India is a great place for a wildlife tour and there are different wildlife lodges positioned near some of the best wildlife reserves for seeing many different birds and animals. For many nature lovers, the favorite animals to see on an Indian safari are the famous big cats, such as tigers and leopards, but there are many more iconic animals to see, including hornbills, elephants, Indian bison, bonnet macaque, common langur, chital, sambar, and sloth bears. We will cover two fascinating areas and recommend an Indian wildlife lodge and tour to make the most of the experience.
Nagarhole National Park
A great place for an Indian safari, Nagarhole National Park is home to one of the world’s largest populations of Asian elephants and is a great place to see other wildlife. This is located very close to the Bandipur protected area and shares equal animals and plants but sees much fewer tourists, which makes it a little more exclusive.
In addition to the elephants, Nagarhole protects chital, sambar, gaur, leopards, tigers, and many others. The area has a balanced population of top predators, which demonstrates a healthy park and a great place for wildlife. Covering around 160,000 acres (645 square kilometers), Nagarhole National Park is located in southern India and named after the river running through the park’s center.
This protected area was the thirty seventh Project Tiger tiger reserve and is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Mostly covered by forest, Nagarhole features attractive scenery like waterfalls, hills and many different streams. The area is also home to a scenic lake to see many different animals and a high amount of waterfowl.
The birdlife you can enjoy seeing include over 270 different species, such as hornbills, bee-eaters, osprey, and also endangered species like the Oriental white-backed vulture and the greater spotted eagle.
To make sure you get the best experience, the park is often closed between July and October when the heavy rains come. The best time to visit the park for wildlife is summer, which is between April and May but be prepared for hot weather.
Wildlife Lodge for Nagarhole National Park
A great lodge to visit for the Nagarhole National Park is the Orange County Kabini Resort. This is a very comfortable and award-winning luxury resort providing fantastic tours into the Nagarhole National Park and surroundings. Orange County Kabini features two restaurants serving delicious food and an infinity pool to relax after your day of wildlife watching. From the lodge, you can enjoy different safaris, such as nature walks, game drives, boat trips, and night tours scouting for a wide range of animals, including a high amount of Asian elephants.
Satpura Tiger Reserve
The Satpura Tiger Reserve is another fantastic area for a wildlife lodge. Covering over 350,000 acres, Satpura Tiger Reserve is located in central India and protects a fantastic section of highland ecosystem. The protected area includes the Bori and Pachmarhi wildlife sanctuaries and has a healthy, although elusive, population of big cats.
The reserve includes one of India’s oldest forest preserves, which was known as the Bori Reserve Forest located at the foothills of the Satpura Range. Together, the Satpura, Bori and Pachmarhi reserves form the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO recognised protected area.
The reserve is mainly covered in thick dry-deciduous forest and includes many lakes and streams. Satpura is then dotted with large hardwood teak with pockets of bamboo and deep gorges. It was the teak deforestation that led to the protection of Bori preserve in 1865, 40 years after the world’s first ever purposely protected nature reserve (the naturalist Charles Waterton protected the area around his own estate from poachers in 1821 in Yorkshire, England).
Regarded as one of the top tiger reserves in India, Satpura is a great destination for a wildlife tour and won an award for being India’s most visitor friendly wildlife destination. The area protects a range of wildlife, including tigers, leopards, sambar, gaur, wild dog, chital, plus a diversity of birdlife.
A fantastic riverway for birding in the Satpura Tiger Reserve is the Denwa river, which flows from the northern part of the park into the tawa dam. You will visit the area on tours from Reni Pani Jungle Lodge below.
In addition to the abundant wildlife, the park is home to some great scenery, ranging from deep gorges and ravines through to riverways and lakes. There is much of the reserve that remains waiting to be unexplored.
Wildlife Lodge for Satpura Tiger Reserve
Our recommended lodge for the Satpura Tiger Reserve is the Reni Pani Jungle Lodge. Enjoy birdwatching, game drives, wildlife walks, canoeing and cultural tours while staying at Reni Pani’s individual forest cottages.