There's nothing more evocative when you’re in Kipling’s Jungle Book country than searching for tigers on elephant back
Tigers are elusive creatures and while a jeep safari is a practical way to cover big areas there are some places that only an elephant can reach. While you sip ‘bed tea’ in the wee hours, mahouts are already preparing their elephants for the day ahead and keeping their ears tuned as the jungle awakes. Listening for the sounds of deer and monkey alarm calls they have more than a good idea if a tiger is heading to a waterhole in their area.
Seated in a howdah on the back of your trusty pachyderm there are no barriers as you lumber through the undergrowth in search of Kipling's Shere Khan. If your timing is right - and with some luck too - you may get close to this magnificent beast, sometimes literally just a few meters away. It’s a photographer’s dream.
All about tigers
Tigers are the largest member of the cat family, distinguished by its mesmerising striped coat, and each tiger has a unique stripe pattern. It is believed there were eight tiger subspecies at one time but three became extinct in the 20th century. India’s Bengal tigers account for about half of all wild tigers and they remain highly endangered. Red List estimates put their numbers at less than 2500. Male Bengal tigers measure 2-3m in length, and can weigh from 200-300kg and hunting for wild boar, badgers, water buffaloes, deer and goats mainly takes place at night. Mating occurs all year round with the female giving birth to a litter of two or three cubs who remain reliant on the mother for at least 15 months, after which they will disperse to find their own territory.
How to see tigers in Kanha
India’s jungles are magical places where the wildlife deserves to be more about how you see it rather than all about what you see. We work with people who are passionate about all the park’s wildlife and its conservation. Whether its with the knowledgable owner of a small tented camp or an expert naturalist at a more luxurious lodge we give you a memorable experience beyond a tiger safari from seeking out the only endemic population of hard ground barasingha deer in Kanha, predators including leopard and wild dog to spotting 300 different species of birds.
As well as having one of the highest concentrations of tiger in India Kanha also has to be the most beautiful place to see them. Bounded by hills the meadows of its horseshoe shaped valley are broken up with groves of trees and fed by rivers. A landscaper couldn’t have designed it better. The views from the rocky slopes around the plateau rim, especially at sunset, are stunning; it’s little wonder that Kipling found so much inspiration here.
For an idea of how a trip to India including Kanha National Park might look, take a look at our itinerary suggestion, or give us a call and we'll help you plan your tailor-made India tour.