Around Bangalore

Nagarhole forest and encounter with the beast

12:00 PM

Nagarhole forest is at the edge of karnataka and kerala border, and many of the fellow travellers have encountered this place on the way to ooty or wyanad or southern coorg. But what we see while passing through it is just tip of the iceberg, the wildlife and density of this forest is immense. Animals live in their natural habitat and can be visited during the Nagarhole safari.
There is a huge difference between the jungle safari at Nagarhole or Bandipur forest v/s the one in Bannerghatta national park. Here we are in an open jeep, in the midst of a jungle and we have to literally search for animals. The surroundings are more genuine and a bit scary too.
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How to go-

The distance from Bangalore to Nagarhole national park is 224 kms. The best way is to drive your own vehicle or take a hired cab. Public transport is not that great.
The route is straightforward - Bangalore to Mysore and from there you need to switch to google maps - there are no signboards, but thankfully good network coverage, so google maps helped us reach there.
Nagarhole forest safari was part of our trip to Kabini. We stayed at Kabini Jungle lodges and as part of the stay 2 safari were included - one Jeep safari to Nagarhole and another boat safari to in the Kabini river. If you are staying at the Jungle lodges, then it will include this safari, otherwise, we need to book the safari with the Nargarhole national park - The timings are two times in a day -
morning 6.30 am and another in afternoon 3.30 pm.
This is a 3 hour open jeep safari and charges are around 1600/- per head/-
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Where to stay -

There are many options to stay in Kabini - some popular ones are Red Earth (have heard really good reviews), Orange County and Serai. These are expensive and also you need to book the safari separately. We decided to stay at Kabini River lodges from Jungle lodges and this includes the Jungle safari and River safari each of 3 hours - and it is more reasonable than the others.

 The booking for Kabini Jungle lodges can be done here -
http://www.junglelodges.com/kabini-river-lodge/

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Experience -

The national park is about 20 mins away from the Kabini river lodges. The jeep has 6 seats and is open from all sides. The best tie to travel there is during winters I believe. We travelled during Jan-Feb and it was quite hot. The forest was very dry and I wished a drop of rain could moist the air. However, the chances of spotting animals are higher during winters than during monsoon. The first half of the safari was very boring, the same old deer and nothing else except wandering in the sun searching for some animal to see. We had to even see squirrels with binoculars. But as the sun started cooling down, suddenly we heard lots of langurs making noises and the birds squealing. Our driver told us that this is a signal that predator is around. We were asked to stay silent and follow the ques. Our jeep went deeper into the jungle and there it was. We spotted a leopard, waiting for his prey. So graceful and powerful.
http://travelhues.blogspot.in

It kind of crossed our jeep, just by the side and we were so scared, none of us uttered a word. The leopard went back into the bushes, we stood there, in our jeep and the driver followed cues from the fellow animals. It seems the entire jungle starts alerting each other when a predator is around. Nature is marvelous. The deer started running in different directors and the predator was slowly making his moves, waiting for the right moment.
The sun set on the horizon and it was time to get back.

http://travelhues.blogspot.in
Amazing journey to Nagarhole. My only advice is to carry to better camera with good zoom functionality. Mine was a simple Sony cybershot 10x zoom camera, but it was insufficient to capture photos of far away animals.
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22 comments

  1. Wow, Leopard looks majestic! Its great you could spot a leopard. Last time my friends went there and their entire experience was like your initial experience before you spotted the leopard.
    Great post!

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    1. Thanks Arun :) True.. I had almost started cribbing about this expensive safari as we were not seeing anything much.. but ThankGod we spotted the big cat and it was all worth to go there :)

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  2. that's lots of good sightings... good clicks

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  3. It feels so good when there are multiple animal spotting on a safari!

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  4. Wow. You spotted the leopard and clicked it too. That's a precious feat!

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    1. Yes.. It was real fun and the trip became memorable becoz of the Leopard!!!

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  5. Oooh! Envy! :)
    You saw a leopard!!!!
    Great captures.

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  6. Great post Sneh and I loved your pictures. As you rightly said, I've crossed Bandipur and Nagarhole but never stepped into the jungle. Thank you for sharing the staying options. I am aware we won't be to afford the Red Earth or Bison. And when I plan, I'll reach out to you for tips. :)

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    1. Thanks Parul :) Sure, I will help you when you plan your trip :)

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  7. Wonderful shots. You sure had a great time.

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  8. you are damn lucky to spot the beast, we went to Nagarhole (years back) but just saw elephants :)

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    1. Ohh.. disappointment only to see elephants.. yeah thank god we spotted leopard otherwise trip wont be so memorable!!!

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  9. Such an amazing leopard sighting! My leopard sighting count is still firmly stuck at zero! I I were you, I would watermark those pictures!

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    1. Thanks Mridula... yes but I don't know how to watermark these pictures, I just upload it directly from my phone :(

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