Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Big Cats of India 

- "The only overland trip with Tigers, Lions, leopards and tons of other wildlife in one trip" 

When you think about wildlife safaris, probably the first picture that your mind paints is that of Africa and its charismatic big cats. Well its very exciting but what's more exciting is when you can see world's three big cats in one overland safari trip. And where? India!
Yes! India is the only country in the world to have Tigers, lions and leopards all in its wilderness. In fact India had cheetahs as well but they were unfortunately hunted to extinction in the mid 20th century. 
Overland Expeditions India runs a trip called 'Big Cats of India' in the months of December, February and April every year. Below you can read about our recently concluded trip from February. 

The trip begins in the Central Indian city of Jabalpur. It is such a convenient place to start an overland trip from. With daily flights and trains from Delhi and Mumbai, getting there for our travelers is never a problem. For the crew as well, there are bazaars and supermarket to shop from, workshops to get the vehicle checked etc. 

1. Jabalpur - Pench

A pit stop on the way to Pench

Our lovely campsite with a shady Banyan tree

Our cook group in action

Even though Pench is not the most popular park in India, it has been on top of our guests' list. It never ceases to excite. It has one of the highest herbivore density in India and also supports a large number of predators. Even if you are not seeing the big cats, there is always something else present around you, may be a jackal looking to ambush a deer fawn, gaur bulls sizing each other or just a troop of monkeys swinging down the areal roots of the banyans. Pench is particularly good for leopard sightings as it has the best rocky and undulating habitat. 

Gleaming leopard on a rock in Pench

Pench is also home to the whistling hunters or the Asiatic wild dogs. Due to the high prey density, this habitat can support good numbers of dogs. They also have the wide open grasslands where they like to hunt the spotted deer. 

A wild dog surveying the grasslands of Pench

All packed up to move to the next destination