Tadoba Tiger Reserve
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, located at 150 kms South of Nagpur in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. Tadoba National Park was named after the local God Taru, who is worshipped as 'Tadoba'. Legend holds that Taru was apparently a village chief who was killed in a mythological encounter with a tiger.
The Tadoba Tiger Reserve consists of two north-south forest blocks. The core of the reserve is 625 sq. km along with buffer of additional 1100 sq. kms.
Tadoba has predominantly southern tropical dry deciduous forest, with teak and bamboo being the prominent species. It’s a rugged landscape comprising cliffs, caves, marshes, perennial lakes and boulder strewn streambeds that cater to a host of biodiversity.
Overlooked by tourism till recently because it was off the beaten track, it offers some wonderful wildlife experiences. It is also one of the few parks that are open all year round, offering visitors an opportunity to visit in the monsoon season when other reserves are closed.
Taboda is bursting with life. The apex species of the reserve is the tiger. Leopards and the wild dogs are some of the other carnivores that share these forests. Jackal, jungle cat, civet, sloth bear may also be encountered. The reserve is also renowned for the gaur or Indian bison. Large herds of chital and sambar are easily seen. The sturdy nilgai, chevrotain (mouse deer) and the swift-footed four-horned antelope are also residents of this reserve. The muntjac (barking deer), , common langur, flying squirrel and wild pig also abound.
Crocodiles are another highlight of the reserve. The reptilian fauna includes species such as the endangered Indian python and the common Indian monitor. Terrapins, star tortoises, common cobra and Russell’s viper also occur in Tadoba.
Tadoba is also an entomologist's paradise. 74 species of butterflies have been recorded including the pansies, monarch, mormons and swordtails. The signature spider, giant wood and red wood spiders are often seen in the monsoon and soon after.
Over 250 species of birds have been recorded including the threatened grey-headed fishing eagle. Other common birds to this area include, crested serpent eagle, crested tree swift, Indian thick-knee, honey buzzard, paradise flycatcher, bronze winged jacana and lesser golden-backed woodpecker.
Things to do
The Jeep Safari is the best thing that one can experience in Tadoba National Park. The open jeep ride is usually of 4-5 hours in the reserve, where the chances of spotting a tiger and other wild animals are relatively high.
Buffer forest surrounds core area of the reserve to give extra protection to animals and reduce man-animal conflict. Within the buffer forest there are villages that are directly depended on forest. Wood gathering, cattle grazing and collecting forest produce is allowed in buffer area while keeping core forest entirely for wildlife. Buffer area plays vital role in conservation of forest and its inhabitants. Since core area are everyone’s preferred choice for safari, buffer gets to see hardly any tourist. It is not like buffer does not have any wildlife, there are plenty of tigers, leopards, sloth bear and other animals. According to official figure there are 88 tigers, as of August 2016 in the reserve, and 58 in the buffer forest. They just keep distance from vehicle. Wildlife sightings in buffer area are truly rewarding because there is hardly any other jeep and you can enjoy tourist free forests. We encourage our guests to visit the buffer area as a separate safari to take a break from regular core zone safari and have a very different experience.
Village visit and walks
There are numerous villages that are dotted around the reserve. The local culture and people of this region make for a wonderfully enriching experience. Village walks in the rural communities present the most rewarding experience of the everyday life of a local Gond since the tours are guided by people from these very villages.
You walk through the village at an easy-going pace which allows you to meet and interact with its residents and see life down at the village level. In the village you might see people performing long ago practices like the housewife kneeling by flat stones grinding millet, the blacksmith curving out machetes from shapeless iron, as well as the traditional healer looking for medicinal plants he uses to treat the injured or sick.
Best time to visit
July - April