A quick weekend getaway is what we wanted, to get lost in the wilderness and witness the big cat in its natural habitat. Armed with our DSLR and binoculars we set out; our hopes were up since our driver had told us that just two days back, a tiger was taking a midnight stroll on the road leading up to the Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
We were looking forward to spot the Collarwali and her newly born cubs or the majestic BMW! Unfortunately, the regal creature remained elusive on the trip. This was despite the visit being during the summer, so the foliage was less abundant and sightings are supposedly better. Also, the guide on our safaris was the so called ‘Tiger Magnet’- Omi, the naturalist at Tuli Resort where we were staying. He is a very senior guide and well-versed with the locations in the forest that the big cat frequents, but in vain 😦
This is one thing I’ve learned about wild life safaris- if you focus too much on spotting the tiger, it ruins the experience. Safaris are all about luck- you can spot a tiger in just one safari and sometimes even after 6-8 safaris you don’t spot one. So you need to look at the bigger picture and enjoy the entire experience. Which is what we did- we were completely swept away with the beauty of the forest with the Palash trees in full bloom- a blazing orange known as the flame of the forest (traditionally used for making Holi colours). On the multiple safaris we did, we encountered many species of the animal kingdom.
So hop on board this virtual wild-life safari and let me know about your experience!
En route Pench, the Palash trees give a warm welcome!
Safari jeeps lined up to get in
And, the quest for the tiger begins…
The spooky ghost (whitekulu) trees of Pench
A spotted deer nonchalantly grazing away
The fearless fawn
Meeting the leopard’s gaze as he rests majestically amidst the foliage! This sighting was thanks to the alarm calls of langurs.
Caught em unaware- Sambar deer
But they were unfazed as we clicked away
The protective langur holds onto its baby
The mesmerizing sunrise
The vast green pastures in the middle of the forest. This is where we pulled over for breakfast, and there’s nothing like a little picnic in nature’s lap.
The Nilgai- the biggest Asian antelope poses for us!
Waiting earnestly for the tiger to show up. During the summer, sightings are best around water bodies, where the big cat turns up to quench his/her thirst. We left the spot after waiting for almost 30 minutes. When we were nearing the exit gate, our guide got a call that two cubs have come by the lake, but it was time for the park to shut and too late for us to go back. Sigh!
The sunset leaves us spell bound, dispelling any regret of not having spotted the tiger
Which has been your most exciting wild life safari experience?