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Guest kuduuu

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Guest kuduuu

Last year I was in India from the end of March to the middle of April, very hot and REALLY REALLY good sightings. You can check out last years report here:

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/8978-recently-visited-kaziranga-and-kanha/

 

This year I traveled from the end of Feb through the middle of March. I knew that the weather was going to be a bit colder and Tiger sightings were not as good in Kanha since the government had been regulating the drives in Mukki and got rid of the elephant shows completely. But I sucked it up, left it all to the universe and promised myself that I was going to have a wonderful time even if I saw nothing. Last year I saw a total of 5 Tigers in Kanha, 3 on the elephant show and 2 tiger on the truck during a total of 7 drives (this included 1 leopard sighting plus a wonderful sloth bear experience). During this most recent trip I was lucky enough to have a total of 3 tiger sightings, one of which was a magical stalking/hunting moment, one was a completely private huge male tiger all to ourselves and one which included a moment of pandemonium and hysteria (a total of 27 trucks I counted). These 3 tiger sightings were mixed in a total of 9 drives. The drives were absolutely breathtaking, filled with all sorts of other natural gifts including a 2 minute spectacled cobra mating session. But no leopard or sloth bear sightings this year. Most of our drives were at Kanha Gate, and the rest were spread out between Mukki and Kisli. Personally, Mukki is where it's at. If you hear an alarm call, bam, you are in the middle of the action, even if it feels like a distance away, a quick zip drive and you are there. Now, to say that we didn't feel or see the frustration from other guests/safari enthusiasts is an understatement. It was palpable. Guests at our lodge checked out early due to their lack of patience and understanding that these are wild animals and that this was not Africa. Other people on trucks would yell at their guides while others would brag about their sightings just to get a rise out of passing guests. We decided to keep our lucky stories to ourselves while wishing luck to everyone that we came across. I personally have had amazing luck on all of my safaris, including in Kaziranga which I will go into a bit later, but Kanha did disappoint a little in my eyes. There were two days where all we saw were Spotted Deer and Soft Ground Barasinga, gorgeous animals, dont get me wrong, but because of the weather being so chilly, the removal of the elephant, the restrictions of park permits and then just sheer luck playing into the game I really dont know if I would return to Kanha for more than three nights. It just wasn't worth the money (for an extra 2 nights) and to be honest, the stress, people behaved like animals.

 

Indian Wildlife tourism is so different compared to Africa. We witnessed people on elephant back playing music on their cell phones in Kaziranga. During one of our tiger sightings (27 car pile up), cars were backing into each other, flash bulbs were strobing and people were screaming on the top of their lungs arguing and whooping in excitement. You would have thought Madonna had walked out of the bamboo. Thats the only way I can describe it. It felt like the paparazzi. Living here in NYC I have seen my share of the paparazzi at work and I had NEVER witnessed anything like this. On top of all of this you then have the talking and the littering that happens through out the day. India still has a lot of work to do in terms of wildlife tourism, and Kaziranga is an amazing triumph and example of this, but when it comes to Tiger viewing, something needs to be done.

 

During our Kanha stay we lodged at Shergarh tented camp. UH-mazing food and sooooo comfortable. Everyone was great. If you do ever make it out to Kanha I suggest staying here. Their approach is all about conservation, down to the non-chlorine natural pool that they are building. In fact, one of the greatest gifts I think anyone could have ever given me was from the lodge owner, Katie, when she asked us if we would like to see our dinner be killed. As an American, we never think of our food being alive clucking around, it was a life changing experience and I honestly think everyone should witness this (Don't worry, no pictures) at least once in their lives.

 

But all in all, I think next year I will 100% return to Kanha, but for not as many days as I did this time and during a much warmer time of the year. Next year, I will absolutely include Tadoba in my trip after seeing Kittys trip report, wow! I dont know, maybe after hearing all of your feedback I will be whipped back into my place, but I am excited to hear your thoughts about Kanha.

