Pench Tiger Reserve: Birding and Tiger Safari – June 2016
Circa June 2013 when Wild India did the first every tour to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (Upcoming tour November 2016). We had butterflies in our stomach as we wanted to see the tigers roaming freely in their natural habitat. And did we get to see those beauties! Up, close and personal in some sense.
June 2016 was when we added another tiger reserve to our bouquet of destinations. Pench Tiger Reserve it was. We selected the month of June just before the reserve closes for the rainy season.
The main entrance gate at Turia is 12 kms from Khawasa. Khawasa lies on the Nagpur Jabalpur highway (National Highway 7 or NH-7) just on the border of Madhya Pradesh & Maharashtra. Khawasa is 80 kms from Nagpur.
Our trip was scheduled from June 3 to 5, 2016 so we spent 2 nights and 3 days there.
Total no. of Safaris – 4 (Turia Zone)
Morning Safari entry / exit time – 5:15 AM to 10:00 AM
Afternoon Safari entry / exit time – 4:00 PM to 6:45 PM
We arrived at Nagpur early morning and drove down with a lip smacking breakfast somewhere on the outskirts of Nagpur.
The resort (Tiger n Woods) was nicely designed in keeping with the essence of the jungle. We had wooden cottages, machan etc. Despite the summer, the resort conveyed a nice dense feeling of the rustic jungle. I began wondering how this resort would look in winter when we have one next tour scheduled (October 2016). Birding inside the resort itself gave us some beautiful sightings such as Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Black-naped Monarch, Jacobin Cuckoo, Asian Brown Flycatcher and more.
We undertook a total of four safaris through the jungle looking out for the majestic striped beauty. As they say, a jungle never disappoints you. The first two safaris were luckless when it came to the stripes but not without a fair share of birds and other mammals. We saw a lot of birds hunting for food, resting & fighting. It was during the third safari that we got a glimpse of a tigress resting behind the grass. It was only a fleeting glimpses as she disappeared into the woods again. On the final day, we decided to go to the same spot and waited patiently. After waiting for almost an hour and a half, we saw her. The majestic Collarwali stood on the road. It was a sight to behold. Life stood still for us as she came out and took our breath away. And being the last day, it was as if God sent her to bid us goodbye. A perfect way to end our tour. The memories of Collarwali will be etched in our hearts and minds forever as she walked majestically on the road. The sight also reminded me of my first sighting of a tigress during my first safari in 2013.
I remember this every time I go out in the wild
Pench Tiger Reserve (source: Wikipedia)
The Pench Tiger Reserve is a 292.85 sq. km (113.07 sq. mile) Project Tiger tiger reserve located in the Seoni District and Chhindwara District of southern Madhya Pradesh in central India. The Reserve gets its name from the Pench river that flows, north to south, 74 km through the reserve. The Pench river bisects the Pench reserve into two nearly equal parts
Teak is a ubiquitous species in the region, with a presence ranging from a sporadic distribution in most parts of the study area to localized teak-dominated patches.
Pench is one of the topmost destinations for wildlife tourism in Madhya Pradesh, albeit a little less famous and popular than the other star attractions of the Madhya Pradesh tiger circuit- Kanha and Bandhavgarh.
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