallen prey to his predator. Not exactly to the family of Tigers, but to the Nature's sternest rule, " Survival of the fittest". With every prey that falls to the predator in the wilderness, the predator gets to live another day. A spectacle of a lifetime was still being attempted to settle down in our minds and we left Tadoba, thanking the almighty and mother nature for giving us this experience which I am sure would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to re-visualise in the wild.
  4. Aap Ne Baagh Dekha? Definitely the most important phrase we learned on this trip. The answer, btw, is yes, 17/16/15. Hint: Could have something to do with: The Tiger definitely is my most favourite animal, and so it was quite a logical decision to do a return trip to India. Africa may have "wilder" parks, may have more diversity of larger mammals. But it doesn´t have the tiger. Simple as that. For that reason alone India will always be a fantastic destination for any animal lover, and certainly one I will return to time and time again. Especially since there´s so much more to see than just the king of the jungle. A unique culture and timeless monuments: Splendiferous birdlife: Abundant "regular" animals like deer and monkeys: Very rare and elusive creatures: Impressive giants: All three from Kaziranga, a most special and wonderful place in Eastern India´s Assam. And the place which was the reason for this trip to be a very "Safaritalky" one. A team-up of "Mrs. Trip Report" @@Atravelynn , secret lurker @@AndMic and my humble self. (And yes, Lynn and me will be sharing trip report duties on this one.) Our interest in seeing this extraordinary stronghold of the Indian Rhino brought us together. Andrew, Lynn and yours truly on the banks of the Brahmaputra. All started here, btw: That´s what they try to tell you in Central India´s parks, Kanha, Pench and Tadoba in our case. But no need to worry ... let´s just say good things happen to those who travel with Lynn.
  5. An inexplicable start of new year it was..! 11 Tigers & a leopard..! In all a dozen of Predator cats of Tadoba accompanied me in the start of this year, as if an indication to stay around them all this year and many more years coming ahead. Besides the hectic schedule, the glimpses of these extremely ROYAL Bengal Tigers helped me to keep up. Haven't expected it to be this amazing..! Excited as ever, Seeing off 2016, welcoming 2017..!!! Once again Wishing you all a very Happy New Year . May this year bring you lots of glory and Happiness....💥💥💥 Keep in touch for more updates.
  6. India was only a vague thought in my mind--"someday"! I knew I wanted to see tigers, and the myriad of new birds, but it all seemed so foreign and daunting to plan; even more daunting to try to navigate it on our own. I figured that when we finally did go to India, we'd have to go with a group tour, which is really not our style. I'd researched group birding tours, and even inquired about some. But then one day I read the wonderful trip report "Stripes of Wild India" from @@Atravelynn and @@michael-ibk. Maybe, just maybe, it was more feasible and easier than I thought to do India privately? With dreams of tigers and dhole I contacted Wild World India, who had planned Lynn and Michael's trip as well as those of several other SafariTalkers. I did not even bother contacting any other agency as it all fell together so quickly and easily with Vikram of WWI. The price was surprisingly reasonable, much less per day than an Africa trip. At first I had only planned on the central tiger reserves: Tadoba, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh. But after much (well not that much!) deliberating we decided to do Kaziranga as well; which meant cutting out one tiger reserve. In the end, I was a complete copycat and essentially booked the same trip as Lynn and Michael with just a couple of less days! And I arranged to have the same highly recommended guides that Lynn and Michael had used: Rajan in Central India, and Tarun at Kaziranga. Within just a couple of weeks it was all settled! Our itinerary was: Day 01/17 Feb 2016/Wed: Arrive Delhi (City tour) (we arrive at 1 in the morning) : Sheraton 4 Points Day 02/18 Feb 2016/Thu: Fly Delhi to Nagpur, drive to Tadoba : Svasara Jungle Lodge Day 03 to 05/19 to 21 Feb 2016/Fri to Sun: Tadoba Tiger Reserve Day 06/22 Feb 2016/Mon: Drive Tadoba to Pench: Tuli Tiger Corridor Day 07/23 Feb 2016/Tue: Pench Tiger Reserve Day 08/24 Feb 2016/Wed: Drive Pench to Kanha: Tuli Tiger Corridor Day 09 to 11/25 to 27 Feb 2016/Thu to Sat: Kanha Tiger Reserve Day 12/28 Feb 2016/Sun: Drive Kanha to Jabalpur, Fly Delhi: Sheraton 4 Points Day 13/29 Feb 2016/Mon: Fly Delhi to Guwahati, Drive to Kaziranga: Wild Grass Lodge Day 14 & 15/1 & 2 Mar 2016/Tue & Wed: Kaziranga Day 16/3 Mar 2016/Thu: Drive Kaziranga to Guwahati, Fly