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Satpura national park – if tigers are difficult to see here; why visit?


Satpura national park

As part of helping you design the very best India wildlife holiday we continue our series of blogs on some of the very best Indian wildlife sanctuaries to visit; in particular, Indian national parks which are ‘off the beaten track’. Today, we look at beautiful Satpura national park in Madhya Pradesh and show you how to plan a visit to Satpura and what wildlife to expect to see there.

Satpura national park – if tigers are difficult to see here; why visit?

Despite many wildlife lovers coming to India specifically to see tigers, there is another side of organising a safari in India which is not often spoken about. That being clients who specifically request to avoid the busier Indian tiger sanctuaries and who as our advice about Indian wildlife sanctuaries which are very much off the Radar. Not only that, these same visitors are looking for alternative wildlife activities within the park from just taking jeep safaris; such as boat safaris, trekking, and camping in the buffer areas. When we first visited Satpura in 2008 – we have returned multiple times since – we immediately recognised that the park management here were much more receptive to ideas from the wildlife tourism industry.

Because tiger numbers are still relatively low in Satpura, one of the other big cats of India has been allowed to shine and leopard sightings in Satpura are fairly common. We and our clients have also enjoyed excellent sightings of Sloth Bear and Wild Dog in Satpura national park and enjoyed the beauty of camping by the

Satpura national park – what variety and beauty!

Although Satpura national park itself covers an area of just over 500 sq km, it has been combined with Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve and Bori sanctuaries, to create Satpura tiger reserve with a protected area of over 1500 sq km – absolutely vital core tiger habitat within the  Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. The scenery is extremely beautiful and dramatic, as the park is bordered by the Satpura range of hills; which includes the famous hill station of Pachmarhi – which can easily be added on as a nice, cool extension.

The main tree species which can be found here are Sal, Teak, Tendu and Bamboo. We can find many large herds of impressive Indian Bison (Gaur), as well as the endangered Barasingha (also re-introduced here) and well as the more common Sambar, Nilgai (Blue Bull) and Chinkara. Currently it does have a small tiger population which is likely to be further boosted by tiger re-introductions from Kanha national park in the near future. Satpura is a good place for leopards, sloth bear and wild dogs (Dhole).

Best time to visit Satpura national park?

If you are interested in all wildlife, including birds, then we would advise visiting Satpura during the winter, which is from November to February. The park will not have dried out too much from the Indian monsoon and light will be much better for wildlife photography. Temperatures will be more comfortable in the afternoon safaris and you will see many species of birds by simply walking in the grounds of your wildlife lodge at Satpura.

If you are more interested in seeing big cats during your wildlife holiday in India, then pick a time from March to April to visit – maybe avoiding the very peak time for domestic and international travellers during festivals and holidays such as Holi and Easter. Drier conditions and shorter grasses with less forest undergrowth allow us to see right into the canopy and hopefully spot the elusive predators in Satpura, such as leopard, wild dog and tigers. The best time to visit Satpura national park depends on you and what experience you are after; also, maybe what temperatures you are comfortable with when travelling.

How to reach Satpura national park?

You may choose to have your own car and driver – something that is very popular with Wildlife Trails clients – and link together some really special tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries in central India. Such a journey could start in Nagpur or Bhopal and link together Indian tiger reserves such as Pench, Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Satpura. If you simply want to include a visit to Satpura national park as a ‘standalone’ itinerary, then daily flights to Bhopal are available from both Delhi and Mumbai and we have to say that Bhopal is very under-rated as a city/historical stay and well worth 2 days to explore before driving south to Satpura. Finally, there are also some interesting day time train options which can link parks like Kanha to Itarsi station’ which is only just over 1 hour to the best wildlife lodges at Satpura.

If you would like to follow the path less travelled and experience Satpura national park for yourselves, then click on this 7 day Satpura wildlife tour or email us at Wildlife Trails.

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