A river, which is a source of life not only to human beings, but a vast population of wildlife which thrives in its backwaters in Nagerhole National Park.
This blog is dedicated to Kabini Forest Reserve, a mystic abode to a wide range of flora and fauna, which has time and again, charmed visitors by its hidden treasures. I was no exception.
Here are the details:
Kabini Forest Reserve, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park (not sure why?), is accessible to general public via Jungle safaris – land and water. The place is approx. 250KM. from Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. Preferred mode of transportation is by road. There are several private resorts for a luxurious stay, in addition to government-run Jungle lodges. Choose as per your requirements and affordability. NO gyaan there. Also, before you visit this place, it is very important to set your expectations right. This is not a Zoo or open grasslands to the likes of South Africa. These are dense forests, a home for animals where they are expected to breathe free air and not be at your beck and call.It is imperative that you are a nature lover, have hoards of patience and are in the company of like-minded people. If these hold true, you are in for a treat.
I stayed at The Serai for 2N/3D and enjoyed 2 land – evening/morning and 1 evening water safaris, via the services offered by Jungle Lodges.
For our first land safari, since it was only 3 of us with no one else from our resort, we were lucky to be accommodated in an open safari jeep with Orange County folks and Naturalist Sharath. My happiness knew no bounds.
The way to jungle is via a small agricultural village.
There is a check post just before jungle entrance, with apt hoardings informing you as to what lies ahead.
Post a short 10 min drive, you are inside a foreign territory, albeit more peaceful and exciting than your habitat.
These forests have spotted deer in abundance. They always travel in herds – male, female and kids. With their beautiful polka dots and mesmerizing eyes, I had always founds these creatures really beautiful.
Before I proceed, I ought to talk about Sharath – an ever smiling guy who kept us well-informed about the habitat and it’s inhabitants. For e.g. he mentioned that male deer shed their antlers during this season, and then grow a completely new set – why, find out for yourself.
He then talked about the friendship between Langoors and deers, as to how in summer months, you could see deer just below the trees to feed on leaves whose stalks had been eaten by langoors. Speaking of langoors, Kabini is infested with them. They can be seen in their most playful form during morning hours when they would swing on branches, with the agility of an acrobat. Trying to shoot them would only remind you of Leonardo in “Catch Me If you Can”.
As we made our way through the rugged roads, we spotted Sambar deer, trying to fathom as to who the onlookers are..
Next was the turn of mongoose – These are biggest mongoose in Asia. We came across a mom-kid duo, busy burrowing. They neither allowed us to stop nor pass, and when we did, the mom stood her two legs to ensure that we don’t return to interfere in their activities.
All this while, we were on the trail of the big cat and luck was nowhere in sight. Meanwhile we spotted an eagle, and forgive me for not remembering the name of same. I was hardly able to see it. Thanks to my co-passenger for clicking this shot.
We were now headed to the water hole, where a tigress had been frequenting with her cubs. Sharath mentioned that she is pretty bold, well as a matter of fact, we know.
The driver spotted pug marks and got us all intrigued – where is she ?
We waited for her, at the famous Tiger Tank. Alas, the wait didn’t yield any results. All this while, Sharath kept our hopes alive, though somewhere deep inside I had given up . Done with our 2 hr safari quota, we started the tread, back home. Suddenly, Sharath signaled, TIGER – and there she was,
sitting nice and cozy in her drawing-room, ready for the evening show – we were the performers – frantic, excited and speechless. As my camera swung into action, she laid there calm and quite . In the meantime, Sharath informed other jeeps of the sighting and I was rebuked for not using a silencer in the camera. As the jeeps arrived, our tigress , disturbed and upset, wandered inside , to hide from the paparazzi.
This is the thrill of jungle safaris – to watch these cats in their natural self. Happy and contended we headed back, waiting for the next expedition.
Well, as luck would have it, the morning safari turned out to be a dampener in every way: company, vehicle and sightings.
To start with, we were shoved in a canter with a bunch of jerks, who didn’t have any idea as to what a safari is. They used camera flashes, slept during the drive, made loud noises and expected the tiger to wait for them at the exit point. Nevertheless, I managed to capture a couple of early morning routines.
The first were these set of twin turtles:
Next was the green winged pigeon.
There was a short rest room break near the bungalow of forest guards.
Had never heard of these before, so please ensure that you do not leave your resorts in anticipation of one.
The canter with its most frustrated inmate.
An important trivia : Tigers mark their territory during mating , by such bark scratches..
Though I didn’t click the flora, took couple of shots, to take back the essence.
A meandering road through the forest thickness
Jungle sunrise though the mist..
This brings us to an end of our land safari sojourn.
See you soon on the banks of Kabini, where I’ll unfold our boat safari experience.