Here's Your Wildlife Weekend Getaway Guide From Nagpur

Here's Your Wildlife Weekend Getaway Guide From Nagpur
Discover the wildlife around Nagpur to witness the majesty of the tiger in person(Representative Image) , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The zero mile city, Nagpur, is best suited to explore wildlife reserves of Maharashtra in all directions

Uttara Gangopadhyay
October 11 , 2019
19 Min Read

Nagpur, popularly known as the ‘city of oranges’, is an important commercial and transportation hub of Maharashtra. The traffic, the crowd, the noise can be overpowering at times as the new city grows out of its old shell. But did you know Nagpur is also the base from where you may drive to some of the popular as well as lesser known wildlife reserves of India?

BOR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

 
 
 
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This former game reserve was turned into a wildlife sanctuary to protect the drainage basin of the Bor Dam and the biodiversity of the region. Divided into Bor and New Bor, it is one of the smallest and least known tiger reserves of India. Besides its flagship animal, you are likely to see nilgai, gaur, cheetal, sambhar, resident and migratory birds, etc. Usually, Bor is visited in conjunction with any of its more popular neighbours, such as Pench or Nagzira. Tourists can enter either through the Bordharan or the Adegaon gates (closed on Mondays).
Distance from Nagpur: 72.6 km or 1 hour 45 minute drive

MELGHAT TIGER RESERVE

 
 
 
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Tucked inside the Satpura hill range in Amravati district, this tiger reserve is marked by high slopes and deep valleys, with many streams cutting across it. One of the first nine Project Tiger reserves of India declared in 1974, this 3600 sq km tiger reserve consists of the Gugamal National Park, Melghat Wildlife Sanctuary and several protected areas. Largely covered with dense teak forests and its associated plants, the forest is rich in animal species, with some of the major attractions being Indian Pangolin, Indian Wolf, wild dog, jackal, sloth bear, stripped hyena, jungle cat, wild boar, gaur, deer and antelopes. This is a forest that will delight birding enthusiasts. According to frequent visitors, the forest runs through a series of elevations and the concentration of animals depend on the flora and the prey base. So better check with your guide. The Nature Interpretation Centres at Semadoh (about 25km by road from the popular hill station Chikaldhara) and Gullarghat will give you an idea about the local fauna and flora (including medicinal plants found here).
Distance from Nagpur: Semadoh is 242.6 km or 5 hour drive

NAVEGAON NAGZIRA TIGER RESERVE

 
 
 
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Often referred to in tandem, these are separate zones and have several entry points. Navegaon takes its name from the Navegaon Lake, which was apparently dug by the erstwhile Gond rulers to water the agricultural fields. Today, the lake and its vicinity is home to a large number of birds. Some of the key mammals include tigers, leopards, sloth bears, spotted deer, etc. The park is also home to many varieties of butterflies. The diverse vegetation o Nagzira, including teak, Mahuwa, Ain, Jamun and other trees, adds colour to this sprawling forest. Sloth bears and large packs of wild dogs are not difficult to find. But the tigers often remain elusive. The lake inside the forest is home to many birds, especially in winter. Located in the eastern part of Maharashtra, NNTR has several entry points (closed on Thursdays and Fridays depending on the gates).
Distance from Nagpur: Pitezari is 121.6 km or 2 hour 56 minute drive

PENCH TIGER RESERVE

 
 
 
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This tiger reserve in central India, which takes its name from the Pench River flowing through it, is shared by Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Sillari (closed on Wednesdays; other gates closed on different days) is the most convenient gate to enter the Maharashtra side of the forest. Located where the Satpura Range meets the Maikal Range, this park consists of diverse topography and forest types, which make it an ideal home for a large variety of fauna, from insects to mammals. Besides the tiger, you are likely to see leopards, gaur, wild dog, and a variety of deer as well as a large number of birds. The Pench Reservoir and other large waterbodies inside the park are visited by migratory birds in winter. You may also visit the Ambakhori waterfalls.
Distance from Nagpur: Sillari is 67.6 km or 1 hour 38 minute drive

TADOBA-ANDHARI TIGER RESERVE 

 
 
 
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The frequency of tiger sightings in the past few years has catapulted the Tadoba National Park (named after the tribal god Taru) into global fame. Along with the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary (named after the eponymous river flowing through it), it represents the southern tropical dry deciduous forest. The Telia Lake inside the forest, a favourite watering hole of the tigers, often sees a long queue of tourist vehicles lined up against its shore. Other animals that you are likely to come across in TATR are leopard, sloth bear, gaur, wild dog, cheetal, sambar, wild boar, etc. The tiger reserve is also a favourite with bird lovers. The recently developed Buffer Zone is also good for animal sightings. Moharli is the most convenient entry point because of its accessibility and range of accommodations available.
Distance from Nagpur: Moharli is 144 km or 3 hour drive

TIPESHWAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

 
 
 
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Named after the nearby Tipeshwar village, the abode of Goddess Tipai, this wildlife sanctuary is situated in the southern corner of Maharashtra. Definitely plan a visit if you are travelling between Nagpur and Hyderabad by road. As in most central Indian forests, tiger is the flagship species. Other inhabitants include blackbuck, nilgai,sambhar, sloth bear, wild boar, etc. The Tipeshwar Lake inside the forest is a pleasant spot (water level dependent on weather). Entry to the sanctuary is allowed through the Sunna and Mathani gates (closed on Mondays). Limited accommodation in the vicinity.
Distance from Nagpur: 193 km or 4 hour 10 minute drive

UMRED KARHANDLA PAONI SANCTUARY

 
 
 
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This little known wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra shot to fame when tiger Jai migrated here from Nagzira a few years ago. Even today, wildlife experts are puzzled how this male tiger crossed populated villages and highways without being detected. Although Jai and a couple of his children have mysteriously disappeared between 2016 and 2018, the park has recently seen a revival in the number of tiger cubs, according to media reports. Keep a look out for these cubs while you enjoy the forest and its other inhabitants, such as gaur, wild dog, pangolins, etc. A narrow corridor along the Wainganga River connects UKPS with Tadoba. There are four entry gates – Karhandla, Gothangaon, Pullar (all three closed on Mondays) and Pauni (closed on Tuesday).
Distance from Nagpur: 92.8 km or 2 hour drive

INFORMATION:
The above wildlife reserves can be also visited from Mumbai because Nagpur is well connected to the capital city by air, road and rail. By road, Nagpur is about 820km from Mumbai. By air, it takes around 1.5 hours. There are many trains, which usually cover the distance between 12 and 14 hours.

For safari timings, number of vehicles allowed per gate and compulsory online booking of entry permits, refer to Maharashtra Eco Tourism website. Also do not forget to check with the forest department about the latest information on park closure dates before making final plans.

The parks remain closed during monsoon (usually between July and mid-October). The best time to visit is between November and March. Summer temperatures are extremely high but this is the time when you are likely to get the best tiger sightings.

 


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