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Kanha Tiger Reserve


Kanha Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh

Stopping your vehicle beside one of the large golden grass meadows with the sunbeams angled by the tall sal forest behind you; a morning mist and the unseen crack of horns from a pair of barasingha stags clashing and you might well be reminded of Mowgli’s forests made famous by Rudyard Kipling. These lowland forests are a mixture of great sal hardwood trees, once heavily felled for railways sleepers and other mixed species of forest. It is interspersed with grassy meadows - the habitat of spotted deer, the rare hard ground barasingha and ambush ground for the tiger. The higher forests are more tropical with bamboo growing in clusters within which gaur, wild pig, sloth bear and sambar deer make their homes. With all this prey, tigers are numerous too (over 100 at last count) and habituated to jeeps, ensuring memorable sightings. The Reserve lies in the east of the Central Indian highlands of the ancient Satpura mountain range. Here, flat-topped hills support grassy meadow...s and the river Sulkum flows through the valley. The Banjaar and Halon valleys used to be hunting grounds of the British who would hunt the barasingha deer but their rapid decline in numbers forced the authorities to gazette Kanha as a Sanctuary in 1933. In 1955, a 250 square kilometre patch of land was declared the Kanha National Park. The Mukki Valley was added to the Protected Area in 1970 and then, thanks to Project Tiger, a vital part of the upper Halon Valley was also included. Today it stretches over an area of 940 square kilometres with a surrounding buffer zone of 1,134 square kilometres. Along with the neighbouring Phen Sanctuary, it forms the Kanha Tiger Reserve. There are four tourist zones here, each worth a visit - Kanha, Kisli, Mukki and Sarh
Inside the park only safaris on registered vehicles are allowed. Vehicles are restricted to certain zones but well managed movements and strict jeep numbers ensure good wildlife experiences. Though walking is not allowed the joy is in stopping your vehicle and listening to the endless bird sounds and alarm calls of the jungle. Picturesque picnic and rest stops are allocated within the park.
Well known individual tigers are sought out commonly including many tigresses with cubs. However, leopards, sloth bears and exciting packs of hungry wild dogs or dholes also abound in these forests. Prey species like the chital and sambar are found grazing in herds. The barasingha or swamp deer (hard ground swamp deer) is found only in Kanha and barely 1,200 of them survive in the wild. Look out for rhesus macaque, golden jackal, Bengal fox, smooth- coated otter, honey badger, small Indian civet, Indian grey mongoose, spotted chevrotain and pangolin. There are also 175 varieties of birds in Kanha including the purple heron, shikra and white-eyed buzzard. The Indian ghost tree (kullu) is hard to miss with its ghostly white trunks. The sap from these trees is used in the production of chewing gum!
Visit nearby villages to see their farming practices and their weekly markets, which are fascinating. Ask your lodge about birding, cycling or walking trails nearby and along the Banjaar River. There are nature trails in the buffer zone near the Khatia and Mukki Gates. Cycles are available for hire from the Forest Department counters near the gates. Night safaris en route to Aaramtola at Mukki Gate can also be arranged within buffer areas, good for sighting nocturnal creatures. Visit the herbal trail in Chhapri near Khatia and learn about the medicinal plants grown there.
Kanha faces similar pressures to most protected areas, including developmental and infrastructure projects, grazing, illegal poaching, woodcutting, forest product extraction and bush meat off-take. It also has both historic and present issues with compensation and support for many of the Baiga and Gond village communities relocated over the years to make way for viable wilderness habitation. However recent research highlights the economic value of the park at R 1,650 crores (£176 million per year) ensuring support for this well managed park continues. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at .

Destination Information

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. The Reserve is closed from 16th June – 30th September every year and is also closed for afternoon safaris every Wednesdays and on the festivals of Holi and Diwali.

Getting Around the Park

Jeeps called ‘gypsies’ that are registered with the authorities and carry 4 to 6 people are available and the only vehicles allowed inside. Book through your operator, lodge or at the gate. Cost from R 2,800 per game drive.

Entry Fees

For Jeep: R 1,750 per jeep for all nationals R 250 per seat for all nationals Cost of Park Guide: R 600 for each safari
By Air: Jabalpur to Kisli (160 km), Jabalpur to Mukki (200 km), Nagpur (270 km). Transport can be hired to drive to the park. By Road: Kanha is a drive from Jabalpur and a 5½  drive from Nagpur. Mandla is 100 km from Mukki and 60 km from Kisli gate.
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Wildlife Travel Guide

Eco-friendly properties in the area

Kanha Jungle Camp

With a strong focus on conservation, sustainability and local community, Kanha Jungle Camp sits in an enviable position near the Mukki Gate of Kanha National Park.

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