Holiday review by Mrs Henrietta Ashley Soffe
Name: Mrs Henrietta Ashley Soffe
Date of trip: 24/11/2012
Number of people: 2
Late one afternoon at Kanha we saw a sloth bear in all its magnificent glory. How lucky we were as most people didn't have this chance.
On our fifth and last game drive at Bandhavgarh, at about 16.30, we came round a bend and saw a magnificent tigress lying across the track where she remained for a full five minutes (until a forest guide in a second jeep started shouting and waving his arms, someone whistled loudly to attract other vehicles and a woman in our jeep used a flash). Then she wandered slowly to one side of the track, sprayed against some bamboo, back across the track to 'hug' a tree, scratch and spray before walking slowly into the jungle. Brilliant.
Wildlife and birds exceeded expectations, particularly in Bandhavgarh and Kanha. Having been to Goa recently and visited Sri Lanka five times, we were not too optimistic about seeing many new birds but, with the expert help of guides at the above two parks, were amazed at all the new sightings.
All aspects of Tribes input were excellent. However, the same cannot be said for the ground operator. On arrival at the Delhi hotel we were presented with their version of our itinerary which differed in several important ways from that received from Tribes - eg one night only at Kanha Jungle Lodge plus two elsewhere at Kisli gate; shared jeep at Kanha; hotel vouchers missing entire days/nights; transfer from Mumbai domestic to international airports to be taken by complimentary shuttle. I strongly pointed out errors and eventually these details were changed, we were met in Mumbai and transferred by car. However, all these documents were supposed to be corrected and brought to us on departure from Delhi - only a driver appeared and NO DOCUMENTS. In the end Travel Inn paid our small bar bill in Pench to compensate but I don't feel they are giving the standard of service you probably expect from them. Thanks very much Paul for your efforts booking our Jet seats - outbound flight was packed with only random single seats available.
Naturalist at Bandhavgarh Tree House Hideaway (Chitsi?? known as Kay) was really excellent and passionate about birds. Also Vinay at Kanha Jungle Lodge - very patient and knowledgeable. Pench guides were impatient and only intent on 'alarm calls' and pug marks!
The driver supplied by Radiant was Anil - fantastic driver, even on some truly dreadful stretches of roads, always obliging and prompt. He drove for us throughout the trip.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
Our opinions of the animals being quite content with tourists was confirmed with some wildlife viewed from only a few metres away. It did seem that the park guides were mostly just there for the ride though two were quite knowledgeable and keen to participate. One at Pench even left our vehicle to urinate behind the jeep - risking a fine and suspension, doing the very thing he was there to prevent ...