Safari

cubsitetBandhavgarh

Jun-gle n. (Orig. Indian) A densely covered land with tropical vegetation, usually inhabited by wild animals. jungle adj

Man-tra n. (Orig. Indian) Chant or recitation.

Bandhavgarh. A veritable jewel in the wilderness. True Kipling country where the drama of The Jungle Book unfolds itself amongst leaves of gold. Set in enchanting forest, Bandhavgarh is a land of striking beauty. From the ancient hills and meadows to the dense valley floor, from the bright shafts of sunlight in the forest glade to the gentle murmer of the river stream, one is intoxicated by the splendour of God’s creation. Bandhavgarh has 32 hills. From the dense jungle below, the greatest of these hills rises some 800 metres to form a towering cliff which is crowned by the Bandhavgarh Fort, believed to be some 2000 years old. Numerous caves and shrines bearing ancient Sanskrit inscriptions and also drawings by prehistoric man are to be found around the fort and at various sites within the park.

Safari

Bandhavgarh National Park is open to visitors from either 1st October or 16th October depending on the rains to 30th June.

In the interim months heavy monsoons make forest roads impassable, and although many people may tell you that the Park is closed in the summer and rainy season as it is the mating period of the tigers, please do not believe this. Cats have no mating period, and may come into heat at any time, depending on the age of their off spring, availability of a suitable mate and their own state of well being.

Dates on which the Park opens may be changed by the Forest department, depending on the monsoon. New rules, safari rates and any restrictions for each season and on-line advance bookings are posted on the Forest department website in mid August each year.  After this, on-line tickets can be booked up to 4 months in advance of the date of safari.

Tickets for long weekends, holiday periods and festival dates sell out almost as soon as they are open for purchase, so we urge all guests who would like us to book safaris for them, to please send us the information and payment for safaris well in advance.

In order to book safaris for guests we require the full names, ages, nationality and ID document number ( such as passport number for foreign guests and driving license, PAN card or voter card number for Indian nationals.). Please note that originals of the same document must be carried for checking at the point of entry into the National Park at each safari.

There are a variety of safari options to suit all tastes and pockets at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Core zone jeep safari

safari2The tourism areas of the Core zone of the National Park have been divided into three zones : Tala, Magdi and Khitauli.

Each zone further has designated routes which are assigned on a random rote system at the start of the safari.

Tala :  Has been demarcated as a premier zone and safari tickets in this zone are charged as double of the ticket price for Magdi and Khitauli zones. This zone encompasses the iconic landscape of Bandhavgarh, with the Bandhavgarh Fort ruins watching over the meadows and rocky outcrops.   The legendary Sita Mandap and Sheshaiya sites are also situated in the Tala zone, though you do have to be on the assigned route to visit them. Traditionally the meadows of Chakradhara have been known as the place where tiger sightings can be taken for granted, but other areas of the Tala zone also provide wonderful opportunities for experiencing the magic of the jungle. In our opinion, this zone warrants at least one safari just for the spectacular landscape, and even more depending upon tiger activity.

Magdi : The entry of the Magdi zone gate is situated in one of the most scenic spots on the Parks boundary. A lake, surrounded by dense forest on one side and meadows bounded by woods, make this zone a haven for all wildlife. The lowland areas are interspersed with dense swathes of bamboo, sal trees and open grassland. The hill areas around the Mukunda Camp offer mesmerizing panoramas, whilst the serene lake at Dabar Dol soothes the soul.  Regular sightings of tigers as well as the Gaur or Indian Bison, throughout the seasons of 2013 and 2014, have made safaris in this zone a “must do” on every visitors list. Sloth bear, Nilgai, and Wild Dog or Dhole may be seen.

Khitauli : A dense bamboo  and  Sal forest, with an abundance of tigers. Other animals found in this zone include the Nilgai,  rare Chinkara or Indian gazelle, Sloth Bear, Wild Dog, Leopard and Indian Wolf. A distinctive terrain characterized by seasonal nalas or stream beds,  this is the zone that Junglemantra grounds share a boundary with, so when you hear alarm calls whilst sitting around the fire at night- you’ll know that the big cats in the Khitauli zone are on the move. Sites of tiger activity include Niga Nala, Chatai Par and Dum Dumma. There is plentiful prey and hence good movement of predators in this zone.  Full day elephant safaris are available in Magdi and Khitauli zones.

