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Back to Kabini, 2018.


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Just back from a couple of nights in KAAV lodge in Kabini.  As always, thanks a ton to the whole crew!!!  PK, Ashwin and their entire Kaav team of staff ........ Super time as always.


Early rains in Southern India meant we had pre-monsoon like conditions already ........ nothing like the dry summer from last year!  


The Tigress in this first instalment is the Balle female ....... Had no clue she was this photogenic!

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The main purpose of my last minute trip was to find this particular female who is supposedly showing off her 3 young cubs at the moment ......... No such luck for us this weekend!  Will have to keep trying, i suppose???? 


Here's the BackWater female .......... possibly, the most photographed Tiger in Southern India at the moment.

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Last of the posts ........


My first ever glimpse of the "Russell Line" Tigress and her two grown up Sub-adults (I assume about time they split) - one shy in the thicket (final photograph) and another coming out of the bushes to follow mum.


Hoping to return in a couple of weeks to try and find the young cubs - I've seen amazing images online from some photographers from April.

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Fantastic pictures!

Did you see the famous "black" ghost of Kabini?

I am contemplating heading to Kaav in June first week with my wife. Your TR might just seal the deal!



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Thanks @vikramghanekar - You will love KAAV .......


Black Panther - alas, not this time ...... I've been lucky to have seen him twice already, though.  Maybe when free, please look at my older trip report......... Cheers, Hari.

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How lucky you are to have such a spectacle readily accessible @madaboutcheetah!

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Game Warden

There are some fantastic photos, thanks @ madabout tigers, sorry I mean @madaboutcheetah...

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@madaboutcheetah Once again you treat us with fantastic pics.

This is very timely for me as I'm in the middle of planning a trip to Karnataka next March/April. Other half is  going for a pilgrimage and I'll tag along and add a few not so religious places. I was wondering about sending you a PM but thought it'd be better to ask in open forum so that others can also benefit from your extensive knowledge about Nagarhole Kabini. 

I have already made a few queries and was originally planning to stay at The Biosn simply because I'm a great admirer of its owner's photography but eventually decided against that.  Looks like it has become a bit too high flying for my liking.

I've picked the dry season of March/April, avoiding all the state holidays and will travel to Kabini in mid week to avoid weekend crowd. There is nothing more I hate than inconsiderate fellow travellers. 

Firstly I'm a little confused about the safari arrangements within Kabini. My friends are telling me to stay at Kabini River Lodge ( JLR property) as apparently that's the only way to secure a Jeep safari. The expensive lodges cannot guarantee that. I genuinely liked the KAAV and Red Earth lodge but I'm wondering if I'd end up travelling in the Canter with twenty other people if I stay there. 

Can you manage two Jeep safaris when staying at KAAV ? I was under impression that one has to have one jeep and one boat safari. Because I'll be travelling at a relatively less popular time do you think I'd be able to secure Jeep safaris with some pleading ? 

Do these resorts have a quota system ? 

Also I was told in dry months the boat safaris are stopped because of low water level thus putting more pressure on jeep safaris and the authorities use even bigger mini-buses. Is that correct ? 

Lastly, is it worth adding Bandipur to Kabini ? I can spare three to four days. Should I split the days between Bandipur and Kabini or just stick to Kabini? 


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@chakra - you should definitely go next year. March / April the viewing is typically excellent before the first pre-monsoon rains that typically start anytime in May. This year is super early.


you are correct in that the private lodges cannot guarantee you a smaller jeep/ bolero.  To 100 percent guarantee that, you'd better stick to JLR.  Good plan to go mid week and out of school holidays, but, them again that's prime viewing time so it will be full in any case .... again, a good reason for you to stick to JLR.


boat safaris - last two years southern India went through a severe drought and hence they had to cancel the boat safaris. This year seems back to normal. 


Bandipur - game viewing is hit or miss. Summer is very good there .... I hear tiger viewing there has been amazing this season. However, I'd recommend you stick to kabini for the 4 nights. You can't go wrong! 


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Thanks @madaboutcheetah. Yes I was aware of the severe draught for last couple of years and the plight of the animals and humans. Looks like this year rains have come early. 

Your advice is very helpful indeed. I have come across so many praises about PK and Ashwin that I was really keen to go out with them. Especially when it looks like Ashwin accompanies the guest for the safari most of the times. I read in TA that JLR may not provide a naturalist for each Jeep and ask the driver to double up as guide. That's far from ideal. 

Bandipur is indeed reporting good sightings. I follow JLR in Facebook to keep track of sightings. 

Anyway I'm sure whatever safari I go for it'd be a reasonably decent experience. Although I don't like the monopoly of JLR but I feel it's a good idea to control the number of vehicles strictly. 


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@Chakra - If Ashwin isn't available, PK goes out with guests .......... JLR will have naturalists too (many of them are just spotters though) - 


Yes, it's the Bandipur JLR Facebook posts i refer to also .......  In Bandipur though, you'd be able to rent individual jeeps (private) at the park office ........ I did it a couple of years ago!  


FYI - when you go to JLR - insist you get on a jeep that goes to Zone A (Black Panther) ......... 

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@madaboutcheetah thanks very much Hari for your honest opinion and practical advice. I think I'm leaning more towards Kaav lodge rather than JLR.  I'll take my chances with jeep safaris. JLR is nice but looks a little too big, lacking private touches whereas the Kaav seems to provide an intimate and personal experience. If I stay for 3/4 nights then I want to have a decent overall experience as well. Tiger/Leopard sighting is important but if I don't that's not the end of the world. I'm equally enthralled with the antiques of little ones. A close up of a red mongoose will be great. And of course some birds. 

Ashwin and PK seem to be just the sort of people I'd love to hang with in between safaris.  

Perhaps you can put in a good word for me ? :P:P

You seem to frequent that place every other week :D

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PK will be able to take you on some walks around the backwaters - lots of good birding, and other stuff (otters etc etc.,) ........ 




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