It’s 5:15 in the morning and Britt and I are flying down the main road to Kanha National Park in an open-top safari jeep. The crisp 45 degree air is stinging our cheeks, but other than that we remain warm because our thoughtful guides have given us blankets to bundle up with. The park doesn’t open until 6:30, but with several jungle camps in the area we have to get to the gate and steak out a place in line. So, leaving Kipling Camp at 5:15 and taking the 5 minute drive to the park gate, that leaves us with over an hour to sit in the jeep. Our guides told us to go ahead and sleep, but we’ve just been whipped through cold air for 5 minutes and we’re about to go on a tiger safari! We’re too excited to sleep!
After going through two entry point gates, we arrived in one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen: Kanha National Park.
Britt and I have both had the opportunity to go on several African safari’s so that is what we had to compare this with. The biggest difference between the two is that on an African safari you don’t adhere to a road. The jeep can go anywhere, since the parks there are made up of mostly flat land. Kanha, however, has an intricate road system that all safari jeeps must stick to, and it was easy to see why. The vegetation was so thick, that even a bulldozer would have a tough time making a go of it. The downside to that is, that you’re chances of seeing an animal are much slimmer.
We spent most of the time tracking tigers, by following the alarm calls of the langur monkey and the barking deer, and searching for pug marks. The tiger was the main “goal” so any other animal we saw along the hunt was incidental. We did end up seeing two tiger cubs, but because of the dense jungle we didn’t get any pictures.
Here are some animals we did happen to get a snapshot of…
We weren’t the only ones tracking tigers in the jungle. Every day rangers on elephants set off into the park and search for the tigers in order to keep a track record of them.
Since no-one is too keen on eating a full breakfast at 4:30 in the morning before taking off for a safari, the guides pack a picnic meal and we break for breakfast around 9 am. The picnic was lovely, and you couldn’t beat the scenery!
Being in the park for several hours at a time, plus eating a meal meant that we would eventually need to use the restroom. We thought we were going to have to just go out into the jungle and squat behind a bush, and we kind of did. The park officials were kind enough to save us the embarrassment of dropping our pants in front of our drivers, or getting chased out of the bush with our pants around our ankles by an unhappy animal, and built a bathroom for safari goers. By “built” I don’t mean they installed plumbing and running water, with a porcelain toilet and a sink. I mean they put up some dried brush in a square and placed two bricks on the ground for us to squat on.
While the animals were exciting to see (I think this guy lost a contact) …
we found the trees equally as fascinating to look at.
In addition to the animals pictured above, we also saw a plethora of exotic birds. We took a total of 4 trips into the park, and if time allowed we would have spent weeks going in to Kanha every day! Kanha National Park is definitely a place that we will come back and visit in the future!