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Bandhavgarh Video Trip Report


cheetah80
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Hello Everyone!

 

In May we spent 8 days in Bandhavgarh, Thought I would write a short trip report

 

We chose to travel with Pugdundee, and stayed at their wonderful Kings Lodge. We stayed there in 2013 and met a great guide, Naresh Singh (Gudda) and we promised we would go on safari with him. He is indeed a wonderful guide - super enthusiastic, and he knows very well how to get the best angles for photography. He will be our guide of choice for future visits to this park for sure. The lodge itself is quite nice - the AC and the pool were more of a necessity than a luxury since it was very very hot! The food is excellent and plentiful and the staff are always smiling and friendly. The lodge is only about 4km away from the Tala Zone gate.

 

I was very pleased to note that things are organized pretty well in Bandhavgarh - I heard many stories of chaos around sightings in other parks so I was a bit concerned. There was never too much crowding problems around tiger sightings - I mean it was crowded but mostly it was well-behaved and not too noisy. Cars even organized themselves in such a way to leave open paths for tigers to cross a road etc. I think the relative good behaviour is one of the draws for visiting this park. However the bureaucracy is still a bit of a pain - Changing zones is expensive (even when "downgrading") and routes and park guides are assigned on the spot so you never quite know what you are going to get.

 

While the tiger sightings were really really good for many weeks prior to our arrival, we were unlucky to chance upon some really hot weather (44-45C every day) and the tiger sightings almost completely dried up for a few days. They picked up just as we were about to leave. But that's wildlife for you! It leaves me with enough unfinished business to start planning a next visit :)

 

One other thing to be noted, especially this much into the dry season is the dust. It's really the worse dust I have ever encountered anywhere in my travels - it is very fine and sticks to everywhere. So it is important to think ahead to protect your gear. I use a large pillowcase to wrap my cameras and lenses and cleaning needs to be done after every drive. If there is a commotion around a sighting it will raise a dust cloud that might make photography a bit difficult.

 

Anyway enough talking now and here is the interesting part - the video by Mr. Cheetah80 compiling some of the best moments we had.

 

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Ah yes the dust in those central India parks--unbelievable, I think there is still dust in my camera bag. I actually washed my camera once I got home (with q-tips and lens wipe cloths!) It permeates everything!

 

Anyway, wonderful video and it looks like you got some spectacular tiger sightings. I look forward to seeing some of your fantastic photos :)

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Well, judged by the video (great job, mr.Cheetah80 !!) you have plenty of excellent tiger sightings, plus some very obliging birds. Looking forward to read the full blown trip report.

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oh yes that red dust that made everything pink.

 

wonderful video, it really drew me in and I had to laugh twice at the winking owls. that sure is a lot of tiger activity from your video. Look forward to reading the report too. :)

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Thanks @@Kitsafari, @@xelas & @@janzin! Just goes to show that even with the lowest sightings of the season the park still offers spectacular sightings!

 

That wretched dust clogged the zippers on my camera bag - it was a test of strength to open and close the bag! I will be having some interesting sessions with compressed air vs zippers - hope it will fix the problem.

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Another winner! Very exciting to watch and such great quality. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Mr. Cheetah80 for giving us new ideas where to find wildlife. Can't wait for your shots.

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@@cheetah80

You had some great sightings - tigers plus other wildlife.

The video was really good - excellent editing fitting in with the music - very enjoyable

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Excellent video! Bandhavgarh is such a beautiful park, and you had some super sightings.

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gallery_6535_1559_500226.jpg

 

Some more info about the zones in Bandhavgarh ...

 

Historically Tala (Zone 1) has always been the hot zone for tiger sightings. So much so that it is designated as being a "Premium Zone" and the entry fee is more expensive than for the other Zones, Magdhi (Zone 2) and Khitauli (Zone 3). In the last couple of seasons the dynamics have somewhat shifted. This is due to the fact that the dominant male of Tala, known as Bamera, has been dispatched - and no other male has yet taken up the role. There are a couple of contenders to the throne, and the ensuing skirmishes have caused cub casualties and have dispersed the females. Nowadays it seems Magdhi is the best zone for sightings, and also Khitauli - a usually somewhat slow area - is picking up the slack too. Still, it is hoped that in the next couple of seasons, once the next heir apparent takes the throne, Tala will return to its former glory.

 

During our 8 days Tala was quite quiet as regards tiger sightings, though Solo did make an appearance a couple of times, and one of the Rajbahera cubs also wandered off into Tala while her mother and siblings kept to their territory in Magdhi. Most of the tiger activity we have seen was in Magdhi. All our safaris were booked for Tala and Magdhi but we exchanged one of our Tala drives for Khitauli, which was a good call since no one saw anything in Tala and we came across this beauty pictured above - a year-old cub just hanging around by itself.

 

So if you are looking to book a trip for the near future I highly recommend that you keep a close eye on where there is the most activity, and if there is not much of a trend try not to put all your eggs in one basket - book drives into all 3 zones, with perhaps a bit more weight given to Magdhi, especially for the morning drives.

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No doubt best tiger park of india.... and stunning photography too.

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Beautiful video and excellent sightings. The winking owl is truly a great shot.

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