PolarQuest’s Maria Nordvall has always loved animals and to travel, preferably she tries to combine the two. A couple of years ago she went to India to stay at Kanha Jungle Lodge for a month. Click the link below to read more about her time in the park and at the lodge!
Maria on her first tiger meeting:
A meeting with a big cat is one of the most amazing thing one can experience on a safari, weather it is in the African bush or the Indian jungle. I am not sure where my fascination comes from. Maybe it is because all cats are so gracious and beautiful, maybe because they are top predators or because they are on the verge of being extinct.
My first tiger meeting is something I will never forget. With a newfound love for safaris, I turned my attention towards India. Suddenly I found myself in a jeep in the middle of Kanha National Park overlooking a meadow, with no other humans in sight. It was so quiet and calm and so far away from the pulsating, overpopulated India I had imagined. An incredible beautiful, red sunset was greeting us this morning and somewhere in the jungle, among the bamboo and sal trees, was the tiger. We had heard the deers alarm calls, but the tiger was where the jeep could not venture and we needed help from a mahout and his elephant. Soon we where high up on the elephant’s back, getting deeper through the jungle and out in an open grove. “Where is the tiger?” I asked. “There”, said the mahout and pointed straight below us. I looked down and gasped for air – there, in the high grass was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. I could not stop looking at her! She looked at us, made a big yawn and stood up. And with elegance she walked in to the thick jungle and left us lost for words. Meeting the largest cat in the world for the first time is an experience that leaves no one indifferent!
What happens on a an Indian safari?
To be out on safari in India is both an exciting and active experience. There is so much to see, both when it comes to the wildlife and nature. Here you can find everything from open meadows to thick jungle and hills. You set out on a safari very early in the morning and it is still dark when you enter the park in the small jeeps. This is the time when the predators are hunting. During these early morning hours you are on a constant lookout for animals and birds and at the same time you experience the jungle come alive.
Once we heard the alarm calls from the deers, they sensed something and it was getting closer. We waited in silence and suddenly a sloth bear came out of the shrubs behind us. What a lovely surprise! The character Baloo from Rudyard Kiplings ”Jungle book” is based on this little black bear. In reality it looks nothing like it but that it something that I hope you will witness for yourselves.
After a few hours in the jeep it is nice to take a break and nothing is better than an Indian breakfast in the park. During the afternoon you head back to see what it can offer. Later on a fireside dinner is waiting for you at the lodge.
Is there another special memory from the trip you like to share?
Although seeing a tiger in itself is an amazing experience but I do think it is the combination of the exciting safaris, the life at the lodge and its staff that makes the whole experience so special. The location of the lodge, in the middle of the wilderness, visitors like wild boar, deer, exotic butterflies are not uncommon. If you like Indian food this is the right place, I still miss the Indian flavours on my tongue.