2019.05 Welcome to tiger heaven!

Bandhavgarh is a name of an Indian park I had high in my bucket list and was keen on discovering. It is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, central India (relatively more in the North). The park recently had a good number of cubs and a family of 3 or 4 tigers is always a treat to watch and relatively easier to track than lonely tigers roaming around.

So, end of May 2019, we go with my friend Cédric. Everything’s being organised by Mr Mukesh. Traveling is often about managing the unforeseen. That is what happened as arriving in Delhi after a connection in Vienna, would lead us without our luggage (only got them 5 days later). For the safari, we were setup with Mr Indranil Paul in the car, a brilliant photographer and tiger expert, our driver being Durgesh.

26/05:My friend being with a serious back pain, I would go for the first safari with Indranil. We were going to the Tala zone.

After driving for some time, we were thinking that we would not see our first tiger. But at the very end, we saw a nice tigress called the Banbehi’s daughter and that was nice observation. We got a first glimpse of the cat in the jungle, then leaving us and finally managed to see her face.

Landscapes are nice in the open areas of Tala.

And the langur monkeys around as always!

In the afternoon, Cédric is back on his legs and we head to Magdhi zone. Quickly we find the Solo tigress. In the snap of a finger she finds a small deer fawn and kills it. She is with a single cub!

27/05: In the morning we go to Maghi zone. We have the chance to meet with Bamera’ son rather quickly, an adult tiger but the son of the legendary Bamera!

The end of the morning was great as we saw 3 dotty’s cubs playing in the water, a great moment!

28/05: We found a little solo cub alone in Tala in a very open area. Then a bit further 2 dotty’s cub at the waterhole.

In the afternoon, we spend again some time with Dotty and cubs in a very nice sunset light!

After the safari, Indranil, Cédric and I would enjoy a burning tea and a gulab jamun in Bandhavgarh village!

29/05: We go this time to Kitouli zone. Not much to see on that morning but this happens and is a given of safaris. But at the last moment we have an interesting sighting of a relax sub-adult, a « Daraha » male as named. I love his round face.

30/05: Have a long search for the occasional big cat in the morning, we end-up hearing chital alarm calls. At some point we hear them from 2 distinct directions. Clearly the sign of a predator out in the open. Cédric has a great catch as he managed to see a leopard lying on the ground and we get a few clicks, great catch man! Then we would also get a sighting of the solo female and bamera’s son!

In the afternoon, we go to Kitouli zone. I must say, this was not my favorite zone. There are tigers but the vegetation is very dense here. But Indranil has the intuition to go as a tigress named Tara was seen with 2 young cubs. How right was he!! As soon as the zone opens, we rush to the the wantalaia waterhole and bingo! they are there! One of the nicest tiger sightings of my life: a beautiful tigress named Tara and 2 nice cubs probably 4 months old and still suckling!!

31/05:We went to Magdhi zone. We started by a lovely sighting of 4 solo cubs relaxing in some landmark caves!

Then to close the morning, 3 dotty’s cubs to enjoy near the sukki patiya waterhole.

For our last afternoon safari, we go to Tala. As soon as we enter, we hear alarm calls. We would see no move for a while but then again alarm calls. While the occasional indian roller is flying and hunting nearby our vehicle, we take the opportunity to take a « winning group picture »! It was 44°C and we were a bit smashed!

Then, very close to the end of afternoon session, a tigress « Chakradara female » cub appears in a beautiful forested setup. She has a regal attitude and seems to love herself amidst some trees, very nice to watch! That would be our last sighting as the next morning would be empty.

At the end superb trip with great guys and super well organised by Mister Mukesh Burman from A to Z. Thank you all!

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