As per current Park rules, it is possible to do two safaris per day in Bandhavgarh National Park, with Wednesdays being a half day when only the morning safari is allowed.

The start and end times of the safari change as per sun rise and sun set timings.

Safaris are done in customized Maruti Gypsy vehicles with modified front facing seats for maximum comfort and visibility for animal viewing. The most popular way of seeing the Park is via Jeep safari. We recommend at least 5 game drives to optimize your chances of a good tiger sighting.

The cost of the safari ticket covers up to 6 adult guests (children above the age of 5 are counted as adults for this purpose by the forest department.) in one vehicle, when booking at the same time. Any passengers added onto a ticket at a later point, attract 100% of the ticket fee for EACH additional passenger. So, if you plan you travel in a group, please gather the information of each passenger at the start of the booking itself or it will be very expensive to add anyone later.

Full rules for add on tickets can be viewed on the Forest departments website. These are subject to change and alteration.

http://www.mponline.gov.in/Quick%20Links/Forest/Rule.pdf

In addition, there is the cost of vehicle and driver hire and the cost of a forest guide, mandated by the department to accompany all vehicles into the Park.

Therefore, there would be 8 people in a vehicle of 6 guests. We personally recommend no more than 4 adult and 2 children as guests in a vehicle for the sake of comfortable wildlife viewing and photography. In the case of photographers, 4 is the maximum in a vehicle so each photographer can have a clear and unrestricted shooting angle.

For guests prefer to book safaris directly, please note:

Safari tickets become available 120 days prior to the date of safari, at midnight. You will need to keep an eye on the website, since tickets can get sold out within hours of being released- especially during holiday periods when demand is very high.

Availability and booking of safaris can be done via:

www.mponline.gov.in

To make the booking you will have to provide

  1. Full names of all passengers
  2. Ages of all passengers
  3. A valid ID proof number – For foreigners – Passport numbers and for Indians- PAN cards, Driving license, Voter ID etc.  The original of the ID proof used during booking must be carried for verification or you will not be allowed to enter the National Park.
  4. A credit or debit card for payment.

Only the entry ticket is booked online, the safari vehicle and guide are allocated on the day before the safari and payment has to be made on the spot to the Forest department for those. If you have booked your tickets directly and carry printouts of the same with you, we can help you with arranging the vehicle and guide.

There is also a facility to purchase a limited number of tickets in current booking by queuing up a few hours before the start of the Safari.

Buffer zone safaris

Since March 2015, the forest department has allowed tourism activities in some designated areas of the buffer zone forest. These areas of exceptional natural beauty, with waterfalls, rivers and lush landscapes are a pleasure to spend time in, and since the animals have no physical boundaries between core and buffer zone forests there is always a chance of encountering some of the myriad wildlife of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, including the big cats.

Buffer zone safaris extend throughout the day from 7am to 6pm. There are specific spaces which have been cleared to create safe picnic spots and walking areas. We provide guests with a comprehensive packed luncheon as well as snacks to ward off hunger through the day, when they venture onto a buffer zone safari.  Spending Wednesday afternoons, when the core zones are closed for safari, in the buffer is a delightful way to kick back and relax.

As with all picnics and packed meals, we request that all waste and packaging is brought back so we may dispose of it in a safe and responsible manner.

Like the jeep safari, 6 adult guests per vehicle are allowed per ticket, booked at one time.

At present Buffer zone safaris cannot be booked in advance or on-line and are purchased on the day.

Full day safaris

The forest department allows full day- all zones passes into the forest for professional photographers. These allow access from sunrise to sunset, without a need to leave the Park even in the afternoon break.  A maximum of 3 photographers are allowed in each jeep and each photographer is allowed 2 assistants up to a maximum capacity of a total of 6 pax in the jeep.

The full day safaris are booked from the headquarters’ of the forest department and only with the case wise permission of the Forest director. Bookings for the full day safaris should be done 120-90 days in advance.

Please note that elephant availability is only confirmed only 24hrs before the actual safari, but paperwork and payments have to be done in advance. Till date, we have never had a last minute cancellation on the elephants but with a government department- anything can happen. In such an instance, the elephant ride payment is refunded and the all zones jeep pass can be used.

Of the total cost a percentage, may be refunded by the forest department, once a CD of all images taken while on the full day and elephant safaris, is submitted, reviewed and cleared by the DFO. The refund is at the discretion of the department and the process may take up to 6 months before the refund is available.

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