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Trip Report - A few days in Tadoba


xnegvx
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In Dec 2012, I got a chance to spend a few days in Tadoba. This was to be a solo trip and I was looking forward to spend time in Tadoba. While during the initial planning I contacted Manish Varma. Manish took care of all the on the ground logistics and I was spared the pains of arranging things for myself. Manish is local of Chandarpur and spends most of his time in Moharli. Manish gave me a fair warning that forest department has blocked quite a few routes around Tadoba and all tourist traffic is concentrated around two main areas. Well thats that but I was willing to take that chance and have a relaxed trip anyways.

So I took a flight from Mumbai and landed in Nagpur. Gopal was the designated driver picking me up from airport. It was a nice 4 hour drive when we ended up in Chandarpur. Gopal and I had a dinner in a local bar. We drove to Moharli and the road was dark and via buffer zone. Gopal humored me & drove at a snails pace during the last few kms. Well other than a few deers crossing the roads and some hares, I did not see much. Well, here is to hope. My first few nights were booked in Saras Resort, thats next door to Moharli gate of TATR. I was booked in log hut. Accommodation was basic, clean and comfortable. Just the way I like it. It even had running hot water, you tell the boys in the resort and they come running with hot water. The guys who were employed there were from near by villages and while young and with no training, these guys were very attentive. I have generally seen people complaining about service in resorts around Tadoba, but I believe it is a matter of setting ones expectations right. The cook made sure I got food as per my request.

Other part of my stay was booked in MTDC resort. Another basic and comfortable accommodation. This is a small distance away from the gate, but not by much. One of the nights while Manish I was sitting and having a post sundown sundowner, there were repeated alarm calls. Loud and clear. Whatever was disturbing the peace of the forest was lurking behind the lake near MTDC for a while. This was a fun stay and I was looked after well by the guys there.

The game drives were concentrated around two areas: Telia lake and Pandarpauni area. Other obstacles thrown in the way by forest department were described elsewhere on the forum and I would not want to repeat them here. The jeep drive timings in the park are typical morning and afternoon drives. We spent a lot of time around Telia and Jamunbodi areas. I think I even got some of the best naps in there as I do not believe in running around the whole park without a reason. We would go about trying to figure out the animal movements and based on what we could gather we would plan our route of the drive. In the areas that were allowed, birdlife was not very prominent. However Manish had arranged for a few excursions outside the park for the reason and we saw some birdlife around the villages nearby.

Now instead of giving a day to day account of the trip, I would like to share the sights that I was graced with. :D

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WOW!!! I love the shot of the tiger in the water! Thanks very much for sharing (and certainly feel free to post a few more...)

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Look forward to seeing more images in this series.

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@@PT123 , @@Game Warden , @@twaffle : I am glad you enjoyed the images. I sure had fun taking them. I still remember taking a nap in the jeep during the lull period of drives.

 

Generally our safaris were restricted around the aforementioned areas. Sometimes while trying to get to the point of interest, we would end up taking a dust bath. You would not believe the amount of dust that one would be covered under right circumstances. I would strongly suggest anyone traveling there must carry something to cover their mouth, nose and hair.

 

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One of the fine finds was a confident Eurasian Wryneck. We spotted it on a road outside the reserve when there was no movement in the reserve and we left the reserve early to invest some time in birding.

 

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One of the mornings, when we were traveling from Moharli gate to Tadoba gate, we came across a small gathering of vehicles, and were informed that a leopard was trying to cross the road. Manish mentioned that it could be one leopardess that is blind in one eye and sometimes she gets quite bold around vehicles if we all keep quite. Unfortunately that was not to be as there were vehicles on both sides and everyone was jostling for a good angle. I could only manage the following fleeting glimpse. I wish I could have taken a better picture.

 

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Ah well, there is always something to look forward to in my next trip, which may not be too far in future :D

 

 

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kittykat23uk

I took dust masks this time, but it wasn't as bad as in Kanha.

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@kuduuu: Thanks :) Tiger experiences coming up shortly :D

 

@kittykat23uk: I believe dust is more of a problem in central parts of India. Even Ranthambhore has dust, but not nearly as much of a problem. I gotta remember taking a dust mask that covers my ears, nose and mouth properly. For this trip I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor of the jeep to avoid the worse of dust. Did help but not a whole lot. Funny things is I am allergic to dust, but never had a problem with a dust bath during safari :D

 

The park is closed on Tuesdays. We decided to spend this time exploring the buffer zone. Manish and I were not expecting much from the buffer zone, as it had plenty of water and cover was thick. I was glad when we entered buffer. The forest was beautiful and we encountered only one jeep other than our during the whole day. On wildlife front we caught hurried glimpses of Sambar deers although no other mega-fauna. I did not bother with taking the pictures and enjoyed the forest. While in buffer we dropped into a village thats within the boundary of buffer and ended up in a local cricket club's match. Most of the Tadoba guides were right there and I really enjoyed my time there.

