Kanha Tiger Reserve

Kanha is considered by some as the India’s greatest park, an excellent habitat for many mammals and bird species. Kanha National Park was created in 1955. Today it stretches over an area of 940 km² in the two districts Mandla and Balaghat. Together with a surrounding buffer zone of 1009 km² and the neighboring 110 km² Phen Sanctuary it forms the Kanha Tiger Reserve.

The lowland forest is a mixture of sal (shorea robusta) and other mixed forest trees, interspersed with meadows. The highland forests are tropical moist dry deciduous type and of a completely different nature with bamboo on slopes (dendrocalamus strictus). A very good looking Indian ghost tree (kullu) can also be seen in the dense.

Kanha Tiger Reserve abounds in meadows or maidans which are basically open grasslands that have sprung up in fields of abandoned baiga villages, removed to make way for the animals a number of years ago.

There is a large tiger population in the park and one can also find leopards, the sloth bear and Indian wild dog. Very rarely seen are the Indian wolf which live in the far east of the park.

The most abundant prey species for the large predators is the spotted deer or chital, then Sambar (Cervus Unicolor) which constitutes an important prey base of the tiger. Other commonly observed mammals include the common grey langur, wild boar, gaur (wild cow) sambar  and barasingha or swamp deer (this is the hard ground swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli branderi), found only in Kanha, barely 1200 survive in the wild). The chousingha and the nilgai (blue bull), though rare, can also be found in Kanha.

Other larger mammal species of the park are rhesus macaque, golden jackal, bengal fox, smooth-coated otter, honey badger, small indian civet, indian gray mongoose, ruddy mongoose, striped hyena, jungle cat, leopard cat, indian spotted chevrotain, indian pangolin, indian porcupine and indian hare The Indian jungle fowl, which is the ancestor of domestic hens, is common.

There are also 175 varieties of birds in Kanha National Park including Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) Paddy Bird or Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii), Shikra (Accipiter badius),White-eyed Buzzard (Butastur teesa).

Its impressive size, the size of its tourism zone and its inaccessibility, being some distance from the nearest main cities means less pressure from tourism than some other parks. Besides tiger, the impressive gaur, or ‘wild cattle’, barasingha (swamp deer), sloth bear and leopard are seen, in a beautiful and diverse landscape.

Park timing

Winter: Morning: 6.45 am to 12.15 pm | Evening: 2.30 pm to 5 pm
Summer: Morning: 6.30 am to 12 pm | Evening: 3 pm to 6.15 pm

Present prices for safaris

Kanha zone: INR 3,730 (US$ 62) per gypsy
Kisli, Mukki and Sarhi zone: INR 3,230 (US$ 53) per gypsy

How to book jeep safaris:

http://www.mponline.gov.in/forest

Any restrictions and rules:

Non Commercial: No fee
Commercial: Photography and videography - INR 30,000 (US$ 496) per person per day.

Latest information on tourism zones:

Kanha zone: Morning - 23 vehicles | Evening- 14 vehicles
Kisli zone: Morning - 9 vehicles | Evening- 6 vehicles
Mukki zone: 18 vehicles
Sarhi zone: 12 vehicles

Any new activities allowed:

Herbal trail in Chhapri, near Khatia is open to visitors.

Excellent bird trails in the Madhya Pradesh tourism resorts; Baghira huts near Kisli gate and Kanha Safari lodge at Mukki gate.

Night safari en route Aaramtola at Mukki gate is good for sighting jungle cat, small Indian civet, black-naped hare, jackals, wild boars.

IN THE FIELD UPDATE

April 2016

Kanha update

Over the past year, sightings have been very good, especially in the Kisli and Mukki ranges. Munna, the dominant male in Mukki continues to charm guests, confidently strutting around regardless of the number of vehicles around. The tiger population at last count was reportedly 105. Although wild dog sightings have been negligible in the past two seasons, they seem to have picked up in the last season. Multiple sightings have been reported in the Kisli zone and records show wild dogs mating as well. Other sightings included leopards, sloth bear, jackal, varied species of birds, jungle cats and wild boars.

New cycling safari trails in the buffer zone of the Kanha National Park for the upcoming season and these are fun activities for guests. Again the online system is letting visitors down badly in many instances, with park showing no permits yet many available on the gate each morning, and it’s a problem that TOFTigers is working to find solutions.

Another issue raised by lodges is the timings to visit Kanha from the Mukki gate. Previously, morning safaris lasted till 12 noon. However, this has now been changed to 11 am, which means guests rarely have the time to squeeze in a visit to the museum within the park.

Lodge News

Courtyard House (Quality PUG Eco Rating)

Kanha Update

New for 2016. The house is akin to a comfortable homestay, rather than a lodge experience. All rooms at Courtyard House now have electronic safes. The property now also employs two full-time resident naturalists (Mr. Uday Patel and Mr. Rohit Soni). Courtyard House is now putting greater emphasis on forest birding tours at Kanha. As per its new programme, Courtyard House takes all its guests on at least one safari in the buffer area and offers an interaction with local tribals.

