A Safari Holiday in Kanha – an Insider’s perspective


A Safari Holiday in Kanha – an Insider’s perspective

Any veteran safari goer will always advise you to plan a safari holiday well in advance. Kanha is no different. The Tiger Reserves in the country must follow a strict policy of allowing limited number of vehicles per tourism zone of the park. This is a law and it is for the wellbeing of the tigers and the wilderness in general.

Booking a safari holiday in advance means you don’t need to stress about getting entry tickets for safari. Imagine the park is like a cinema, a multiplex. Each tourism zone is like a hall with a limited number of seating. So, the idea should be to secure your seat of choice ahead of the show and not arrive at the theatre to wring your hands in despair as the show was ‘HouseFull’.  That is not to say, that all is lost. There will still be plenty of activities – like Buffer zone safaris, walking safaris, Full day Safaris as well as the night safaris on offer.

When to travel depends on individual preference. The parks are open from the 1st of October to the 30th of June each year.

Winter can get cold in Kanha with nighttime temperatures in Dec-Jan falling to 3-5 degrees centigrade. The days are sunny and comfortable. The winter is cool and misty, the park is lush green and the animals have on their winter coats. The Tigers too sport a deep rich coat with a glossy sheen. The water holes are brimming and the migratory birds are visiting from near and far – as far as Central Asia. So, a winter safari is definitely a birder’s delight.  A special attraction of winter Safari is experiencing the warmth and the communal bonding by a merry bonfire.

The summer in Kanha, beginning from April to June is warm and sunny. The midday is hot, while evenings and mornings are pleasant. Since these are the dry months, the forest is quite brown. However, the heat drives the animals to waterholes and visitors have a chance to spot many animals come down for a drink, including the big predators. Where the winter was opportune for bonfires, the summer afternoons and evenings are perfect to round off the day’s adventures with a refreshing dip in the swimming pool.

Many though, are curious to know as to what is the best Tiger sighting season. Well, truthfully, there are tiger sightings in winter and there are tiger sightings in summer. The patterns of animal movement will change as per weather.

While in summer, the big cats seek the water to wallow and cool off, at the same time, the heat keeps them hidden away in the shade for the hottest parts of the day. Many photographers favour summer, in order to photograph tigers in the water. In the heat, the jungle having dried considerably, there is better visibility through the undergrowth too.

Similarly in the winter, the tigers find temperatures comfortable enough to move about even when the sun is up. On occasion they can be seen warming themselves in the morning sun. And not to mention that the jungle looks stunning as a back drop.

When going on a jungle holiday, pack earth colours and favour full pants and full sleeved shirts. Rather than carry one heavy jacket, it is advisable to pack 2-3 lighter ones. As day and night temperatures vary so much one can easily layer up or peel off. Caps, hats and insect repellents are a great idea. Carry sensible walking shoes or closed shoes.

While on holiday try and sample local dishes on the menu. It’s a good idea to carry your own water bottle that you can use across various activities. That way, you will not be increasing the plastic usage. To be a true earth hero, offer to carry back your dry waste- like wrappers, bottles etc. back to dispose them off in the city. This will keep the jungle areas clean and the wilderness will be pristine for your next visit.