To be honest, I am not really into wildlife tourism. But earlier this year, post my outing at the Pench Tiger Reserve, on WelcomHeritage’s invitation, my perception about Wildlife, national parks and safaris has changed and how! I now think everyone should from time -to-time take a quick break from their busy hectic schedules for a tete-a-tete with the wild things of nature.
And what could be a better time.The monsoons have ceded. Well almost! Soon enough, it will be time again to wear that sunscreen and get out! Then why not head for a quick interaction with vast greenscapes and some adventure time out with the nature’s wild? In fact, post the monsoons, the jungles turn into a grand magical paradise. And if you also think like I do, then it’s time to plan trip to an amazing jungle, then here’s a quick planning guide just for you:
Introduction to Pench Tiger Reserve:
I have earlier written about wildlife and national parks about India here. While there are varied wild reserves across the country, I feel Pench Tiger Reserve is one of the least explored and therefore definitely should make it to your travel bucketlist, in case you like to explore the off beaten locations and places.
Situated in in the lower southern reaches of the Satpuda hills is named after Pench river, meandering through the park from north to south. It is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra, in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara. Interestingly, Pench Tiger Reserve is popular as the original setting in Rudyard Kipling’s most famous book- The Jungle Book. The area has a rich topography and is home to a varied mosiac of vegetation ranging from moist, sheltered valleys to open, dry deciduous forest. Over 1200 species of plants have been recorded from the area including several rare and endangered plants – It is dominated by fairly open canopy, mixed forests with considerable shrub cover and open grassy patches. The high habitat heterogeneity favours high population of Chital and Sambar.
Pench is especially famous for large herds of Gaur (Indian Bison), Cheetal, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Dog and Wild Pig. The key predator is the Tiger followed by Leopard, Wild Dog and Wolf. Other animals include Sloth Bear, Chousingha, Chinkara, Barking Deer, Jackal, Fox, Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Porcupine etc.
Having said that, Pench National Park is also equally home to innumerable beautiful birds. According to the internet, there are over 285 species of resident and migratory birds and is amongst the finest areas for bird watching n India.
By Air/Road/Railway- The closest city from Pench is Nagpur, 88KMs away. Jabalpur is also another Airport only 200 kms. by road from Pench, Jabalpur well connected with Delhi and Mumbai, another many city of India. The best and recommended route is to get down at Nagpur and then drive 2-3 hours to reach Pench.
Number of days for the trip –
Plan a getaway of 2 days and at least 2 safaris as you might not see everything in just 1. You can do 2 safaris in 1 day. The length of each safari tour is between 3 and 5 hours.
Timings of the Safari-
Wildlife safari timing in Pench national park is just like most parks in the country. Timings for entry into, and exit from, the park vary according to the season. Since you would be venturing in this reserve post the monsoons, here are the timings that you’ll have to stick to:
Morning Safari: 0730 hrs
Evening Safari: 1500 hrs
Morning Safari: 1030 hrs
Evening Safari: 1730 hrs
Etiquette and things to consider during the Safari
One thing to consider while taking a Wildlife trip is that jungles are home turf of the wild. Therefore it is your responsibility to respect their them, without disturbing nature’s ecosystem, its beauty, the inter dependability, the beauty of these resident animals and nature’s wild beauty. Therefore, it is important not to litter and maintain silence. It is also crucial to dress appropriately with comfortable clothing and footwear. Most naturalists at the reserve, would recommend light green /brown clothes that help blend in with the natural surroundings for a good camouflage.
And last but not the least, it goes without saying- carry your camera (without flash, so as to not disturb the animals), a waterbottle (A safari takes 3-5 hours of roaming with no access to drinking water), Sunscreen and an ID proof (needs to be submitted at the entrance gate at the park).
There are multiple options (according to your budget) to choose from in and around the reserve park. For our stay, we spent our weekend at WelcomHeritage’s Jungle Home Pench. Situated in the middle of natural wild beauty, the WelcomHeritage’s Jungle Home Pench is a luxurious and beautiful property. An eco-sensitive property, one can see lots of beautiful flora, butterflies, and natural beauty around. Each room in the Jungle home is tastefully decorated, keeping in mind the core essence of a being a nature lodge. With a beautiful reception area, the property has around 26 eloquent and air-conditioned rooms overlooking a emerald green swimming pool. Oh, and did I mention the mini wildlife library that they host! 🙂