Best time to visit Bandhavgarh National Park

Best time to visit Bandhavgarh National Park


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

In common with most national parks in India, Bandhavgarh is closed during the monsoon season from Jul-mid Oct. Most visitors come Nov-Mar, when the landscape is green, the birdlife amazing and temperatures in the mid 20°Cs, but be prepared for cold mornings in Dec and Jan. The best time to see tigers is Apr-May, as the vegetation is dry and sparse and wildlife comes to the few remaining waterholes to drink, but be prepared for the heat – expect mid 40°Cs – and think carefully before traveling with children at this time.

Things to do in Bandhavgarh National Park


What to do in Bandhavgarh National Park, & what not to

Things to do in Bandhavgarh...


Time in Bandhavgarh may be at the heart of your Indian vacation, but it’s worth bolting on some other highlights while here. Spend a day or two exploring the capital, Delhi, where most trips to Bandhavgarh begin, and consider extending your trip to include Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, or the temples at Khajuraho.
Bring the children. Many African safaris impose age restrictions, but wildlife vacations running in Bandhavgarh National Parks rarely have a minimum age. In fact, children often get discounted rates. All but the tiniest kids will enjoy a safari here. Accommodation is generally right by the park gates, so no long drives to reach the wildlife, and safaris last three and a half hours, so shouldn’t tax a child’s patience. While you can’t promise a tiger, a host of Jungle Book characters await to charm your children.
Of course you’ll want to capture the magic of Bandhavgarh, but remember to put your camera down sometimes. The best way to enjoy an immersive wildlife experience here is to forget about photography and concentrate on simply soaking up the sights, sounds and atmosphere. Remember, too, that you may only see one tiger on your trip and getting a great photo of it is always tricky; much better to just gaze in awe when and if it shows up.

Things not to do in Bandhavgarh…


For a broad taste of Indian wildlife and an excellent chance of spotting tigers, don’t limit yourself to Bandhavgarh. Many Indian wildlife vacations combine a couple of national parks, so you experience a range of landscapes and lodges. In contrast to tiny Bandhavgarh, Kanha National Park is a vast landscape of undulating terrain, grasslands, plateaus and dramatic rocky escarpments. Pench National Park is not so well known for its tigers, but is home to leopards and large herds of gaur (Indian bison), chital, sambar, nilgai and wild dog.
If you’re serious about spotting Shere Khan, allow at least two days in Bandhavgarh and never assume you’ll be successful on your first excursion. The park permits game drives between set hours in the morning and the evening, starting at different times throughout the year. It’s possible to take two drives a day, so a two-day stay will allow you to pack in four, which alters your chances of seeing a tiger from possible to probable.
The majority of people on tiger safaris in India are, by far, Indians themselves, so don’t forget about national public vacations and festivals. These dates book up far in advance and are worth avoiding if you can. Big celebrations include Republic Day on 26 January and Diwali which falls in October or November.

Bandhavgarh National Park travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN BANDHAVGARGH NATIONAL PARK

Photography advice


Paul Goldstein, top tiger safari guide, photographer and expert at one of our leading suppliers, Exodus: “You have to be aware that this is a desperately endangered species, so please try and look beyond your camera. I have led countless tiger safaris in India, but probably only have half a dozen really good photos. So particularly when you see your first one, put the camera away. Firstly because you might not see another one and also, it is a deeply emotive moment. The photo will probably be rubbish anyway as you will be sobbing or shaking, as you should be.”

Looking beyond the tiger


Sophie Hartman, owner of our supplier Chinkara Journeys, which specialises in central India: “I think that name ‘tiger watching’ should be banned. Don’t go with tigers as your sole focus; there is so much to see in India’s national parks and spending the whole of your safari charging around the park on a hunt for a tiger is such a wasted opportunity....
Ask your guide and driver to stop for 10 minutes by a lake or stream, listen to the sounds of the jungle, watch the birds, and enjoy the beauty of the light coming through the forest. So much more fun than just thumping along in a jeep.”

Tips from our travelers in Bandhavgarh National Park


ADVICE FROM THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE

pAt Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Bandhavgarh National Park travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.
“Tiger spotting is not like an African safari as tigers live in dense forests so you have to have a good guide & good luck. If you go once or twice you may well not get to see them.” – Christine Smith

“Enjoy everything about the trip, don’t be hooked up on seeing tigers, they are there and can be hard to find, and when the moment arrives it is magical!!! Pack less than you think (laundry service available), have old clothes for game drives can be really dusty in hotter months and you do get dust everywhere, have something to do for between game drives/evenings as resorts are quite isolated... Embrace the experience, the locals, the wildlife, the sights and the train, you may be surprised!” – Ian Harrison

“Make sure you have really warm clothing for early morning safari drives in December. Wear a hat unless you want to end up with tangled and dusty hair. Be prepared for giving lots of smallish tips to drivers, guides and hotel staff. You don’t need any 'smart' clothes everyone dresses informally.” – Barbara Thompson

“We travelled in March/April and early morning safaris were cold enough to need a blanket (provided by the hotel) at the start and be sunburn hot by the end. We took mosquito spray but only needed to use it a couple of times. The tummy upset pills came home totally unneeded. Take lots of zip lock bags for cameras, binoculars etc as the dust is thick in the air and gets everywhere when on safaris. Be prepared for rough, bumpy tracks in the parks and open jeeps with limited suspension. Buy a dust scarf/gaiter – available at the road side stalls near many of the park gates. Even though temperatures are high in April (40C some days) take thin long sleeved tops to avoid sunburn – jeeps are open and safaris are 3-4 hours. The heat is dry – so not as unbearable as you would imagine – and all hotel rooms had fans and AC.” – Christine Chapman
Photo credits: [Tempchart: elkhiki] [Photographing: ] [Beyond tiger: JP Bennett] [Tip2: elkhiki] [Helpdesk: JP Bennett] [Tip1: NH53]

Written by: Joanna Simmons
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