Top Two National Park in Madhya Pradesh-Kanha and Pench
February 11, 2019
by Siddhi Sharma
Did you know it was Kanha and Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh that sparked the creation of ‘The Jungle Book’ by Rudyard Kipling? The wilderness of Madhya Pradesh, with its exotic flora and faunas, and it’s very own “Sher Khan” can leave you spellbound too.
The magnificence of the ‘Tiger State’ that houses around 20% of India’s tiger population and 10% of the world’s total tiger population is the sight to behold. From deer to wild boar to exotic birds, Madhya Pradesh offers an enriching wildlife experience that will leave you wanting for more.
There are 9 National Parks, 6 Tiger Reserves and 25 Wildlife Sanctuaries here to explore the raw spirit of the Indian jungle. I have traveled extensively but for the love of my childhood and ‘The Jungle Book, here are my favorites:
Kanha National Park
Kanha Tiger Reserve is the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh. It is divided into two sanctuaries: Hallon and Banjar, which ranges from 250 and 300 sq. km respectively. The wildlife park covers an area of 940 sq. km and is home to a variety of animals like Elephant, Swamp Deer, Sambhars, Gaur, fox, hyena, porcupine, and the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger. It is also home to 300 species of birds. You can easily spot birds like black ibis, blossom-headed parakeets, drongos, grey hornbill, Indian roller, woodpecker, Indian peafowl, and warblers, among many more. It is also popular for its reptiles such as Indian pythons, krait, Indian cobras, rat snakes, vipers, keelbacks, and grass snakes. Many species of turtles and amphibians are also found near water bodies.
Royal Bengal Tiger, leopards, Indian wild dog, sloth bear, and Barasingha
Safaris are inarguably the best way to explore the wilds. Kanha National Park allows open jeep safari and elephant safari. Safari zone includes Kanha zone, Kisli zone, Sarhi zone, and Mukki zone.
How to get there?
Nearest airport: Jabalpur (160km)
Nearest railway station: Jabalpur and Gondia (145 km)
Road Connectivity: 5-hour drive from Raipur and 6-hours’ drive from Nagpur
Where to Stay?
You can enjoy a luxurious stay or an adventurous one based on your budget and preference. However, I will personally recommend going for a resort or at least a medium-budget cottage if you are traveling with your family. It will have all the required facilities and is safer and comfortable. Here are some of the best places to stay:
- Baghira Log Huts Kisli
- Celebration Van Vilas
- Kipling Camp
- Mowgli Resort
- Tuli Tiger Resort
- Wild Chalet Resort
When to Visit?
The best time to visit is 15th October to 30th June. However, my personal recommendation will be October or March as it has a pleasant climate. April and May are ideal for Tiger spotting. Please note from July to Mid-October that is during monsoon season the park remains closed.
Activities to do in and around the Kanha National Park
- Go on a trek to discover a wide variety of trees like Sal, Bamboo, and Mahua and exotic birds like Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Eurasian Blackbird, and Jungle Babbler.
- Experience the vibrant culture of the rural areas in the National Park’s buffer zone.
- Camp under the stars or enjoy a bonfire with your loved ones.
- Visit Kanha Museum
Pench National Park
Set in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh, Pench National Park is named after the river Pench that flows through the forest. Wooded hills, gushing streams, rocky trails, and over 300 species of flora and fauna set this place apart. You’ll also discover flocks of resident and migratory birds here.
The Iconic and Royal Bengal Tiger spotting and Rafting.
The Pench National Park offers the best Safari experience with activities like Jeep safari, elephant safaris, and night safaris. However, please note night safaris are available only in Wolf Sanctuary Zone. It also offers boating, bonfires, wildlife spotting, and bird watching
How to get there?
Nearest airport: Sonegaon airport in Nagpur (93 km)
Nearest railway station: Seoni Railway Station (30 km)
Road Connectivity: Seoni is well connected to all places in MP. If you are traveling from Nagpur, the nearest stop will be Suktara or Khwasa.
Where to Stay?
There are numerous luxury resorts, cottages, and lodges available for every taste and budget. Here are my top picks:
- Pench Jungle Camp
- Baghvan wildlife resort
- Mehua Vann resort
- Pench Tree Lodge
When to Visit?
It is open all seasons except July, August, and September. October to April is considered as the peak season as the climate is perfect for the visit.
Activities to do in and around the Pench National Park
- Visit the potter’s village at Pachdhar
- Go boating near Pench Reservoir
- Enjoy camping in the jungle of Pench
- Explore the local art and cuisine at Tathastu Art Centre
Important Travel Tips
- Book your tickets for park 120 days in advance, as it has limited seats.
- Carry ID cards for safaris. Make sure it is the same as the one used for booking.
- Carry binoculars, camera, mosquito repellent cream, and a reference book to identify wild animals and birds.
- Pack comfortable walking shoes and check your soles for scorpions, pebbles, and other insects.
- Carry good quality woolens as it gets cold in the jungle during winters.
- Use sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from sun and dust damage.
- Carry a headgear to protect your hairs from dust.
- Elephant Safari and Night safari are subject to availability. Hence advance bookings may not be available.
- If you are traveling with kids, make sure you follow the minimum age requirement and other rules mentioned.
Just plan and pack well to enjoy the most unforgettable experience. Stay safe and keep multiple copies of your essential travel documents. Keep important contacts like your guide, hotel reception, medical facility, and police information handy. Also, opt for security personnel (easily available at a reasonable cost) to ensure your safety and more insights into the jungle. Verify all the charges from the official website to avoid getting cheated.
A little caution goes a long way. Once you are sorted, enjoy the bliss. And as they say, “Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” So, you never know in the quest of adventure, into the wild, you might find much more than what you seek. And, I will always be waiting to hear your side of the story. There some experiences, words fail to define and this is certainly one of them. Share your thoughts in the comments below.