 

 

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Coming: Videos of the Kanha experience plus Kaziranga!

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twaffle

Those mating cobras, how amazing!! Is one biting the other? Bit rough. The tiger ears looking at the antelope is wonderful. Not sure how I feel about the behaviour as far as whether I'd ever be bothered going and putting up with all that. Enjoying the trip report.

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Rwenzori

Is it likely to spot tigers in Kaziranga on a daily basis?

 

I don't think that there are many other places in Asia where tigers are not difficult to spot.

Situation is critical especially in South East Asia; in the past it probably used to harbour tens of thousands of striped cats, but with 40 years of poaching and agricoltural expansion these days there are more wolves in Italy(a developed country with a density of 201.8 people/km2) than tigers in Lao PDR,Cambodia,Burma,Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia put all together.

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Zim Girl

We went to Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench in April 2009. We stayed 3 nts at Shergarh which was easily our favourite lodge of the trip. We had at least 3 tiger sightings, one from a tiger show, and a very good leopard sighting. We found Kanha a lot less busy than Bandhavgarh and didn't witness any bad behaviour. Also, we had a very good Nepalese guide from Shergarh who tended to stay away from the obvious action and went off to find our own sightings instead.

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kittykat23uk

I cannot speak from personal experience, I believe that there are tigers in Kaziranga, but you shouldn't plan to go there specifically to see tiger. Same with Corbett. For good chance of tiger try for Bandhavgarh, Kanha or Tadoba.

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Guest kuduuu

I had never seen Tiger in Kaziranga. Although Kaziranga has the highest tiger population density in the world, the elephant grass is just too tall. tIgers have been spotted, but you would need lots of luck. But kaziranga has so many wonderful things that many tiger parks in India do not have, like asiatic rhinos, large herds of wild asiatic elephant, river otter, gibbon and a very large and present population of greater hornbill.

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Really enjoying the report. Great pictures and description of events on the ground. The cobra mating pictures are simply amazing. Your recounting of behavior of other guests and obvious complete lack of control by any authority in Kahna is disappointing and clearly completely different from the African safari experience. Look forward to pictures of Kaziranga.

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Game Warden

@ Thanks for the report - now, surely there are more photos lurking on your hard drive? Matt

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kittykat23uk

Lovely shot of that Jackal!

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Guest kuduuu

Thanks everyone!

 

I have lots of photos, these were the best of Kanha, going through videos that I will uploading this week, promise. Then I will be uploading the Kaziranga portion probably this weekend.

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kittykat23uk

Looking forward to that! :)

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Guest kuduuu

We had been zooming by concentrating on tIger when all of a sudden my friend had seen something shiny glistening on a termite mound. We reversed and in front of us we had two Spectacled Cobras mating, regulating their body temperature on a termite mound. Super cool!

 

 

 

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Atravelynn

Come for the tigers, stay for the cobra mating! Do you recall if your guide had ever seen that before?

 

Thanks for you comments on timing of the year and # of drives. The visitor behavior you describe is awful. I have not seen that even when 27-ish vehicles gathered. Do you think there might be more people visiting in the cooler time of year than later when it gets hotter? More people contribute to worse behavior.

 

Tunes during the tiger show? Really? I'll make a note to request a music-free elephant, should I be fortunate enough to get to Kaziranga.

 

You mention Mukki is where it is at. It seems you may have been to Kanha before and if so, did you always find Mukki to be preferable? For tigers, I had so much better luck in Kisli and not just from elephant shows. Could just be chance and luck.

 

Looking forward to the rest of the report, especially Kaziranga.

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kittykat23uk

November to feb seems to be the peak time, especially for overseas visitors. There is a perception that any later and it becomes uncomfortably hot. But if you can bear it, the I would think April to may or even June would be very rewarding for tigers. However, It seems the birding drops off the later you go.

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Zim Girl

That is exactly why we went in the middle of April. Bandhavgarh was still very busy but we had very good tiger sightings. Kanha was a lot less busy in terms of tourists but again good tiger sightings. Pench was very quiet, we hardly met another jeep on any of our drives. It was very hot but not unbearably so, and was definitely worth putting up with for the quality of tiger sightings.

