After first visiting India in 2005 a return visit to this colourful and fascinating country was always on the cards. So ten years on we set off from Kings Lynn to Heathrow to catch the night flight to India. Arriving early morning in Mumbai we then travelled on to the city of Nagpur. Its the second capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and home to some 3 million people. Most of whom seemed to be on the move on motorcycles, scooters and tuk tuk’s. We had arranged this trip through Audley Travel, which specialises in tailor-made holidays and provided an excellent service in the planning and execution of the trip. A wildlife safari in three different parks, with the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve as our first stop.
We left the airport after collecting the luggage, and checked into the Tuli Imperial Hotel. After dinner and an early night we were met by our driver and set off to Tadoba. A relatively new park, off the main tourist route, but fast becoming one of the best places to see India’s wildlife.
Driving in India is always an exciting. Noisy, chaotic and nerve racking experience, avoiding other vehicles, cows and wild boar as well as people. After an interesting 3 hour drive through rural India, where the crops had been harvested and overloaded lorries full of sacks of wheat and hay were on the move. We finally reached Svasara Jungle Lodge a luxury lodge within walking distance of the Kolara gate.
After lunch our first game drive beckoned, with talk from other visitors of tigers, wild dog and leopards being sighted on the morning game drives we felt optimistic. Tadoba reserve is predominantly a dry deciduous forest with dense woodlands mainly consisting of bamboo & teak. But with the temperature hovering in the high 30’s in the afternoons much of the wildlife was still sheltering until the sun began to sink.
Sightings early on included a crested serpent eagle, a savanna nightjar with a chick, a paradise flycatcher, oriental magpie-robins, rollers, chital, samba deer and wild boar. There were distance views of Gaur, but sadly little sign of any of the four star species.
That was until we were about to begin the drive back to the buffer zone and the exit gate when a tigress, Maya (P2) strolled out of the bamboo thickets and presented herself right in front of our gypsy. What a start !! A line of gypsy’s soon formed behind us and Maya walked slowly among us, giving us an opportunity to take some close up photographs.
Hopefully a sign of what we can expect for the next five drives.