Contact Mr. Neelesh Agrawal at courtyardhousekanha@hotmail.com

Kanha Earth Lodge (Outstanding PUG Eco Rating)

Kanha Update

Earth Lodge, 20 minutes’ drive from the park entrance is all the better for its distance from the main gate, able to exist in its own unique habitat away from the hustle and bustle of Khatia. World Travel Awards recognised Kanha Earth Lodge as India’s Leading Wildlife Resort for 2015. Taking its commitment towards responsible travel forward, the lodge has completely stopped usage of bottled water. Guests are gifted with a good quality stainless steel bottle on arrival, giving them the opportunity to fill safe drinking water from refuelling stations for excursions and onward journeys. Enjoy cycling out to nearby villages and farmlands because this is where you will find the real rural India.

Contact Mr. Manav Khanduja at enquiry@pugdundeesafaris.com

Kipling Camp (Outstanding PUG Eco Rating)

Kanha Update

New in 2016: Kipling Camp is now focusing on a holistic approach for their guests. While there is excellent wildlife viewing around the camp, including an array of birds and animals passing through the property and coming to drink at the waterhole, guests are also taken to nearby villages, markets and the local school, where the Camp’s volunteers continue to help teach the children. The resident elephant Tara continues to enchant all her fans, and day tours to explore forts and temples and other interesting sights are proving very popular. Wildlife sightings — including of wild tigers — have been superb in the early part of 2016. Kipling Camp is helping to support a tiger conservation awareness initiative in villages around the fringes of the tiger reserve that is run by the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

Contact Mr Rajeev Hubert at info@kiplingcamp.com

Singinawa Jungle Lodge (Outstanding PUG Eco Rating)

Kanha Update

Under new ownership Singinawa Lodge has undergone a real makeover, with tribal life and art a real feature. It still has remarkable wild animal movement inside this large 110 acres premises with resident leopard and herds of deer, all captured on the 8-10 camera traps installed across the property. Over the past year, Singinawa Conservation Trust carried out various activities related to community development guests participated in a tree-plantation exercise during their stay and warm woollen clothes were distributed to the guides of the Kanha National Park. Sweaters were distributed to local school children at the end of a series of lectures and educational talks about wildlife and conservation.

New in 2016: The Kanha Museum of Life and Art is now open at Singinawa Jungle Lodge. It was recently inaugurated and showcases the works of the Gonds, Baiga and Bhil tribes of the region, and is a particular passion of the new owners, Tulika Kedia. Surya Ramchandran and Menaka Bapuji, naturalists from Satpura National Park, have joined the team of Singinawa naturalists from 1 March 2016. David Raju, a TOFTigers award winning naturalist will join the Singinawa team. The aim will be introducing a junior wildlife program for children aged 5-15.

Contact Ms Tulika Kedia at Info@singinawajunglelodge.com

Soulacia resort (Good PUG Eco-rating)

Kanha Update

Located on the Kisli side, this is a resort spread on 12 acres of land and located just half a kilometre before the Khatia gate entrance. Engaging staff and resident naturalist ensure a comfortable and memorable wild life experience.

In a constant endeavour to ensure sustainability, the resort promotes bicycle rides for village tours , educates and provides learning opportunities to underprivileged school children, conduct charity programme and medical camps, as well as planting more than 200 local plants like Khamer, Saja, Sagaun around the property for habitat regeneration as well as installed sensor based lights to conserve energy.

Contact Mr. Parag at parag@soulacia.com or info@soulacia.com

7 Tigers Resort (Good PUG Eco Rating)

Kanha Update

New in 2016: A tribal village visit and a wildlife movie show entitled ‘Truth About the Tigers’ are additions that guests can now enjoy at 7 Tigers Resort. The resort’s vegetable garden has increased in area from 1 to 2.5 acres, which means more fresh produce for guests. A new naturalist, Mr. Kishore Gorelal, has joined the resort. A local who has significant experience in Kanha National Park, Mr. Gorelal has worked with many wildlife lodges as a naturalist. 7 Tigers Resort is also planning a project in association with the panchayat (local governance body) to raise the level of the borders of farming land to collect rain water for better rice cultivation. The resort continues to take local people to the forest every six months to get them interested in the wildlife.

Contact Mr. Ritesh Anand at reservations.7tigersresort@gmail.com

Banjaar Tola (Quality PUG rating)

Kanha Update

Banjaar Tola of Tajsafaris recommend the new Bamni Trail a pristine walk of 8 kms where we have regularly seen tiger foot prints, through different habitats (Pure Sal, Mixed Forest, Riparian) mostly by the side of the Banjaar river, bordering the park. It’s excellent for birding and identifying tracks with one of their expert naturalists. A good trail for all age groups too.

Kanha Update

Combine this as part of the their Mowgli Trails – to highlight the release of the Jungle Book film. It comprises four pillars as part of a short or long trail package, and includes the Jungle experience, the stay in the lodge experience, a culinary experience and a local community experience, so you can meet the real Mowgli’s, who live besides their own Sher Khan’s every day.

For full details and rates contact reservations@tajhotels.com

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