My wife and I have been on many wildlife trips to India over the last 12 years. Nature Safari India understands that our needs are not wholly different from most, but we do like to be in control. That is to say, we are all round mammal and bird enthusiasts, in fact the whole of the animal kingdom. We wish to dictate how long we stay in any one place, and what animals to prioritize at any one time. Thus, we always arrange our tours on a bespoke basis. Asking someone to duck out of the way so we can take a photograph, and quite often miss the best shot in the process, is not what serious photographers want.
Whilst we try to vary each trip with different national parks and cultural highlights, we always end up at or include the beguiling Bandhavgarh National Park, set in the small village of Tala. It is a relatively short drive from Jabalpur Airport, by Indian standards that is, so the anticipation is short lived. But, every time we reach the outskirts of the town, we feel a tingle down our spines, and smiles broaden on our faces….. We are almost there!
We have many great memories both in the Park and of our favourite lodge, The Tiger’s Den. Gyanendra Tiwari and his team are dedicated to making your stay as pleasurable as possible. Nothing is too much trouble for them. Then there are the naturalists who help to make your dreams come true: the wonderful Sanjay Gupta and Jagat Chaturvedi. When you are with someone for many hours at a time on a game drive you have to be able to converse with them. Both of these gentlemen are bright, educated and with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all wildlife, both flora and fauna. They were brought up in the village and have spent all their lives learning all the things never covered by university courses.
One afternoon game drive stands out particularly. Jagat and I were by ourselves driving slowly though the Sal forest and chatting generally. Suddenly…. Whoosh! Just at the side of the track as we were passing, my favourite raptor, the Crested Serpent Eagle, flew up and over our heads.
He landed on a thick branch leaning over the track at an elevation of 10-12 feet. We had a terrific view of him, standing there proudly with his mighty talons pinning down an 18 inch snake. I am not a great snake lover at all, but I did feel some sympathy for this little creature that was completely at the eagle’s mercy. As we watched, Jagat explained what would happen next, and avoiding the graphic detail, the snake somehow disappeared; the process taking no more than 3 to 4 minutes.
I was in total awe. It simply underlined why he is my favourite bird.
Just one story from our memory banks of this glorious place.
Post by Nature Safari India Guest : Graham & Mary Brace