Delhi & Departure It was all arranged so that we would not miss any game drives during the weekly park closings; we would be traveling during those periods. Perfect! Our arrival via JFK-->Amsterdam-->Delhi on Delta/KLM went smoothly and more or less on time, and we were met cheerfully at the airport by Wild World India's representative, Abishek. By the time we arrived at the Sheraton 4 Points, it was close to 3 a.m. and needless to say we were ready to fall into bed. But, alas, that was not to be because apparently the Sheraton did not have our reservation, and no rooms available! After much argument by Abishek (who assured us it had been booked and paid for and reconfirmed earlier that day--and I believed him 100%) they still could not come up with a room, and so we were shuttled off to the Ibis Hotel. This would not have been a big deal except that it was now past 4 a.m. We were due to be picked up at 9:30 for the Delhi tour, but we moved it up to 10:30 so we could get at least a little much needed rest. An inauspicious start, but honestly that was the only minor "hitch" on the entire trip, and the Sheraton made up for it later... After breakfast at the Ibis, were picked up by our guide for our Delhi tour. First stop was the Qutub Minar complex, a 13th century World Heritage site of . I'll spare you the history lesson but for those interested you can read about it here: A very picturesque archeological site of minarets and mosques. The Qutub Minar itself is the tallest brick minaret in the world. The carvings on the columns are intricate and beautiful. Love the layers of colors The famous Iron pillar of Delhi supposedly never rusts, due to its composition. Its origin is somewhat in debate. For those of you waiting for wildlife, we saw our first Indian mammal here, the Three-striped Palm Squirrel as well as our first Indian life-bird, the Rose-ringed Parakeet. Little did we know how ubiquitous they would be!
  7. We've just paid deposits for 44 nights in India for February-April 2016. This trip has been over 12 months in the planning so I am really relieved and quite excited to rest easy now and let the safari countdown take care of itself. The itinerary is a mixture of cultural sights and wildlife safaris due to the interests of the group. This trip expanded (along with the size of the group) and morphed into 2 separate sectors from the initial idea of a few cultural sights in around 7-8 days followed by a long multi-park safari for Jane and I to a much longer itinerary as my aunt, uncle and a friend of my aunt decided to join us for the first sector. Consquently, the first 16 days is a 'family and friends' trip mostly around cultural and architectural wonders followed by a long wildlife safari for Jane and I to 9 different national parks and wildlife sites. This is my third trip to India and a first for everyone else - my first 2 trips were architectural and cultural journeys to southern India (1999) and Kolkata to Mumbai (2001) so I am expecting to see a lot of change in some places 15 years further down the track. Delhi - 2 nights Bundi - 1 night Udaipur - 3 nights Amritsar - 1 night Jaipur - 2 nights Agra- 2 nights Chambal River - 1 night Gwalior - 1 night Delhi - 2 nights Velavadar NP - 2 nights Gir NP - 3 nights Little Rann of Kutch - 2 nights Delhi - 1 night Tadoba - 3 nights Pench - 2 nights Kanha - 5 nights Delhi - 1 night Corbett - 3 nights Delhi - 1 night Kaziranga - 4 nights Kolkata - 1 night
  8. This will be some kind of report about my recent trip to India, but please note that I am not planning to make this the typical day by day, drive by drive trip report. I know people say that and then they do anyway and I suppose that could happen, but I really dont expect to do so, one reason being that this did not feel like a typical safari, at least not compared to my African safaris. In general, the sightings were fewer and harder to come by than Id come to expect in Africa, and even than Id come to expect from India trip reports on Safaritalk. But then we also knew we were going at not the prime viewing time either. December is winter in India, and the monsoon season was only over a couple of months. That meant there could still be water inside the forest, so animals did not have to come out of the forest to the permanent water holes to drink as frequently. ITINERARY Dec. 4 arrive Delhi 11 a.m. overnight at LemonTree, near airport Dec 5-8 four nights at Chitvan Jungle Lodge, Kanha National Park Dec. 9-12 four nights Svasara Lodge, Tadoba National Park Dec 13-14 KolKata 2 nights to attend wedding Dec. 15 fly home I was in India from December 4 through December 15 with @@Kitsafari and her lurker husband, H. They live much closer, in Singapore, so for them it was a 6-hour flight to get there, but for me I had to leave on December 2 and have an almost 6-hour layover at