Kanha National Park/ Tiger Reserve was always a part of discussion whenever we discussed anything about wildlife management or national parks during our coursework at IIFM and if it is Prof. P C Kotwal’s class, no class was complete without mention of Kanha.
A few days back, got an opportunity to make a quick trio to Kanha National Park and it was really an experience. Though the forest safari was not that fruitful, we missed the tiger sighting by a few seconds (our vehicle was second and by the time we could spot the tigress, she was out of sight and we could only manage to view her pug marks) the experiences of being inside a lush green forest, watching deers grazing in open without being bothered by the intrusive safari vehicles and not so civilized visitors, were amazing.
But it was also a glaring example of inefficiency and lack of planning by MP Tourism. We started our journey from Raipur in a rented Tata Indica (a bad choice for this trip!) and the driver informed we would be covering the distance form Raipur to Kanha (225 kms approx) in about 5-6 hours. We had chosen this driver as he had been to Kanha earlier also (as claimed). The journey took almost 9 hours and the ‘road’ to this famed National park can only be called a ‘road’ if Rakhi Sawant or Paris Hilton can be called ‘an actress’. How can you talk about promoting tourism and attracting international visitors if you do not have basic things setup first?
There were no signboards to indicate where you are heading once you are inside Kanha and if luckily you find some signboards, they only indicate the destination and do not provide any information on how far that place is. We spotted a signboard for a Resort 25 kms away from the resort and without any indication of distance. There are no milestones to tell you whether you are moving in right direction or not. And the roads in side Kanha are so bad that it will take an expert driver and lots of courage to move ahead.
We had listed out a couple of resorts for our stay there, but did the grave mistake of not doing advance booking. Then it became really task to find a resort (a good one) and start for safari.
Based upon my experience I am listing out a few precautions and preparations you need to do, in order to enjoy the Kanha.
- It is not advisable to travel in small vehicles, prefer SUVs like Safari, Sumo, Bolero etc. Small cars are not suited, especially if you are traveling from Raipur to Kanha, the roads from Jabalpur to Kanha are in somewhat better position, but even then I would advise to go for big wheeled vehicles.
- Take a route map and look for a drive who has been there recently.
- Take a lot cash with you. Kanha is a very small place (you will not find any ATM in 50 kms radius) and most of the resorts, restaurants do not accepts credit/debit cards.
- Make an advance booking in the resorts if you are planning to stay there and I think you must plan to stay there at least for a night so that you can have two trips of Safari. There are two safari trips one in morning from 5.30 am to 12 noon and second from 3 pm to 6.30 pm.
- You have a number or resorts available at village Mocha, but the road to that place (via Raipur) is really pathetic. Try to bargain at the resorts and you will make a good deal. 20-30% is the normal discount you can easily ask for.
- Take a pair of good binoculars (we missed ) and a good camera, even if you do not spot the tiger, there is enough worth clicking.
- Once you are on Safari, make sure that your vehicle is the first one on the trail, or you are just behind the first vehicle, otherwise the first vehicle is bound to devoid you of any sighting.