31 Oct 2019 10 Days in Bandhavgarh and Kanha Tiger Reserves – A window into a timeless jungle

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the Indian wilderness – the allure of elusive tigers in deep, dark forests, of langurs jumping over ancient temples and ruins, and of delicate deer calling in alarm… for many years, this felt like an unreachable fantasy, a place I could only visit through the inspiring documentaries that always stirred my imagination and made me think of beautiful sitar notes, exotic writing and colourful birds.

But in 2017 I contacted WildWorldIndia, asking for conditions for a family photo-safari to central India. Despite our very precise needs and requirements (wildlife photography was our top priority and we wanted to maximise our wildlife time to the last second!), Vikram and Abhishek quickly got back to us with different itineraries so as to find the perfect plan. From the start they went out of their way to ensure we made the most of the trip – assigning a safari vehicle just for the three of us, switching lodges to get us closer to the park entrance and shifting dates to better suit our availability.

Finally, in late march 2018, the day came to start our dreamed 10-day Indian adventure to Bandhavgarh and Kanha. But it was not all going to be plain sailing – upon arriving to Delhi Airport, we found our bags were stuck in the previous connecting flight and wouldn´t arrive to Delhi until the following day: and by then we would already be on our way to Bandhavgarh! Going to such a remote location, we thought it would be impossible to get them… But Vikram and the WWI guys stepped in and wouldn´t stop until getting our luggage! They organised the entire “transfer” and much to our relief, the bags safely arrived to our lodge at Bandhavgarh!

Being a wildlife fanatic I usually pay little attention to “pragmatic” aspects such as food or lodging… but even I was delighted by the traditional food and beautiful scenery of the lodges. They were very well located, right next to the parks. In Kanha one could almost do a safari in the lodge´s grounds: in the few hours I could spare during midday breaks, langurs, butterflies and kingfishers were my permanent neighbours, and it was here that I enjoyed my best sightings of the spectacular Racket-tailed Drongo and the majestic Paradise Flycatcher.

And of course, the guiding was extraordinary: having been to Africa several times, our standards and expectations were already high – but the skills of Rajendra Jhariya, our guide for the entire trip, never ceased to amaze us (I still can´t figure out how he managed to spot that tiny owlet 50m away hiding between the leaves of a tree!). He really is one of a kind, and so were the other staff we met: Mohan, our incredible driver in Bandhavgarh, Ramesh and Dinesh in Kanha… the list goes on: they all did all they could to ensure we made the most of every hour even during the car transfer, where we requested stopping for a whole hour to photograph a fruit bat colony (a particular dream of mine!) as well as a quick visit to a small wetland where we enjoyed the beauty of the 2 jacana species!

On our last day, we met Vikram himself at Kanha and had the chance to properly thank him for an amazing safari: I am very happy to say that we departed as friends and we look forward to meeting him and the crew as soon as possible!

(Oh, and then there were the tigers – no less than 17 different indivuals, with sightings every single day: we had very good luck…and most importantly, the knowledge of this team of experts that is WildWorldIndia!)

All in all, an incredible experience: now I can´t wait to go back to those lush jungles again, hear the cry of the peacock and look for that striped orange phantom……that appears when you least expect it!

Finally, in late march 2018, the day came to start our dreamed 10-day Indian adventure to Bandhavgarh and Kanha. But it was not all going to be plain sailing