Heathrow so I ended up traveling about 24 hours, not counting the time getting to the airport near home. I did use frequent flier miles so I might have found a slightly better itinerary if I hadnt. I will tell about the first 24 hours or so in a bit of detail as things didnt quite go according to plan and itturned into a bit of an adventure! I arrived at about 11 a.m. and used the e-VISA I had obtained not long beforeleaving (Thanks to Kit again for the inadvertent heads up about the fact that I needed one!) and was met by Abhishek from WWI, an energetic and always smiling fellow, very pleasant to be around. He had his driver take us to our hotel, just about 5 minutes away. He got me checked in so I didnt have to do anything. It was a very nice hotel. I had some lunch in the hotel restaurant, a 3-hour nap, and then met up with Vikram of WWI along with Abhishek in the lobby and had a nice chat. Later I came down to have dinner and ran into Kit and H who had just arrived, so they joined me at the restaurant. Abhishek had told us we needed to leave for the airport for our flight to Jabalpur at 6 a.m. and he arranged for the hotel to give us a wake up call at 5:30. We would take a box breakfast with us to the airport. I think I went to sleep a bit after midnight. He said he would not be there but his driver would take us. At what seemed like the middle of the night, the phone rang, waking me with a start and finding me feeling very disoriented. I figured it was my wake-up call from the hotel, and answered. But instead I hear Abhisheksvoice. He tells me that theres been a change of plans. The night before, a plane that had landed at Jabalpur, the airport to which we were to fly to begin our safari, and was taxing when a herd of wild boar ran onto the runway. The plane hit one or more boars, sustaining damage and skidding off the runway! Luckily no humans were injured, but I later learned that at least seven boars were killed and the plane was badly damaged. Heres an article about the incident: Apparently this was the very plane that would have taken us to Jabalpur the next day but beside that problem, authorities closed the Jabalpur airport for three days to investigate the incident I suppose! Abhishek told us he had luckily seen a report of the incident while his wife was flipping tv channels just before he went to bed and had ended up staying up all night to rearrange things for us! He did receive a text about it later but he probably would have been asleep and not seen it til morning and wed be in a pickle. So hed arranged for us to fly instead to Nagpur which would be a 5-6 hour drive to Kanha rather than a 3-4 hour drive from Jabalpur. Also, the flight was leaving Delhi 2 hours earlier. Oh, I said. What time is it now? Its about 3:30 he replied. OH. No wonder I was so disoriented Id napped maybe 3 hours. Good thing I had that other 3-hour nap! Kit and H had received a similar call So we got up and got ready in a hurry and went off to the airport. We had no time for coffee on the way, so when we arrived we were pretty anxious to get a cup before the 5-6 hour drive. We were picked up by a driver whod been arranged by WWI and asked him if he knew of a place we could get a cup of coffee on the way. He said yes, there was a place about five minutes away. We drove off and he pulled up to a beautiful hotel, a Raddison Blu. He suggested we get a cup of coffee and meet him back outside in about ten minutes. We went in hoping they would have some kind of quick place to get just coffee but the only option was their full restaurant. After we ordered, it seemed to take forever for the coffees to come at least half an hour! So this ended up being probably a 45-minute stop. We got back on the road and had an interesting drive dodging around motorcycles, some of which were ridden by 3-4 people (some with one or two children as part of that number) and some of which had a woman riding side-saddle and wearing a sari with flowing fabric hanging off the back. I was constantly worried one of these women would get fabric from her sari caught in the wheel or some other part of the motorcycle, a la Isadora Duncan, the dancer, who died tragically when a flowing scarf became entangled with the wheel of the car in which she was riding. Fortunately, I did not witness any such incident. As @@Kitsafari and H will attest to, I am an anxious person, especially in cars. I do have some reason for this, having been in a car accident in which my aunt was killed. Perhaps India is not the best place for me as driving there is quite anxiety-provoking for me! The other aspect besides many obstacles in the road that was challenging for me was the constant honking of horns. Mind you, I grew up in Manhattan so I am no stranger to traffic, aggressive driving and horns. But this was on another level! I found it amusing