Whilst easily accessed by road, rail or air, Satpura National Park has seen only very limited development, and remains amongst the quietest of the national parks in Central India at the moment, with only a limited number of lodges outside the park and vehicles within it. The terrain of the park is more rugged than most of the parks in the region, with many hills and ridges, and the vegetation is a mixture of dense sal and teak forest, with some open meadows along the banks of the Tawa Reservoir.
Although the network of trails within the park is limited, unlike the other parks in Central India the park authorities encourage walking safaris within the core area of Satpura. Walking through the forest gives a very different experience from the game drives that are common elsewhere in the region, with a much more intimate experience of the flora and fauna. On a walk within the park, I had the amazing experience of watching a pack of wild dogs hunting samba deer. There are hides set up inside the park overlooking some of the best places for wildlife. Kayaking should also be available on Tawa Reservoir, Indian bureaucracy permitting.
Satpura is a Tiger Reserve, though tigers are not commonly seen within the park. However, the small numbers of tigers allow the species which are chased out by the big cats to thrive in Satpura. Sloth bears are commonly seen here, and this is also a good place for seeing leopards, wild dogs and jackals. The birding in the national park and the surrounding area is also excellent.
Satpura is not the best place in India for seeing tigers - there are plenty of other parks for that - but is a great place to experience Indian wildlife in a much more intimate setting. If you have been to India before and have already seen tigers, it makes a great place to spend some time exploring other aspects of Indian wildlife at a more leisurely pace. If it is your first trip to Central India, Satpura combines very well with the other national parks of the region to give a very rounded view of the wildlife of the area.
Time: GMT +5½ hours
Flight time: Flight time from London to Delhi is 8 hours 30 minutes and to Mumbai is about 8 hours.
Language: The official language is Hindi, which about 30% of the population speaks. English is very widely spoken and is used for official and commercial purposes.
Visas: Required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.
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