A Jungle Safari is the best way to experience the raw, picturesque landscapes of the National Parks of India and witness the wildlife thriving in their natural habitat. Pench National Park offers jungle safaris three times a day including a night safari. Dooars, home to the Gorumara National Park and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary, offers safaris four times a day. Sundarban National Park, which can be explored by boats only, offers a full day boat safari option. A full day safari option is ideal for professional photographers or nature enthusiasts, who want to experience spending an entire day in the park.
The State Forest Department regulates the National Parks and monitors the routes, number of vehicles and tourists that enters these parks.
The various types of safaris in National Parks of India.
- Canter Safaris (Open Top Bus)
- Jeep Safaris
- Boat Safaris/River Safaris/Cruise Safaris
- Walking Safari
Canter Safaris (Open Top Bus)
Pench National Park offers Canter safaris at Turia (Madhya Pradesh) and Khursapar (Maharashtra) Gate .
Canter is an open safari bus which seats 12-20 people depending on the model and park. Its a higher vehicle and has only one guide to cater to all the guests. For a serious wildlife enthusiast, this is not the ideal way to do a safari. Whereas for a group of friends, or family, Canter works very well as it keeps everyone together. Canter Safaris are booked one day in advance and maybe conducted only if there is a minimum 80 percent occupancy.
Interesting part is that wildlife does not discriminate between a Jeep and a Canter, it shows up nevertheless. But a Jeep is far less disturbing to wildlife compared to a Canter
Jeep Safaris are the most popular means to experience the National Parks of India. The preferred vehicle is 4 Wheel drive which is known as a ‘Gypsy’ in India. This vehicle has a petrol engine which makes it less noisy. Thus not only less disturbing to you, but more importantly to the wildlife.
The Gypsy can accommodate a maximum of 6 plus the driver and the forest guide. Being smaller in size, it is easy to manoeuvre and its lower height provides a better view for pictures as compared to a canter. Recommended capacity is maximum 4 people to travel comfortably in the Jeep. In case of professional photographers carrying camera equipment, just two guests are recommended.
To guarantee a Jeep Safari for Pench, the guest can directly book on mponline.com at least 90 days before the safari date. The Jeep safaris to Dooars can be booked on the same day on first come basis.
The 4×4 safaris are offered by The Riverwood Forest Retreat-Pench and The Riverwood Forest Retreat- Dooars.
Boat Safaris/River Safaris/Cruise Safaris
Boat safaris are popular in national parks that are water locked or located near a vast expanse of water.
Sundarban National Park offers private boat safaris where in guests can select from options that range from 2 hours to 11 hours depending on how deep into the forest they want to go.
The river safaris offer you the opportunity to step down at various watch towers located in different islands.
Sweet water ponds have been purposely created near these watchtowers for visitors to get a glimpse of wildlife in the vicinity. Behind the pond are long stretches of observation lines, bereft of any vegetation where one can sight animals from a distance. All these watchtowers are caged so as to protect visitors from the wild animals. Estuarine Crocodiles, Spotted Deer, Brahminy Kite, Brown Winged Kingfisher, Jungle Cat as well as Water Monitor Lizards are very often sighted from the Watchtower. If you are lucky, you may see the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger.
Walking Safaris and Cycling Safaris
The Riverwood Forest Retreat-Pench offers Walking and Cycling Safaris are for the guests who have an adventurous spirit. One goes on a trail of 5 kms to about 10 kms in the buffer zone of the National Park to observe birds and wildlife living in such area. One may encounter Nilgai, Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Wolves and Sloth Bears or maybe even an occasional Leopard if you enter the zone early morning or late evening.
A forest guide and a couple of hotel staff accompany you as you are entering the Tiger country.
The Riverwood Forest Retreat – Pench organises daily safaris in the morning, afternoon and night. The safaris are conducted in 4X4 vehicles and last usually for a duration of 4-5 hours. Morning safaris start just before sunrise and last for 5 hours. The afternoon safaris start around 2.30pm and end at sunset. Pench also offers a night safari in the buffer zone from 6pm to 9pm. A safari drive in Pench is a study in contrasting habitats that is made more interesting by your guide’s/naturalist’s narration of the importance and role of each region.
The safaris give you the opportunity to witness the wild animals and birds thriving in their natural habitat. Some of the biggest herds of Spotted Deer and Gaur are seen grazing on succulent grasses along the backwaters of the Pench National Park. Leopards can be spotted in the rocky areas. The tiger population has increased in recent years, leading to some excellent sightings of the majestic animal for visitors in the park. Other predators that can be seen during the safaris are the Indian wolf, wild dogs and the striped hyena.
The riverside offers panoramic views and the opportunity for bird lovers to spot a variety of avifauna that have made Pench National Park their home. The Indian Scops Owl is so well camouflaged in the tree hollows that it takes an expert naturalist to point them out. Jungle Owlet and the Spotted Owlet are some of the other smaller owls seen frequently on a safari. Malabar Pied Hornbills perched usually in twos on dry branches make for a lovely photograph especially near Alikatta. Other resident and migratory bird species of Pench National Park are Indian Pitta, Osprey, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, White-eyed Buzzard, Brahmini Duck, Pochards, Barheaded Geese, Coots, etc.
If you are travelling in large groups, then there is the option of taking a Canter (Open Bus) safari. On Wednesdays, the day safaris are closed due to the Haat market and only the night safari is available. To guarantee a Jeep Safari for Pench, the guest can directly book on mponline.com at least 90 days before the safari date.
The Riverwood Forest Retreat – Dooars organises safaris 4 times a day. The Jungle Safaris are conducted in 4X4 jeeps (Gypsy) and take guests into the tourism zone of the Gorumara National Park and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary. The safaris start in the morning after sunrise and last for a duration of 2 hours except the evening safari that lasts for 3 hours. A guide, approved by the forest department, will accompany you on every trip to help you interpret the exotic flora and fauna of the region.
During the safari, guests can catch a glimpse of some of the famous inhabitants of the region including the one horned Indian Rhinos, Elephants, Gaur (Indian Bison), Leopards, Spotted Cheetahs, the majestic Sambar, Wild Boars and Barking Deer. Chapramari is also one of the few places where the Pangolin (scaly anteater) proliferates successfully. The trees hide some of the most sought-after birds and a chance encounter with the Green Magpie, Scarlet Minivet, Hill Mayna, Indian Treepie and White-breasted Kingfisher is always a possibility.
Guests will be taken on safaris on first-cum-first-serve basis. Kindly contact the booking representative to register for safaris at the time of Reservation to avoid disappointment. All guests must adhere to the Code of conduct during the safaris. A copy of the same is available at the Resort. All guests must sign the Liability Waiver Declaration Undertaking available at the Resort before participating in any of the Resort activities.