that many trucks have bumper stickers saying Please Honk! I think it is kind of a method of communication on the road saying Hey, Im about to pass you! or Hey, Im zooming up on your side, so just be aware that I will soon be right next to you with less than an inch between us! Here's a shot from the drive: After some time driving, our driver stopped and we learned the reason was we had a flat tire. He seemed to fix it fairly quickly and we were back on our way. But then a short time later, he pulled over again at a tire repair stand of sorts. This was a longer stop, maybe about half an hour, as he wanted to get the tire properly repaired as we still had a long journey ahead. Needless to say, by the time we arrived at Chitvan, we were quite happy to finally be there! There was time fora quick lunch, dropping off our bags, and then we met up with our guide, Rajen, and we were off to our first game drive.
  9. Hi All. I leave three weeks from today (!!) for my very first visit to India! I am trying to figure out how cold it will be on safari. We will be at Kanha for four days and Tadoba for four days. Our tour operator, World Wide India, said to expect temperatures anywhere between a low of 3 centigrade to a high of 25. They said it can be cold in the open jeeps especially in the mornings and late evenings, and to bring "light woolens or fleece." I remember my first safari to South Africa was in its winter and the temperatures I think were similar, and we needed more than just fleeces - we had hats and gloves and hot water bottles and blankets! Anyone have experience with safari at these parks at this time of year and have any input into whether a fleece is sufficient or whether we'll need even more warm layers? Thanks!
  10. All the same obliging individual in Tadoba NP.
  11. In Dec 2012, I got a chance to spend a few days in Tadoba. This was to be a solo trip and I was looking forward to spend time in Tadoba. While during the initial planning I contacted Manish Varma. Manish took care of all the on the ground logistics and I was spared the pains of arranging things for myself. Manish is local of Chandarpur and spends most of his time in Moharli. Manish gave me a fair warning that forest department has blocked quite a few routes around Tadoba and all tourist traffic is concentrated around two main areas. Well thats that but I was willing to take that chance and have a relaxed trip anyways. So I took a flight from Mumbai and landed in Nagpur. Gopal was the designated driver picking me up from airport. It was a nice 4 hour drive when we ended up in Chandarpur. Gopal and I had a dinner in a local bar. We drove to Moharli and the road was dark and via buffer zone. Gopal humored me & drove at a snails pace during the last few kms. Well other than a few deers crossing the roads and some hares, I did not see much. Well, here is to hope. My first few nights were booked in Saras Resort, thats next door to Moharli gate of TATR. I was booked in log hut. Accommodation was basic, clean and comfortable. Just the way I like it. It even had running hot water, you tell the boys in the resort and they come running with hot water. The guys who were employed there were from near by villages and while young and with no training, these guys were very attentive. I have generally seen people complaining about service in resorts around Tadoba, but I believe it is a matter of setting ones expectations right. The cook made sure I got food as per my request. Other part of my stay was booked in MTDC resort. Another basic and comfortable accommodation. This is a small distance away from the gate, but not by much. One of the nights while Manish I was sitting and having a post sundown sundowner, there were repeated alarm calls. Loud and clear. Whatever was disturbing the peace of the forest was lurking behind the lake near MTDC for a while. This was a fun stay and I was looked after well by the guys there. The game drives were concentrated around two areas: Telia lake and Pandarpauni area. Other obstacles thrown in the way by forest department were described elsewhere on the forum and I would not want to repeat them here. The jeep drive timings in the park are typical morning and afternoon drives. We spent a lot of time around Telia and Jamunbodi areas. I think I even got some of the best naps in there as I do not believe in running around the whole park without a reason. We would go about trying to figure out the animal movements and based on what we could gather we would plan our route of the drive. In the areas that were allowed, birdlife was not very prominent. However Manish had arranged for a few excursions outside the park for the reason and we saw some birdlife around the villages nearby. Now instead of giving a day to day account of the trip, I would like to share the sights that I was graced with.