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ovenbird

@ - FYI, the cobra video wouldn't play for me...says it is private. Very much enjoying this report and the pics. In Bandhavgarh we had a similar tiger sighting experience...pandemonium with two dozen jitneys is not conducive to having a magical moment!

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ovenbird

Thanks @...very cool video. I could imagine the male calling "Marco" at the end, waiting to hear "Polo" but to no avail!

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Guest kuduuu

@Atravelynn: My guide had NEVER seen cobras mating before. It was quite the treat. About your comment on people visiting in cooler temperatures, yes, more local people visit during the cooler time of the year VS the really hot time of the year. I am making it a point to visit during late april just to avoid the crowds and to get better tiger sightings. I have been to Kanha before, here is my trip report from last year where I had fabulous sightings:

 

http://safaritalk.ne...anga-and-kanha/

 

I have always found Mukki better, visually and sightings wise. Mukki is so easily accessible around every corner compared to Kisli and Kanha Gate. Kisli and Kanha have large pieces of land between paths that just don't allow you to get to where the action is. Mukki is much more meadowy which made it easier to spot animals like tiger, sloth bear, leopard and jungle cat. But again, this just might have something to do with my luck ;)

 

@Ovenbird: Although that crazy moment with the pile up was not ideal, we had two other moments which were magical, one being that young tigress stalking the sambar. Video going up later tonight!

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Guest kuduuu

It was our first day at Kanha. We had an entire morning filled with Racket-Tail Drongos, Guar and Spotted Deer and after an amazing lunch at Shergarh Tented Camp and a short nap we headed back out and stumbled on to this magical scene of a young tigress stalking a sambar. It was my friends very first experience on safari and his very first experience seeing a wild tiger. I was super excited for him! Their were only two other cars with us and everyone was very well behaved, it was truly magic in my eyes. Please excuse the footage, it was my friends first time using a video camera so his hand was a wee bit shaky. Enjoy!

 

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Game Warden

Indeed it did :)

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Atravelynn

Thanks for the answers. It is always fun when both you and your guide are seeing something new together, like mating cobras. Interesting that Mukki has proven better for you consistently.

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Guest kuduuu

Being pretty much the youngest foreigners on safari has great advantages. Most drivers were around our age and were just as curious about our lives as we were about theirs, and there was no holding back. We asked each other all sorts of questions from politics, religion, tradition to even work place drama. After a few days of this rapport we had really created a strong bond with our driver and guides, so much so that they would do things for us that they would not normally do for every other tourist. So after two days in search of tiger and driving up and down after every path following every single alarm call (which is soooo exciting), we had stopped at a junction where the road was closed. Our guide was certain that a tiger was roaming around that area due to the aggressive monkey calls that we were all hearing, so, he decided to carry on and enter this closed off road anyways.

 

"TIGER!" he yelled pointing at a rather large male roaming the leaf covered road. I snapped one photo, the photo of the tiger looking directly at the camera that is in the beginning of this report. The tiger, annoyed by us, walked into the jungle scaring a poor little hare as it ran for its life. We stopped, listened to him charge through the dense brush and then he came out again onto the road, we sped up and there was this gorgeous animal... pooping. That's right, our private tiger decide to turn his back on us and just start pooping. When you gotta go, you gotta go. After one good push, he was done and walked back into the jungle never to be seen again. Now, as lucky as we were compared to everyone else's Kanha experience, I was not complaining about this tiger sighting, it was different, I mean, who can say they have seen a wild tiger poop in front of them, not many. So here ya go, enjoy this magnificent beast and all his droppings ;)

 

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Again, I want to apologize for the movie, it was my friends first time experience with the camera, plus the first 20 seconds or so is the truck speeding towards the tiger, so you could imagine...

 

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kittykat23uk

LOL! Great sighting!!

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