Tadoba – The Land of Tigers

It’s been 5 years without visiting any Tiger reserves and watching my favorite wild animal from a close distance from its natural habitat. I was planning to visit either Bandhwagarh or Tadoba since an year and finally made my mind to visit Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in the month of March  2017. This tour was very special because of the number of tiger sighting we had and the memories I had here will be there forever. My previous trip to Kanha National Park (Which was 5 years back) was my first encounter with the magnificent Tiger. I will be sharing my experience, what to expect, where to stay and few pictures of Tigers and other wild animals from Tadoba Andhari National Park.

About Tadoba:

Tadoba the Land of the Tiger!! Spread over an area of approx. 625 sq.km. The Tadoba Andhari National Park, the oldest and the largest national park in Maharashtra, is a fine blend of deciduous forest and rolling hills. Often referred to as “The Jewel of Vidharba”, the Tadoba National Park lies in the district of Chandrapur in the north-eastern part of Maharashtra.

Located in the heart of a reserved forest, it is an infinite treasure trove of innumerable species of trees and plants – and wildlife that includes Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bears, Jackals, Wild Dogs, Indian Gaur, Barking Deer, Nilgai, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer and many others Of course, the greatest attraction is spotting a tiger amongst the dense woodlands and bamboo thickets.

Needless to say I had done a lot of home work and research before booking the safari. One of my photographer friends Mr. Gopinath Kollur has guided me on where to stay and gave contacts of a Safari Jeep driver. First and foremost thing you will needed to do is book the safari entry through Maharastra Departments Website http://mahaecotourism.gov.in/Site/Common/OnlineBooking1.aspx . Generally booking will be open for 60 days prior and there will be limited entries on each gate. When I booked it was the peak season and only few slots left and we were lucky enough to book our safari entry. On the spot booking on this park is limited to 2-3 Jeeps and that will be booked. So, it is always better to book your entry using the online form and then you can book your stay, jeep and other things.  

Entry Gates for Safari in Tadoba:There are six gates in the Tadoba Tiger Reserve (Also known and Core zones) that gives access to the wild world. There are also few entry gates in the buffer zones. Names of the gates at Tadoba National Park (Core Zone) are listed below:

Moharli Gate: Moharli Gate is the oldest entrance to the park, which is located approximately 180 kilometers away from Nagpur.

Kuswanda: The distance between Nagpur and Kuswanda Gate is 140 km.

Kolara Gate: This gate is located at a distance of 120 km from Nagpur.

NaveGaon Gate: The distance from Nagpur to the gate is 140 km.

Pangdi Gate: The distance between Pangdi gate and Nagpur is 250 km.

Zari Gate: Zari Gate is located at a distance of 190 km from Nagpur.

Once your booking is done make sure to book your stay depending on the forest entry gate you have booked. Else the travelling time from your stay and gate will increase and there is chance that you may not get transportation too.

We have booked total 6 safaris in Tadoba, 4 safaris in Moharli Gate 1 each in Devada and Agarzari buffer zone. We stayed in http://www.waghai.com which is around 1-3 KM’s away from the Moharli Gate. Their food and hospitality was fantastic and great people. Mr. Mangesh is the owner of this place and you can contact him at +91 9860 558 591. We recommend staying visitors to stay in this place if you are safaris is booked from Moharli Gate. They will arrange pickup and drop facilities from Nagpur (Nearest airport) or Chandrapur (Nearest Railway Station). We had booked our Safari and Driver in advance. Our Safari driver Mr.Prashant Garate (Contact number+91 9579 067 929) was one of the best and he is such an expert in identifying the calls and driving through its direction. If you get good driver and guide then sighting a tiger safari will not be a challenging task.

Best Time to Visit Tadoba: Tropical climate makes winter season the best time to visit Tadoba National Park. However, the best season to sight tigers would be the hotter months (April to May). Post monsoon is also a good time to visit Tadoba Wildlife Sanctuary when the jungle becomes lush green and is filled with flowers.

How to reach Tadoba:

Nearest Airport is at Nagpur which is around 14-150 KM’s away. (2:30 hours drive)

Nearest Raiway Station is in Chandrapur which is around 40Km’s away. (45 Minutes to 60 Minutes Drive)

We had travelled from Mumbai to Chandrapur in Sevagram Express which is around 18 hours journey.

Photo Album of Safari’s of Day1:

We found the King of Tadoba known as Matkasur T54 on the first safari. You can see first few glimpses of walking out of forest and resting in a pond. After few minutes of wait he is coming out of the water body and getting inside the jungle.

 

Photo Album of Safari’s of Day2:

In the morning safari we got the tiger T54 also known as Matkasur with filled stomach. We also witnessed a pack of Wild Dogs chasing the Sambar. But luckily for the Sambars their herd was bigger to chase off the Wild Dogs. In the afternoon Safari we got beautiful and gorgeous Maya. She had an opportunity to kill a Spotted Deer, but another Spotted Deer spotted the tiger and gave the warning call and the prey had realized the existence of a tiger and ran away. This was the most memorable moments of our safaris and I tried to capture small clippings of this event.

 

Photo Album of Safari’s of Day3:

In the morning Safari, we got to see Tigress Sonam in the Telia lake. But, she was not interested to come out, we had to leave because it was around 10:10 and by 10:30 we are supposed to walk out of the forest gate. In the evening Safari we did in Devada Buffer zone. Our driver heard a single call and assumed that tiger is around some where later in the evening we got to see Tigress Madhuri coming out of woods.

 

Wildlife in Black and White:

 

Some Video Clippings

 

 

Here goes the list of Animals and Birds we spotted in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve:

Tiger
Sambar Deer
Spotted Deer
NilGai
Indian Gaur
Wild Boar
Langur
Wild Dog
Crocodile

Serpent Eagle
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Indian Roller
Red Naped Ibis
Black Headed Ibis
Cattle Egret
Adjutant Stork
Open  Billed Stork
Black Stork
Jungle Owlet
Spotted Dove
Laughing Dove
Collared Dove
Green Imperial Pigeon
Yellow Footed Green Pigeon
Black Hooded Oriole Female
Black Tit
Racket Tailed Drongo
Drongo
Hawk Cuckoo
Rose Ringed Parakeets
Purple Swamp Hen
White Breasted Water Hen
Peacock
PeaHen
Common Kingfisher
White Throated Kingfisher
Rosy Starling
Jungle Babler
Bee Eater
Greater Coucal
Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Red Vented Bulbul
White Eyed Buzzard

 

Few Tips for the visitors:

– Both Summer and winter will be extreme, so wear clothes and carry necessary items depending on the season. When we visited in the end of March, afternoon safari was sunny and hot and morning safari was cold.

– Cover your face and camera gears to protect from dust. It’s a dusty track out there in Tadoba.

– ID proof is required while booking the safari and also while entering they will verify it. So, carry original ID proof.

– If visiting in summer season cover your head with a cap or a hat and drink lots and lots of water to avoid dehydration.

– If visiting in summer season make sure to book your stay which has Air Conditioner.

– During winter carry thermal wear.

– Make sure to book your safari in advance .

– Lenses above 250 mm will be chargeable per ride. So make sure to pay the fee while booking your safari online. If caught without this, there will be legal actions.

– BSNL, Idea and Reliance 2G network were available during our visit. Jio, Vodafone  and Airtel was on and off and no guarantee that you will get their network all the time.

– Enjoy the nature to the core by reducing usage of plastics and do not litter anything in the village or in the forest area.

– Avoid talking loudly while you are on safari drive.

 

Experts says Tadoba never disappoints, in our case it was true and a dream come true kind of experience we had here.

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