fantastic tiger sightings

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Dec 26th, 2007, 03:57 AM
  #1
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fantastic tiger sightings

Hi, I had the most wonderful tiger sightings at bandhavgarh national park, 10 tigers in 4 nights at mahua kothi, saw both the dominant males of the park,the north end and south end male (huge tigers), saw one male adult cu3 years) of the chorbehra tigress, also saw the chorbehra tigress and the mahaman tigress with 4 cubs, the most amazing part is that only one of the sightings is on elephant back(the south end male) all the others were sightings in our vehicle with our guide himanshu,(great guide and naturalist)as usual taj/ccafrica was terrific on all acounts...accomo,food,guides etc etc
I shared the vehicle with a german couple and thier son who live in delhi and love wildlife(really got along with them)
I will post a detailed report and photographs sooooon,
Sonali

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Dec 26th, 2007, 04:28 AM
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Hello the similey is a typo mistake sorry!!!! Sonali
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Dec 26th, 2007, 05:09 AM
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Sonali,
Thanks for the great news! I've been anxiously waiting to read about your stay. Was the weather very cold? I can't decide how much warm stuff to bring.

I'm looking forward to reading your detailed report and seeing the photos.
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Dec 26th, 2007, 05:22 AM
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Great, Sonali ...... glad you had a good time.
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Dec 26th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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Marija, It was very cold, but the rooms are fabulous, central heating is very good and they have electric blankets under your bedsheet, sizziling scented hot water in your bathtub, you can soak in after the day's game drive, wonderful

You will need layered woollen clothing for your gamedrives as it will be cold in the mornings and pleasant around mid morning when you arrive back at 10:30,definately take a scarf, cap to cover your head and ears,hand gloves,jacket,socks etc...(they give you hot water bottles and blankets on your game drives)

please feel free to ask me any other questions you have, I am sure you will loveeee it. I will definately post my photos and trip report asap,

Hari, it was great,after all the unusually lucky sightings I am so happy that the tigers are well protected inside the reserve as well as the staff at mahua doing all they can to
conserve the bio-diversity by doing community programmes etc... I think our parks in the long run should do well

Sonali
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Dec 26th, 2007, 06:25 AM
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Thanks, Sonali. Sounds like we'll need the same gear we used in Botswana in July. I just hate the thought of having to carry it with us while we tour India. We're only at Bandhavgarh for three nights, the rest of the time we're in Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Agra, Rajasthan and Aurangabad. I assume we won't be cold elsewhere if we don't start out before sunrise!
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Dec 26th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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Good for you! We went on a tiger safari in Rathambore last year and we felt like seeing a tiger was a shot in the dark! We ended up seeing a tigress and her three cubs. While it was spectacular, we were pretty far away. It also was pure luck that we saw them.
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Dec 26th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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Marija, I remember, from your last post that you are in bandhavgarh around feb beginning?? India is cold in January till mid february, and as you are doing the northern part of India, it will be cold in delhi(winter it's freezing), varanasi, rajasthan etc I strongly recommend you carry warm clothing for the entire trip, though may be the scarf/cap and hand gloves you may only use in bandhavagarh....I want to go back.... it was great....

Sonali
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Dec 26th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Dr Andrea, I agree luck is the most important on safari, but the places you select to view your wildlife are important too... I think you were very luck to spot a tigress in ranthambore(even at a distance)... In bandhavgarh as it has a heavy density(highest in the world) of tigers within a area of 100 sq km ( 1 tiger for every 4.77 sq km), not spotting a tiger is unlucky, if you are there for 3-4 nights,I saw all my tigers in a 5 to 12 meter range, which was exceptionally lucky,got very good pictures, which I will post soooon with my report, Sonali
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Dec 26th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Congrats Sonali, sounds like Bandhavgarh needs to be on any serious itinerary.

Can't wait to see the photos!
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Dec 26th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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that should read 'any serious Tiger itinerary'
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Dec 26th, 2007, 08:02 AM
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PB, the park's wonderful, you would love it !!!!. I broke my kanha record which was in feb end march 2006,for natural sightings of tigers at bandhavgarh, I really never thought I could be sooo lucky....

Sonali
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Dec 26th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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Congratulations sonali on a very successful trip! Can't wait to see the pics.
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Dec 26th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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thanks Dennis, will post the pictures, Sonali
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Dec 26th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Hello all, I am starting with my trip report..... here goes

I started from my home town at 12 in the afternoon, my flight via indore to jabalpur was at 1:55 arriving at jabalpur at 4:30, kingfisher airlines is a good airline and the flight was nice, reached jabalpur and stayed at the itc sheraton welcome hotel and took the next day morning train to umaria, where I was picked up by a taj arranged transffer reached mahua kothi at around 12 in the afternoon

Jeetendra the deputy GM at mahua kothi was at the car park to recieve me, and the bulters served me lovely juice the moment I got off the car

Mahua kothi is lovely, the view of the tiger grass from the lounge is wonderful( I could sit there for ages )A small part of the lounge is converted into a snack and drink centre and I had lovely fresh mosambi (another fruit like the orange) juice as I sat discussing my trip with Jeetendra

Got to catch the flight to ahmedabad from indore.... gotta go more latter, very sooooon.....

