There is no better way to venture in to the heart of the forest than by open-top jeep. Our naturalists have spent an enormous amount of time out there and will show you as much as possible during your stay with us, while always keeping their senses alert to the signs of a nearby predator...
morning and afternoon safaris
- Safaris within Kanha Tiger Reserve take place twice daily, except on Wednesday afternoons.
- Morning drives are approximately 5 hours, commencing at sunrise and returning to camp by 11.15am. A picnic breakfast is taken on-board to enjoy out in the forest.
- Afternoon safaris are up to 3 hours, commencing at 2.45pm (later in summer months), returning to camp at sundown.
- We recommend a minimum of 5-6 jeep safaris to give yourself a fair chance of sighting tiger while taking in the full diversity that Kanha has to offer.
- We take care of organising your safaris. Tickets are available on a limited quota, 120 days in advance. We therefore recommend booking your trip as early as possible.
FULL DAY 'PHOTOGRAPHER'S' SAFARI
A full day 'photographer's' permit allows easier access to different areas of the reserve and can be organised at a premium rate. Special permission is granted for up to 3 people per jeep. Safaris commence 30 minutes before sunrise up till 30 minutes after sundown. A full day permit can be combined with a three-hour elephant safari. Please contact us for full day rates and more details.
Leave the jeep behind and slowly amble through Kanha's forest interior on the back of an elephant, guided by it's life-long partner, the 'mahout'. Traverse the open meadows, dry river beds and into thickets where jeeps cannot reach for an utterly tranquil experience...
ONE HOUR ELEPHANT SAFARI
- A one hour elephant safari inside Kanha Tiger Reserve takes place during the morning jeep safari.
- Spaces are limited and subject to availability of elephants. Requests are granted one day in advance only.
- This activity is intended purely for the pleasure of experiencing the forest by elephant back and does not increase your chance of sighting tiger.
THREE HOUR 'PHOTOGRAPHER'S' ELEPHANT SAFARI
A three hour elephant safari may be requested by guests holding a full day safari permit. Elephants are hired on an exclusive basis, allowing guests to trek more deeply through the forest interiors, increasing your chance of wildlife encounters.
Riding elephants has recently become a subject of debate and - in the case of National Parks - the argument is not straightforward: Elephants have become a vital tool in tiger and forest conservation, due to their ability to navigate the dense forest, quickly accessing areas otherwise inpenetrable, and in a way that is less intrusive to the wildlife. The elephants in Kanha carry tourists for up to 3 hours a day, during the morning hours only. In the afternoon they are taken to bathe in the river. At night they forage in the forest.
A walk through the forest down to the beautiful Banjaar river, listening to bird call and the silence is an experience not to be missed...
From Shergarh we gradually enter the tall sal forest, following leaf-littered trails that have been used for ever. We shortly reach the river bank, a natural boundary between the core and buffer forest. We meander further downstream observing an array of striking butterflies and dragonflies, interesting tree structures that support ant nests, beehives and enormous spider-webs stretched between their branches. The trail crosses several wooden bridges and as you penetrate deeper, you may follow large pugmarks or come across fresh leopard scat. Wild dog and even tiger has been seen here, on foot.
An alternative route is to ramble up the rocky outcrops that form a hill behind our camp. On this walk we criss-cross village paddy-fields before entering a mixed habitat of ghost trees, wild jasmine and flowering grasses. At the top, enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the forest and villages scattered within.
The rural countryside that surrounds us is absolutely idyllic, and the best way to soak up the gentle pace of life is to ride out on one of our cycles and explore!
Country lanes weave between each village where you find clusters of charming houses moulded out of earth and painted sky-blue. The surrounding rice fields are verdant in October, having grown throughout the monsoon season and almost ready to harvest. The harvesting process: cutting, winnowing, threshing and gathering is intense and fascinating to witness. Around the same time, fields of brilliant yellow mustard will appear. By Spring (Feb-March) the rice season is complete and the forest blooms. The Mahua flower is collected and brewed into a strong country liquor devoured throughout the community. Marriage celebrations commence.
We have a hand-drawn map to help guide you through some of the loveliest villages, allowing you to go at your own pace and distance. You can stop for chai at one of the stalls, or we can pack you a thermos in the panniers if you'd prefer to halt under the shade of a tree, and be lulled by the sound of cow bells and gentle chatter.
In the village...
Kanha's people are predominantly Gond and Baiga tribes - the original forest dwellers of central India, peaceful and animistic in their beliefs. They reside in blue-washed settlements which are beautifully integrated with the surrounding forest.
One of our team can take you on a humbling walk through their village where, depending on the time of day and time of year, you can witness the various stages of the labour intensive rice harvest, a mud house under construction, or drop in to the village school. You’ll admire the practical but aesthetic design of their homes, hand-shaped to complement their agrarian lifestyle, with wood stocks and hay piles, the grinding room and grain store for a year’s supply of rice, wheat and mustard, The welcoming gate-house accommodates buffalo, pigs, goats and cows and opens in to the courtyard – a shaded social space, sometimes host to a wedding or baby naming ceremony.
At the market...
Bustling weekly markets are fascinating to experience as they have barely changed for centuries. Soak up the atmosphere at the chai stall, or even go for your smoothest ever shave in the most unique salon - under the shade of a tree....
The best markets around us operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. Each are within 30-45 minute's drive away.
Goods for sale serve entirely local needs: fish and vegetables, agricultural tools, cooking utensils and water pots, but there are some items that might interest you too: silver tribal jewellery, glass bangles, a colourful sari, fresh spices or a hunk of jaggery. Some like to pick up a brass water pot for an indoor plant back home. Either way, it's a local's market and you'll experience life around here as it truly is.