  12. Looks like Govt has decided to squeeze tourists a lil more. :-) And anyone with 250mm and above will shell out extra 500 rupees. I will have to see what I will do for my break this year. Cheers
  13. 13th March – Chasing Butterflies Arrived into Nagpur around 1PM having met Hari in Mumbai. We were collected and, following a quick stop for lunch and a search for an open bank for Hari, drove on mainly rough roads to Svasara Lodge, arriving there at about 16.50. We passed a lot of the commoner Indian birds en route, along with Hanuman Langaurs. We didn’t have a drive booked for today due to our scheduled arrival time. So after checking in to our well-appointed lodge, I spent the last hour or so chasing butterflies around the lodge and chatting to the staff and guests. They showed films in the evening, one was on Dholes. An unseasonal thunderstorm rumbled away in the distance. P3138650 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr P3138687 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr P3138689 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr
  14. Hi all, this isn't my trip report but just thought I'd check in. I'm now at the hotel in Mumbai, heading on to Gujarat tomorrow. Had the most amazing time in Tadoba. Whilst we didn't unfortunately see wild dogs in the end, we did have more, longer and better sightings of tigers than my three previous trips combined! In total we saw 6 different tigers, some of those a couple of times. Several close views, plus a single brief encounter with a sloth bear and a more distant view of a leopard drinking from a waterhole. What's more, Jonathan Scott of Big Cat Diary fame was staying at tigert trails and he came in our jeep on one of the drives because there were some dignitaries in the park and they didn't have enough permits to give him a private jeep! He is there directing a new series called Tiger Diaries with an Indian film crew. They had originally planned to film in Ranthambhore but can you believe that out of 32 drives they only saw tiger 3 times?! We've seen them every afternoon!!! Strangely, the mornings have been pretty dead here. Though we have been putting in some time to look for the dogs where they were last seen (no luck for us but others did see them). If we had gone all out for tigers, we might have had a couple more sightings. Tadoba is closed Today, So we did the drive in the buffer this morning and came across fresh tiger pugmarks. apparently a jeep that got in before us was charged by this tiger, to the extent that it's paws were up on the vehicle! They got so scared they left the buffer zone and word then quickly got around that a tiger was there so lots of locals came to look for it too.. Sadly this one proved elusive. Anyway, we had phenomenal tiger sightings! I must come back to Tadoba again!!
  15. Just one month to go befor I head off to India. Here's hoping all the planning, stress etc will be worth it!
  16. The Times of India have reported FDCM starts measures to check forest fires in Tadoba TNN | Jan 19, 2013, 01.47AM IST ": Fire fighting unit of FDCM has initiated early measures to check the forest fire in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in coming summer. They have completed the fireline cutting work in the tiger reserve and would burn the chopped foliage on the fireline between February 1 and 15. Last year TATR had lost over 4,000 hectares of forest in wild fires in summer months. Cautious authorities of FDCM west Chanda division, that shoulders the responsibility of control of fire in TATR, are in no mood to leave any stone unturned this year." When we went to Kanha in feb there was burning like this going on by the roads and we believed it had a detrimental effect on the quality of our sightings. Obviously this work needs to be done and it's good to know when the work is planned to take place. With our new dates hopefully seeing us visit Tadoba in mid march I am hopeful that this work will have been completed by then. Might even be beneficial to us if it reduces the amount of cover! Here's hoping! Still waiting for the other client to confirm that the new dates are a go... So still not 100% sure the trip is happening yet..

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