Travel Guide for Pench National Park (MP)
Destination Type :
Wildlife/National Park/Tiger Reserve
What to expect :
Pench National Park had been established as a tiger reserve in 1992 and currently contains around 40 tigers in approximate 300 SQ. KM area. The park is in close vicinity of Kanha National Park and provides similar ecological environment.
Apart from tigers, it also serves as home for Leopards, Jackals and Wild Dogs. There are many varieties of birds as well, in both core and buffer area of the forest.
Reaching there :
Pench Tiger Reserve is spread across both Maharashtra & Madhya Pradesh with more than 5 functioning entry gate. If you are visiting from Maharashtra side, Sillari would be most preferred choice of gate and same in Madhya Pradesh side would be Turia gate. Most hotels are located near Turia. So it’s better & less expensive to stay at Turia, unless you are specifically interested in some other zone.
Nagpur is the nearest Airport/Rail head from Turia (120 KM). You can book a cab from airport/station to reach final destination or hire a cab for the whole trip through any travel agency. Note that, you won’t find much transportation option from Turia during your return journey. So you may want to book a cab in advance from Nagpur, else you can get the same through the hotel where you will be staying.
If you are in mind to take the local transport instead, you will need to first take a cab from airport for bus stand in Nagpur city, then take a bus from there. There are very few direct buses. So better to take a bus till Ramtek and from there another bus till Khawasa. That’s as far as the buses will take you. From Khawasa, you will get Jeeps to take you till your hotel.
You can also choose to come from Jabalpur. Distance is around 200 KM. Buses running from Jabalpur to Nagpur usually passes through Khawasa.
A smaller railway station Seoni is available 30 KM from the park. However only a handful of trains halt in this station, making it not a very feasible mode of commute.
Move around :
Hotels are usually located in the buffer zone of forest. Each hotel is isolated from others. While you are in Pench, you won’t be really moving around much. However if need be, you will need to arrange for Jeep or cab with help of hotel. Or you can collect contacts of some drivers at Khawasa while making your way to your hotel.
Major Attractions :
Major attraction in Pench is the tiger reserve, only attraction one should care about at least. While tiger density is not as high as many other forests in India, there’s good chance of spotting a tiger during summer season due to the dryness of the forest.
There are two rounds of safaris available everyday – morning 6 to 11 and evening 3 to 6. Safaris can be booked through government site (MP or Maharastra) or through hotel. If safaris are booked online, same is applicable only for entry to forest and the gypsy for travel has to be arranged separately.
Best time to visit :
Like most other national parks, Pench tiger Reserve is open from October to May or June. Park is closed during monsoon. One can visit anytime during these months. Summer time is good for tiger sighting due to water scarcity. However many prefer to visit during Feb/March when the weather is most pleasant.
Places to stay :
There are many hotels in medium budget near Turia gate with tariff around 5,000 per night including all meals. I have personally stayed in “Tiger n’ Woods”. But one can also opt for Tribal Camp, Tuli Tiger Corridor, Village Machan etc.
For a higher budget Taj Bhagban, Tathastu and Jamtara Wilderness Camp are good options.
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