India safari jeep bookings open…an update
The Madhya Pradesh safari jeep reservation system has now gone live for visits in October, November, December and early January in Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Satpura and Panna (for bookings 120 days in advance). The parks of Madhya Pradesh open from the 1st October in a slightly staggered fashion – some zones of Kanha and Pench don’t open until the 15th October. The Wednesday afternoon closure remains, and all the MP parks close for Diwali on 19th October.
All zones of Bandhavgarh are scheduled to open on the 1st, being the 3 core zones (Tala/ Magadhi/ Kithauli) and 5 buffer zone gates. Availability is currently good between the 1st and 16th October, but reducing steadily between the 17th October and 16th November. Particularly for those wanting a private jeep, the availability of jeep safaris at Bandhavgarh is better between mid-November and 21st December. Anyone booking late for a visit over Christmas/ New Year will need to be ready to focus on private jeeps in the buffer zones (Dhamokhar/ Panpatha/ Johila), and hope for last minute seats from the waiting list/ cancellations or finding seats in an existing shared jeep booking. For visits between October and January you must firm up your plans without delay.
At Kanha the Kisli and Mukki zones open from 1st October along with the 4 buffer zones, but the Sarhi and Kanha zones don’t open till the 15th. Jeep reservations a few days either side of Diwali (17th to 23rd Oct) and Christmas/ New Year are nearly sold out in the most popular zones (Kisli/ Kanha/ Mukki), and jeeps for late October/ early November dates are reducing rapidly. As at Bandhavgarh, the availability of private safari jeeps at Kanha is currently best between 13th November and 23rd December and from 2nd January onward.
Most zones of Pench open on the 1st October, but Jhamtara zone is not open till the 15th. Jeep availability is currently OK for the most popular zone of Pench (Turia), except peak periods such as Diwali (17th-23rd Oct), Christmas and New Year (24/25 & 30/31 Dec). For any weekend visits or stays in late December, it is crucial to firm up your plans ASAP. This situation is similar for Satpura.