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Kanha National Park

India

1/5 Bengal tiger in the jungle of Kanha
Bengal tiger in the jungle of Kanha
2/5 An evening sitting around the camp fire at Shergarh after a safari in Kanha
An evening sitting around the camp fire at Shergarh after a safari in Kanha
3/5 Heading out on a jeep safari in Kanha at dawn
Heading out on a jeep safari in Kanha at dawn
4/5 The camp staff are drawn from the local community who welcome visitors to their villages
The camp staff are drawn from the local community who welcome visitors to their villages
5/5 Langur and baby, Kanha National Park
Langur and baby, Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park is the country’s largest tiger reserve. The inspiration for Kipling’s Jungle Book, it is one of the best parks for tiger sightings

Located in Madhya Pradesh in the heart of central India, Kanha National Park is the country’s largest tiger reserve. The inspiration for Kipling’s Jungle Book, it is one of the best parks for tiger sightings.

The scenery at Kanha is gorgeous, a wonderful mix of river valleys and steep rocky escarpments, highland forests and stands of bamboo, dense lowland forests of evergreen sal and rolling grasslands. Around 175 bird species and 22 species of mammal can be found in this rich diversity of habitat. Besides tiger, the impressive gaur (wild ox), chausingha, the only four-horned ungulate in the world, as well as barasingha (swamp deer), recently saved from near extinction are likely to be spotted on a morning or afternoon jeep safari. Leopard and sloth bear sightings are less common but still a distinct possibility.

The park is open from November to June and morning and afternoon game drives in jeeps mean you can enter the park at sunrise, return to your lodge or camp for lunch and a siesta before going out again in the late afternoon.

Read more about a typical day on safari and find out about the best time to visit Kanha.

There is no accommodation in the park and everyone must leave by sunset. As well as jeep safaris, short rides on elephant back are also sometimes possible. Pressing through the jungle on these gentle giants is a unique experience and you can get really close to a tiger for a few minutes, but you will probably find that once is enough - this ‘tiger show’ is not for everyone.

We prefer to work with small owner managed lodges and camps who avoid a tiger-centric approach (unlike some hotels in the area) and will give you a complete experience of Kanha. Although walking is not permitted within the park, these lodges will also take you on hikes in the forests around them and perhaps along the banks of river Banjaar which creates a natural boundary between the unfenced core and surrounding buffer forest; it's a beautiful setting for a walk and viewing smaller wildlife.

We also suggest visiting one of the nearby villages, dipping in to a local market and exploring the area around Kanha. A leisurely cycle ride is a great way to get to know this tribal heartland of rural India and something we highly recommend.

In our opinion this is one of India’s finest national parks and if you’re only going to visit one park it has to be Kanha.

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A few of our favourite places to stay:

The main lodge at Flame of the Forest

Flame of the Forest

This stylish lodge close to the Kisli entrance to Kanha

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An evening sitting around the camp fire at Shergarh after a safari in Kanha

Shergarh

Shergarh is small tented camp not far from Kanha’s Mukki

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A picnic by the river at Banjaar Tola between safaris in Kanha National Park

Banjaar Tola

A collaboration between Taj Safaris and CC Africa, Banjaar Tola

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View other places to stay in Kanha National Park

Can't find the place you're looking for? Just let us know and we will be sure to help.

Who to talk to

Andrea Hulme

Andrea Hulme’s travel experiences could fill a small novel; from a bit-part in a Tamil movie, to leading expeditions in Kyrgyzstan and negotiating landslides along the Karakoram highway.

How we can help you

At Natural High, we've had long experience putting together trips in Africa that really work. Whether it's intimate bushcamps in out of the way places, or a private lodge in one of Africa's top-billing wildlife areas, light mobile camping or remote island escapes, we know there is a lot to choose from. We're absolutely confident that we can recommend the right places for you.

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