Sonali
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Dec 27th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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continuing with my report...

Guests are allowed to have lunch at either the terrace, by the pool or in the main dining area, I choose the pool, which is set among thick bamboo trees... had a nice lunch( had to ask for achar and pickle as the food was less spicy, more suited to the needs of foreigners)..from then on the chef called me regularly in my room to make my spicy menu and veggie food

Left for my first game drive with our guide himanshu, who is an avid lover of wildlife and the knowledge he had about the eco-system was fantastic

Bandhavgarh national park consists of 100 sq km in the core area called the tala range which is densly populated with 25-30 tigers, the area has two dominant males the north end and the south end male who mate with many tigresses in thier territory, the tigers here are habituated to vehicles and show themselves regularly to tourists

The conservation area of the park is about another 1000 sq km, but the tigers as well as other animals in these areas are shy of human contact and hide very quickly making sightings difficult, also the density of tigers is lower in these areas as basically it is farm land the government is trying to convert in a buffer zone and park by relocating the farmers and locals..

I will put the map with my photos...ps it will take me a day or two, pls bear with me....

We spotted the mahaman female on the very first game drive, the tigress has 4 cubs(7 months) and was defending them against a 3 year old male adult cub of the chakradhara litter...only saw the female and male, did not spot the cubs....

The next morning tried our luck a many places,saw plenty of pug marks and heard many alarm calls....but could not spot any tiger so we inquired whether the elephants had spotted a tiger, the news was good, the south end male(huge tiger,u will see in photos....) had been spotted, so of we went on the elephant,WOW.... I had only seen tigresses in kanha, so seeing one of the biggest males of the park was an experience.... twice he looked in my eyes and made eye contact at close quaters....wheee, what a morning....

Evening tried our luck, but did not spot any tigers.....

more soooooon

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Dec 27th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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Sooo glad you had such great sightings! I had high hopes for your trip as we had great sightings in Bandhavgarh too!

I was unusually lucky with my Ranthambore sightings too earlier that same year but I know that my experience was very atypical whereas most people have had good sightings at Bandhavgarh!
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Dec 27th, 2007, 08:22 PM
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Sonali,

Your comparisons of the two parks - Kanha and Bandhavgarh? i'm sure both have great tiger sightings ..... but, specifically

1.) Crowds at sightings
2.) Size of the park vs number of jeeps out on drive plus number of hotels in the area
3.) Variety of gameviewing? different species, birdlife etc etc.,

Do they have an opening date for Kanha lodge yet? Correct me if i'm wrong - Kanha can be driven from Nagpur?

If only, Bandhavgarh had better access .....

Thanks
Hari
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Dec 28th, 2007, 01:33 AM
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Kavey you are absolutely right, sightings in bandhavgarh are much better, due to the higher density of tigers

Hari,
Kanha is a much bigger park, so it naturally supports more tigers, compared to bandhavgarh.....but the density per sq km is more in bandhavgarh, so naturally better sightings...

The crowding of vehicles at a natural tiger sighting and the one on elephant would be less in kanha compared to bandhavgarh.... as kanha is a bigger park and sends 3 teams of elephants to track tigers, where as bandhavgarh only sends one team

Frankly for natural sightings bandhavgarh would be the best and for sightings on elephants kanha would be better

Also there is an element of luck involved as on my last evening game drive in the 100 sq km area 70 jeeps had entered yet when we spotted the dominant north male(son of the legendary charger) walking on the road at around 5 in the evening, we were alone, it was an absolute private sighting at close quaters, wonderful.... my guide could not believe it...

Comparing both the parks on other perspectives, kanha has the barasingha, the gaur, which are not seen in bandhavgarh, both the parks support many rare and common species of birds...., hotels are a dime a dozen at both parks, though kanha would be less crowded as it is bigger but bandhavgarh also during off season because it is so inaccesible.... In april and may the number of vehicles entering bandhavgarh drops considerably....

Ideally IMO feb/march/april, if one does a 6 night trip at kanha( 3 nights kisli, 3 nights mukki) and 4 nights at bandhavgarh, it would be fantastic...

The ccafrica/taj banjar tola will open around april 2008, and I believe the taj safaris team is working hard on providing flying
safaris to all thier properties as well as create private concessions like they have in africa ( I hope they are succesful )

Actually kanha and bandhavgarh are around the same distance from jabalpur around 180-200 km( 4 hour drive ), there is a deccan airways direct flight from delhi to jabalpur, so instead of coimbatore-bombay-nagpur, it would be better to do coimbatore-delhi-jabalpur...

Frankly I went by first class train from jabalpur to umaria and it was OK, tolerable, on the narmada express there is only one bogey of first class, so the toilet was relatively clean !!!!

Sonali

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Dec 28th, 2007, 02:24 AM
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We did the train too and found it tolerable. Not wonderful, but certainly not the big deal that people make of it...
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