West-central India wildlife holiday
Description of West-central India wildlife holiday
Nestled in West-central India, the lure of the Tiger at Tadoba and the fascinating undulating landscape at Pench is what drew us here many years ago in the pursuit of our love of photographing the stunning diversity of wildlife and game in what has come to be among the list of India’s best managed wildlife reserves on the sub-continent.
The etymology of Tadoba comes from the amalgamation of the tribal God Taru and the Andhari river that serves as the reserve’s water vein, filling it’s fresh water lakes during the brutal summer months.
Situated in the western state of Maharashtra, Tadoba’s wildlife fringes the local Gond tribal settlements around the region of Chandrapur. Traditional farmers and basket weavers, these tribes are reticent, simple rural folk who continue dwelling in traditional village homes and continue to live a lifestyle a bit detached from the present.
Over the years we’ve cultivated a support system with these communities where we showcase to travellers what they do and how they carry on their process of living. We attempt to give back for our footprint in the region by supporting these communities by sourcing their produce and enlightening travellers about their culture and heritage.
It’s important to not just understand the rich bio-diversity of the park but also be made aware of the social conservation that inherently exists amongst these villages and their efforts in establishing a stable co-existence, especially within such close proximity, between man and wildlife in this region.
Pench on the other hand is situated in slightly hillier terrain over the border of Maharashtra and into the state of Madhya Pradesh in Central India.
Serving as an inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book as home to Mowgli, it’s easy to see why Sir David Attenborough described Pench as the most appropriate location for documenting the behavior of Tigers in the wild.
Spread over an area of 750 square kilometres, Pench’s undulating terrain makes for a fascinating mix of plant species, rock caves and a fantastic diversity in woodland bird species.
But again, Pench is not just about the Tiger. In fact the excitement in pursuing unique species such as the four-horned Antelopes, wild dog packs, the elusive Leopards and the rather sly Indian Jackals.
With some of the best managed and regulated game drives within national Parks in India, the experience in Pench is of anticipation, intrigue and the satisfaction of being amidst nature in it’s best preserved state.
|Day 1||Transition to Tadoba: Using Mumbai as the international gateway, we’ll have you take a short hop domestic flight to the city of Nagpur from where you’ll travel overland to the village of Pet and your eco lodge by the river. The rest of this day is designed to be at leisure to settle in and shake off the long travel.|
|Days 2,3,4||Safari experiences in Zari, Agarzarri & Devada: These days will revolve around the discovery of the park through it’s various gates and access points providing you with varying perspectives of the park and it’s wildlife.|
|Day 5||The Gond settlement of Pet and the wetland Birds: Beginning the day gently pedaling away to the village of Pet, on the fringes of Tadoba’s wildlife reserve, we’ll spend a good part of the day with these reticent tribal folk, observing their farming techniques, spending time with the women who weave baskets from forest produce and engage in conversation with them about how they supplement their sustenance with forest produce around them. Over the course of the late afternoon, you’ll head out for a walk with a Naturalist to hopefully get up close with the unique wetland birds, both resident and migratory that make their way to these parts.|
|Day 6||Transition to Pench National Park: Leaving the Gonds and tigers of Tadoba, we’ll head north to the undulating mountains of Pench National Park.|
|Days 7,8,9||Safaris into Karmajhari: These days will be spent with forays on various game drive routes through Pench to soak up the varying landscape, lakes, rivers and the abundance of wildlife and woodland bird species within.|
|Days 10,11||Giving back locally and some leisurely strolls through the countryside: Not far from the fringes of the wildlife reserves of Pench lie the small settlements around Karmajhari. We support the local school in the region and fund the school’s needs to ensure that no child goes without an education. We encourage our travellers to bring resources for these children as we spend a day in these villages. We can organise a visit to the local school, please note that this is not a volunteering opportunity but an accompanied short visit to see the local school that we are supporting. Gifts of class room stationery are welcome - we can advise on what is most needed if this is something you would like to do. We’ll leave another day at leisure to take leisurely strolls through the surrounding countryside and the villages that abut the reserve of Pench.|
|Day 12||Return to Nagpur and a night in Mumbai: Heading south to Nagpur, you’ll return to Mumbai to spend the night in preparation for your flight back home.|
1 Reviews of West-central India wildlife holiday
Reviewed on 03 May 2022 by Jon-Rene Suffern
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
I’d book all day safaris as I did
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
8/10. Wildlife was top notch. Safaris were excellent. Only problem with
flights. India wouldn’t not let me board my flight with a small drone as a carryon.
PlanetResponsible Wildlife safaris
In both the reserves of Tadoba and Pench, we as operators have control over the vehicles we can operate within the park. Hence we have ensured that we only operate small, compact, petrol only 4x4 jeeps that are completely silent, lightweight and hence can coast through the forest tracks on no engine power but pure momentum, most of the time whilst on the safari trails.
We ensure that there are not more than four people per vehicle and as there are only limited numbers of trips possible into the park, our footprint as a result is very small.
The tribal Guards we employ and work with are expert trackers, watchers and generally have highly attuned senses of smell and sound. As a result they can spot and track animals without causing a sort of mad dash through the park in pursuit of game and it’s spotting. This ensures that our safaris don’t intrude on animal movement and in the absence of this stress, we end up with animal encounters that end up being truly memorable as they don’t fear our presence or find us intrusive.
Sustainable accommodation and tree houses
The accommodations we use are designed to have a very low footprint possible. From cottages with roofs made by tribal communities using sustainable and renewable elephant grasses.
While on the other hand, the tree houses we use are all made from locally sourced renewable timbers from the local villages.
At the properties we use, the lay of the land is designed so that rainwater returns to the river and lake that is adjacent with all the natural flora retained with an additional 350 species of fruiting and flowering trees planted to ensure sustained diversity and species pollination.
Single use Plastic-free living
We’ve completely done away with single-use plastics on this holiday. All water is reverse osmosis purified and is continuously available throughout the properties, whilst on safari and whilst visiting the countryside. All other forms of single use plastics are also banned from all the properties and in the safari parks.
PeopleA hundred percent local employment
We ensure that we employ only locals from the surrounding villages on the grounds of the properties. All grounds keepers are local women from the surrounding villages who then get a sustained source of income and stable jobs as a result.
All the staff who assist travellers, be it at the reception, the restaurant or the rooms all come from the neighbouring villages.
Tribal forest guides and Naturalists
We employ only Tribal forest guards and Naturalist guides from the neighbouring tribal villages that reside just adjacent to the forest reserves of both Tadoba and Pench.
Village tours and local school support
With our support of the local villages through hands on culinary sessions at village homes possible in the local village and additionally our active support of the local school, we stand committed to the welfare of the villages we support, both with our active assistance and also financial support to help supplement their agricultural incomes.
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