 

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In evening we went about looking for red avadavat. I did get a few pictures of this bird, but I hope to get a better one next time.

 

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That evening, our driver Bheema got us some amazing home made spicy food. Ooooo I was in pure heaven. That night when we were in busy enjoying our beverages, we heard loud and persistent alarm calls and hoped that next morning would produce some predators for us. One can hope.. :P

 

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kittykat23uk

We saw several guar on our buffer zone drive. There was even a tiger around and lots of cars started to arrive once word had got out about him. Thankfully we didn't encounter this cat, he was somewhat unfriendly to a gypsy that did encounter him! :)

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I particularly liked it that you had "running hot water" :-D

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Love the cricket shots! Are there many villages in the buffer zone, Kartikeya?

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@@johnkok : Yeah, some of the innovative things I saw there :D, they did have some killer buttermilk as well. However their delux rooms/cottages were large and had water heaters in room. No luxury accommodation but a simple clean base for your excursions.

 

@@Sangeeta : I am not sure of the exact count but 5-7 would be my guess. Cricket tournament and a local play in the night were two main events for the local guys and their enthu was showing. Reminds me how we take theaters for granted.

 

 

While I was there, the Teliya family was missing in action for a 3 days. Good for them. It seems that they had made a kill in an area where tourist vehicle were not allowed. Just as well, they deserved a break. Well after giving everyone a run for their money they decided to show up at Teliya. However they maintained their distance and after crossing the road once, they kept their distance from the circus. One guy even jumped into my jeep to get a better view, while ruining a shot. I had to be firm and tell him that I would drop him in the middle of the road and it would not be such a good thing considering there were 4 cubs around. While the commotion was on, there was a spotted deer deep in bush that was giving alarm calls. One of the cubs used the din caused by jeeps to stalk and make a kill in the bush. We herd the last yelp and struggle in the bush. Thankfully this kill was made around the end of the morning safari, so all of us had to leave and hopefully the cubs had a good meal.

 

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Please excuse me while I go and kick myself in the n*ts for missing the following shots. Those cubs will never forget me, I gotta do it right by them, hence, I have to be back there by Apr 2014. Thats my story and I am sticking to it.

 

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:(:(

Edited by xnegvx
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brilliant photos, @@xnegvx. i particularly love the pix of the tiger in the waters, whipping up the circle of water drops with its tail, and the one with the tiger looking up into the sky.

 

I had a such good laugh on your warning to the guy who jumped into your jeep!

 

i'm enjoying your TR!

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I'm still laughing at the running water :D

 

Great pics, I think the leopard one is still good. It has a threatening feel about it.

Edited by Super LEEDS
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@@Kitsafari , @@Super LEEDS : Glad that you guys are enjoying the trip report so far :D

 

 

Knowing that the cubs had made a kill, all of us ended up going back to Teliya in the hopes that cubs would be around. They were there and were moving about. As more and more jeeps gathered there, they kept their distance. However It was a good sighting. I had to borrow Manish's camera for some of the shots.

 

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Uh_oh busted

Wow. Exceptional photos. Looking forward to more :P

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Next few days we spent in traveling in some different parts of the park. We came across a duo of dholes (Indian wild-dogs). That was one good sighting with only our jeep around and no one to bother them. During our last drive in the park, we came across the cubs again. That was a fun end of my little break. However I have decided to get there in summer(ish) month. Well.. I get ahead of myself.

 

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Guest kuduuu

This trip report is by far one of my favorites in a long time. I cant wait to book my trip to Tadoba! Its the place to be!

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@kuduu : Tadoba indeed is a place to be. Summer wold be a good time for carnivore sightings, and that is why I must go there again during summer. :D

 

@@Game Warden : Glad that you liked the report. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the park and writing the trip report has made it easy for me to relive the trip. :)

 

You are right about the light. Most of the time the light was good and gold part of golden light was golden with reddish effect. May its due to color of the soil there. It does make a difference to the photographs though. :)

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