let the fun begin!
Arrive Nagpur, Introduction to Pench National Park
Your group will assemble at Nagpur's Airport, before transferring through forested rural India through Teak forests, farm lands and market towns. On arrival check into the Lodge and settle down in your Tree houses or luxurious Cottages. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. You can go on a nature walk with lodge naturalist or just relax by the pool. At dinner time we will gather with our naturalists and learn a bit about the park and its wildlife before enjoying a great dinner.
Gae=me Drives in Pench National Park
Today we will enjoy two forays into the forests of Pench National Park in search of tigers, leopards and sloth bears. Our first will be before dawn breaks and includes a picnic breakfast inside the park. We return to the lodge fro lunch and getting our bikes fitted for the rides to come. Then mid-afternoon we will head back into the park for wildlife viewing until just after sunset.
Cycle to the Pench River, visit weekly tribal market
After some early morning coffee & tea we set off for a ride to Pench River and back. This is our first day to start enjoying the endless beauty of ther central India countryside. The ride is though national park forest, farm land and villages. Our local riding guide / naturalist will take you to the best spots while sharing the stories from local village and cultural life. You cycle through the forest spotting langurs (monkeys), peacocks and passing by small streams. You'll enjoy picnic breakfast and lunch before reaching a weekly tribal market. Back at the lodge we will help pick organic vegetables from the lodge's garden then learn to cook some traditional dishes over open fires for dinner uner the stars.
Exclusive cycling through Rukhad Wildlife Sanctuary
After an early breakfast we drive (30 minutes) to Rukhad Wildlife Sanctuary in the very forests of Seoni mentioned about in the Jungle book. We will have special permission to explore the sanctuary this morning and its surrounding forest in the afternoon by cycles. We will be accompanied by local park guide. Rukhad is the start point of the Pench / Kanha Forest Corridor that is critical for survival of Tigers. We will cycle slowly and learn about tracks and signs of animals. We be out of the sanctuary in time for lunch at Sakata Forest Rest House, a 1904 colonial bungalow. We will have access to western style toilets here. We finish our ride at Kurai and drive back 45 minutes to the lodge.
Cycling wildlife corridor, visiting ethnic tribal villages
After breakfast transfer a bit towards the famous Kanha National Park (2 hours), then back on the bikes to explore another part of the corridor forest. The route drops in and out agricultural valley, flanked by forested hills and inhabited mainly by Gond tribal hamlets. Absolutely no tourism exists here, and local customs and practices remain prevalent. The Gonds, as a community still live a close-to-nature life including agriculture and pastoral activity. The religion of all Gond peoples centres in the cult of clan and village deities, together with ancestor worship. We visit a Gond home during our ride and interact with the family and drink Chai (cup of tea). Our goal for the night is a luxurious tented camp.
Meeting Baiga village elders and cycling tall trees
Today's ride takes us closer to Kanha National Park, through towering Sal trees and past Baiga Tribal villages. We will stop to learn more about the Gond and Baiga at the Tribal Museum in Baherakhar village. The Baiga have been the forest-dwelling aboriginals from central India who claim to be harbingers of the human race and history in India. They always believed that they were the chosen few who were hand-crafted by the God Himself and hence were the kings and rulers of the whole earth. We also visit some Baiga hamlets and meet the tribal elders before reaching our lodge at Kanha National Park.
Rural cycling, tribal markets
Relaxed ride today, we explore the beautiful forests of Kisli dominated by tall sal trees. We will be cycling on forest tracks today used by local villages. We follow the Banjar River up stream visit tribal hamlets, markets. We will cycle partly off road following a walking trail used by villagers. Picnic lunch in the forest. Return to lodge by late afternoon. On Wednesday afternoons a very large tribal market takes place in the Kathai village in this route. We will stop for some local tea and samosa today and also visit a local high school where local students have been given cycles to encourage them to attend school. Learn about Kanha NP from our naturalists at dinner.
day:8 & 9
Game drives in Kanha National Park
You will enjoy two full days of game drives in Kanha National Park, setting off before sunrise each day and then returning for afternoon game viewing until sunset.
Kanha is a large park and is divided into four main zones. – Kanha, Kisli, Sarhi and Mukki. During our stay we will try and visit all these zones. The Kanha Tiger Reserve is prime tigerland... the epitome of Kipling country with sal forests of sunlight and shadows, a myriad streams, rolling meadows and all the wildlife imaginable. Home to one of the world's most endangered deer - the Hardground Barasingha - this amazing National Park helped pioneer the advent of scientific conservation management in India. It is justifiably held out as one of Project Tiger's star success stories. Virtually everyone who visits Kanha comes away moved by its diversity.
Game drive, then homeward bound
As our adventure in Madhya Pradesh winds down, we will enjoy one last game drive through Pench National Park, one last chance to bag the Big 3 of India, tiger, leopard, sloth bear. We bid each other a fond farewell at Nagpur Airport in the afternoon.