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Tiger Safari India The magic of Pench National Park

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Tiger Safari India. Pench national park

Pench national park received international attention after the BBC filmed their ground breaking wildlife documentary called ‘Spy in the Jungle’. This was probably the most intimate film ever made about wild tigers, due to the innovative filming techniques used. Elephants were trained to carry ‘log cams’ to areas within the park where tigers had territories. These cameras provided unique coverage of the tiger families in the park; in particular one female tiger who was raising four tiger cubs!

Why visit Pench national park?

We remember an up and coming Pench tiger sanctuary back in around 2005/2006, when some of our clients were keen to explore other wildlife sanctuaries in India and move away a little from the more ‘tiger centric’ parks, such as Ranthambhore and Bandhavgarh. There are some physical similarities with the more open meadow areas of Kanha national park; the same good chances of seeing Indian Bison (Gaur) and large herds of Spotted Deer (Chitel). These meadow areas are often the preferred habitat for female tigers with cubs and to photograph a tiger stalking through long grass either at sunrise or sunset, is the dream of many a photographer. Pench national park is no longer the ‘quiet’ tiger sanctuary of old. However the 2015/2016 season saw a good number of new tiger cubs born in the park. So we pray these cubs and their mothers survive this years monsoon and provide some memorable tiger encounters in the upcoming 2016/2017 season.

Pench National Park – why not visit ‘2 sides’ of the sanctuary for the ultimate tiger safari?

So 98% of visitors to Pench national park are going to stay at wildlife lodges located reasonably close to the most well-known entrance gate at Pench – Turia. Not only does this gate permit the largest number of vehicles into the park, but it is also the closest gate for access from Nagpur; so you tend to see more weekend traffic here or clients on short stays. This gate does indeed give quick access to some of the best tiger habitat in the park, so should not be ignored from that point of view. However for our clients on longer safaris and looking to spend 4 nights or more at Pench we have a much better suggestion.

There is now a new beautiful tented camp at Pench national park called Jamatara and it is not just the beauty of this African style tent and its beautiful Banyan tree entrance that is the ‘selling point’. You have to drive almost 2 hours from the Turi gate around to the Jamatara gate; so in that way the wildlife experience is much more intimate and less crowded. Not only that but there is a much stricter limit on the number of jeep permitted to enter by this gate, thus enabling the person on safari to enjoy a much more tranquil tiger safari experience.

Pench National Park – what do expect on your wildlife safari?

So I am writing this in September 2016; which is important as you need to be careful what you write in a blog about likely wildlife encounters; especially in India and its fast changing national park dynamics. For example, Wild Dogs (Dhole) are very transient - so you can have stunning encounters one season with multiple packs and then nothing - as they move on through the fragmented forest corridors to new parks and forest reserves. Again with tigers, a glut of cubs can produce some beautiful family tiger portraits one season, but nature’s way is for these families to break up and for the male clubs in particular this is a very dangerous time. What I would say about Pench from my three visits there, is that overall it is often excellent for wild dog and tigers and we hope in the 2016/2017 season that continues.

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