Kanha Tiger Reserve, also known as Kanha National Park, is one of the best places in India to see tigers.
It’s apparently also the location that inspired the fabled ‘Jungle Book’ and you can see why when you visit the place.
I spent 4 days in the area and if you’re interested in going this is what its like, and how to do it yourself.
Kanha Tiger Reserve (Kanha National Park)
Kanha Tiger Reserve is located in Madhya Pradesh state in the centre of India.
It’s a massive place of dense forest and flatlands of grass.
Tiger Safari in Kanha Tiger Reserve
There is plenty of wildlife to see in Kanha Tiger Reserve but the obvious main reason to visit given the name is to hopefully see tigers.
Welcome to Kanha National Park.
Sunrise seen from the 4wd along a dirt road that runs through the reserve.
Looking into the grasslands to see if there’s any wildlife.
Searching the early morning mist for signs of wildlife.
One animal that you will (highly likely) see a lot of is deer. There are a lot around.
A deer crosses in front of the vehicle.
Group of smaller deer.
To spot a tiger you have to be somewhat lucky.
The tigers that can be found in Kanha Tiger Reserve are Royal Bengal Tigers which are the national animal of India.
If you’re extra lucky you may see Indian wild dogs in Kanha.
Wild dogs in Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Elephants are the easiest to spot (obviously given their size)!
You’ll see plenty of monkeys in the forest scrambling on the trees and the grass below.
A macaque monkey on a tree.
Hiking in Kanha National Park
Ok, to be honest this was kind of freaky.
You don’t technically have ‘hiking’ in Kanha National Park as there are tigers around! But locals do walk from village to village and it’s safe enough to join a group of them when they do it and stay closer to the villages for safety.
A Regretful Experience at Kanha
Call me naive for not researching or knowing better, but I did a few hours of riding an elephant when at Kanha National Park.
This Kanha trip was actually done in early 2007 (this is a retelling of the experience) and I didn’t use the internet much apart from sending the occasional email.
No websites to hear stories about possible abuse etc that are easily accessible these days for learning about these things.
The reality in India is elephants are used for riding, for local experiences and also for tourists wanting to try.
But now I know since then that many elephants are treated in a bad way.
They are often taken away from their families, beaten into submission, and then forced into riding people.
Now I don’t know about the cruelty levels in Kanha for this, but even of they get treated ‘somewhat well’ they are still being forced to carry people against their will.
Ok fine it’s a practice going back millennia but these days there’s no reason for it as you have the vehicle option to get around these days.
Promoting ethical and sustainable tourism is what we should all bedding as travellers.
So if you’re visiting Kanha National Park stay away from an elephant ride, it’s one of my biggest regrets.
Elephant ride in Kanha (don’t do it).
Where to Stay in Kanha Tiger Reserve
How To Get To Kanha National Park
The best way of getting to Kanha National Park is to take a train to either Gondia or Jabalpur railway stations, both of which are around 150km away, and then take a bus for the 3-4 hour drive to Kanha.
Kanha Tiger Reserve
Kanha Tiger Reserve is without a doubt one of the best wildlife experiences I have had (and I’ve been on over 30 safaris in Africa).
The combination of the opportunity to see a wild tiger and the stunning scenery make it the ideal destination in India if you want to get into nature.
This is a post I did about backpacking down India from the Himalayas in the far north to the beaches in Kerela in the south. The Kanha Tiger Reserve was part of that trip.
And be sure to take travel insurance for your travels. I use World Nomads.
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