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Satpura Tiger Reserve

© Forsyth Lodge - Varun Devraj

© Aly Rashid

© Charles Stagg

Sloth bear © Aly Rashid

Sloth bear cubs on Mums back © Aly Rashid

Sloth Bear © Mayank Mishra - Sanctuary Photo Library

Kayaking on Tewa © Forsyth Lodge

Satpura Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

After you get on a ferry on the Tawa dam, your gateway to this park, you will encounter rugged hills and steep mountains with sandstone peaks, narrow water filled gorges, deep ravines, dense sal and teak forests, as well as quiet coves and bays on which crocodiles bask and spotted deer drink. This is real explorers’ country. With real vision, Satpura is set up differently to most other Tiger Reserves in India, allowing you a far more immersive nature experience within its bounds including nature walks, trekking (and even overnight camping), canoeing and elephant back safaris that do more than ferry you back and forth on a ‘tiger show’. In fact it’s deliberately not set up to show you tigers, even though its population is doing better than ever. This is for the keen nature lover who appreciates quality guiding and off the beaten track access to all of nature - big and small. Satpura is part of India’s Central Highlands, getting its name from the Satpura hill ...ranges and it’s within striking distance of the plateau on which the old English Raj town of Pachmarhi, the summer capital of the Central Provinces till 1947 is built. These cool Highlands were being rapidly deforested of precious teak in the 1860s, and support was raised to declare the area a ‘reserve’, indeed the first in the world to be formally declared a Protected Area. Along with the adjoining Bori and Pachmarhi Sanctuaries, the Satpura Tiger Reserve is a 1,427 square kilometre area of unique Central Indian Highland ecosystem. Satpura has only one tourism zone where only twelve vehicles are allowed in the morning and evening.
Choose to go on a nice nature walk one day, game drive further the next morning and canoeing in bays and coves that afternoon, take a bike trail or ride an elephant for a couple of hours the next. Few places offer that kind of choice. Some lodges offer trekking and overnight camping dates that can get you to parts of the park inaccessible to vehicles too. Stop and enjoy the Denwa gorge scenery and if you get a chance, and if you can get permission, ask to see the ancient cave painting in these hills.
Wildlife spotting here is excellent with a real chance of seeing wild dog packs and sloth bear, both uncommon in other parks. There are healthy leopard populations with prey species like sambar, chital, nilgai, and even some pale- coloured gaur. Also look out for foxes, porcupines, flying squirrels at dusk and the colourful Indian Giant squirrel in the trees. Mugger crocodiles bask in the coves of the Tawa Lake. There is a large number of bird species to be found here including water birds like pairs of nesting skimmers and good river and little terns, as well as hornbills and lots of peacocks.
Take a bike and explore the countryside, or enjoy a night safari through the buffer zone, where you could see many of the park’s nocturnal creatures including jungle cats, common palm civet, Indian hare, small Indian mongoose and leopards. Arrange these with your lodge. Birding by the lake’s shore with a naturalist is fun too, or if you have a full day drive to the old hill town and army cantonment of Pachmarhi for a glimpse of the colonial past. If time is short visit local villages either on bike or by vehicle
Located within the Satpura Tiger Reserve, Pachmarhi is a popular hill station that receives over 65,000 visitors a year putting a lot of stress on the natural resources here. Existing villages that still live within the boundaries of the reserve also make use of the forest resources including wood extraction, grazing and jungle produce. Illegal fishing in the Tawa reservoir is also a major concern. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at admin@toftindia.org .

Destination Information

How To Book

Safaris can be booked through your lodge or tour operators.

Park Timings

The Park is open for visitors for c.4.5 hours after sunrise and c.2.5 hours in the afternoon before sunset. Please check park opening times with the gate as they vary slightly between summer and winter months depending on sunrise and sunset. Madhai and Churna entry points are closed from 16th June to 30th September. Pachmarhi is open all year. Wednesday afternoon the park is closed.

Getting Around the Park

You can hire a jeep or go on a walking trail inside the core area, but in both cases you need to be accompanied by a registered forest guide. Elephant safaris and kayaking or canoeing are also good options to explore the buffer areas, with night safaris available too.

Entry Fees

Satpura has several activities with several components to the fees, so it is best to find out the current pricing from your tour operator or lodge depending on the activities you want to try.
By Air: Bhopal (135 km). Transport can be hired to drive to the park. By Rail / Road: The nearest town is Hoshangabad and the nearest railhead is Piparia (55 km). Transport can be hired to drive to the park.
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Wildlife Travel Guide

Eco-friendly properties in the area

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge is a cleverly designed conservation and wildlife lodge run by a family who are seasoned Bhopali hoteliers. This beautiful lodge is located in pristine forest close to Satpura National Park.

Cheetal Resort

Situated along the large backwaters of the Denwa river that forms the boundary of the Satpura Tiger Reserve, Cheetal Resort offers panoramic views of the hill ranges’ sprawling meadows, dense forests, rich wildlife and historic heritage

Other Destinations To Combine

Bori Wildlife Sanctuary

Madhya Pradesh

Established by Captain James Forsyth on his exploration of the Central Indian Highlands, The

Pench Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

Since 1992 Pench has been included under the umbrella of Project Tiger as the 19th Project

Kanha Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

Kanha is considered by some as the India’s greatest park, an excellent habitat for many mammals

Travel Here with the Best Travel Companies & Agents

Plan you Indian holiday, Nepal adventure, or Bhutan visit using one of a large number of the world’s best known travel companies, or Indian based agents to put your very own itinerary together. Every travel company here has committed to drive their own sustainable travel practices, seek PUG certified accommodation providers wherever possible and support our conservation efforts.

Now you can enjoy a flawless and carefree travel itinerary to many of Indian subcontinent’s greatest wilderness destinations and combine this with its rich cultural and historic heritage.


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