Wildlife safari is always full of excitement,thrill as well as disappointment because you can never predict what all one is going to witness. With all the excitement in our heart and mind, we started for our destination -Tadoba , for our summer trip. Yes , summer season is the time it is said for good Tiger spotting.
Tadoba Andheri tiger reserve is situated in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. It is approximately 150 km from Nagpur . Tadoba Andhari Reserve is the largest national park in Maharashtra. Total area of the reserve is 625.4 square kilometers (241.5 sq mi). This includes Tadoba National Park, created in 1955 with an area of 116.55 square kilometers (45.00 sq mi) and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary created in 1986 with an area of 508.85 square kilometers (196.47 sq mi). There are 88 tigers here according to the last census.Also the name of the forest is after a tribal boy named Tado who died after fighting with a tiger.
8th June 2017: We started from Pune by Pune-Nagpur express scheduled at 5:40pm. Around 9:45 am next day, we reached Nagpur ,we hired a car from station till Moharli. It took almost 3.5 hrs to reach Moharli. We had booked cottages in FDCM (Forest Development Corporation, Maharashtra) .
9th June 2017:we didn’t pre-book any safari for today and on inquiring we came to know all the safari for core jungle are fully sold out. So we booked a safari for buffer jungle,which is basically a lesser dense jungle at the outside of core jungle. Our safari started at 3:30 pm and we didn’t have any luck for tiger spotting .But all the disappointment were compensated by bison, sambar deer, spotted deer, barking deer and different types of colorful birds. Also our Safari was made more interesting by our Safari guide who told us different stories and experience he witnessed in Tadoba.
10th June 2017, Morning : With lot of hopes, we woke up for early morning safari which starts at 5:30 am from Moharli gate in Gypsy. There you have to show the permit paper as well as the identity card of all the riders. Prices of Safari is given at the end of the article. At 6 am, the check-post gate opens and all the Gypsy with their guides scatter themselves in different routes for spotting of tiger.
Someone rightly said that wildlife Safari is a matter of patience as well as luck. Just by 5 minutes we missed the tigress Sonam, who crossed the road and went inside the dense bamboo bush. Seeing the satisfactory smile of those tourists who witnessed her, I really felt jealous and cursed my bad luck.
Nevertheless we moved forward and finally had our share of luck. Spotted two moving objects sitting behind a bush. Our guide said it’s the territory of the tigress Tara(T-7). Hence concluded those two moving objects were cubs of Tara. All we could see at that point were two black ears and sometimes the black tail.
After a wait of 1 hour, the cubs finally decided to stand up and move. That was the moment. My first experience of tiger. Those faces,those stripes in their body and that powerful look. As my mom rightly described it as her lifetime achievement to witness the king of jungle..Many Gypsy came at that spot to see those two male cubs. As the spot got crowded, our guide decided to move to some other route for other tiger spotting.
We reversed our jeep…..OMG…what was that. Was I dreaming ??? Or watching National geographic channel in a giant screen?? Tigress Tara(T -7) just few meters in front of us. What a massive body she had.Walking with all the grace,least bothered about all the creatures(humans) around her,coming towards our jeep and calling her children .That was a scene.On my right tigress Tara walking and calling her cubs.On my left,those two cubs coming out of the bush to their mother.And everything happening in just few 100 meters away. Aniket and dad was busy clicking pictures and video. Aniket was very excited as this is his first jungle trip and he got his dream shot, after all my hubby is photography enthusiastic.
After clicking some pictures we moved to some other route. Spending almost an hour by watching Spotted deer, sambar ,wild cock, peacock and birds, we spotted another tigress. Maya(T-12) was the name of the tigress. This time she was sitting at a very distant place. Proper vision was possible only through binoculars we carried. We decided to wait for a while to see if the tigress does any movement or not. After waiting half an hour finally our beloved Maya decided to give us a better vision. It came walking towards us and crossed the road..just 30 meters ahead of our Jeep. Everyone was so silent as the tigress passed by…all I could hear is the shutter sound around us.
10th June 2017, Evening: At 3pm our Safari started but it was a disaster. Rain God played the spoiler. We could see nothing except some wild boars, sambars, deers, peacocks and very rarely seen wild dogs.
11th June 2017-Taking back the memories of Tadoba we headed towards Nagpur. Took Azad hind express at 3:50 pm for Pune with a hope to come again, this time in winter.
Tickets for safari
Entrance fee : ₹1000
Car charge : ₹2000
Guide charge : ₹300
Lens above 250mm zoom : ₹200
Morning: 6 am to 10 am
Evening: 3 pm to 7 pm
We booked Online,ac cottage in FDCM
Dormitory facility are also there if you plan to go in large group or have budget constraints.
MTDC is also present in Tadoba.
You can also get homestay at cheaper price at around ₹1100 per day.
Car (swift dzire) costed us ₹ 2800 for one way journey from Nagpur to Moharli and vice versa.we hired the car from Nagpur station.Kept the contact of the driver and called him while returning to pick us from Moharli .Cars are available from Moharli to Nagpur as well but they are expensive and charge ₹3500-4000
Before you plan to visit Tadoba, book your Safari tickets first. You will get numerous private hotels and home stay there. But Safari is limited.
FDCM has certain quota for safari.In case online safari you are unable to book, talk to the manager of FDCM (provided you stay their) beforehand, if they can arrange or not. We did that way.
Buffer safari is good for bird watching but tiger spotting is uncertain here.
Don’t forget to take sun protections and raincoats depending on the season you are visiting. Gypsy here are open. We faced both the scorching heat and rain. Got totally drenched in rain during a safari as we didn’t take raincoats with us.
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