“Take in the flora and fauna as a whole – not just tigers.”
There are morning and evening safaris in Kanha National Park (Wednesday afternoons are closed). Kanha is among the top five tiger parks in India.The habitat is an enchanting mix of dense deciduous forest and open meadows – quintessential Kipling country. You will see large herds of spotted deer, sambar, barking deer and hard ground barasingha (till recently unique to Kanha). The Indian bison or gaur is a local inhabitant, as are leopards, wild dog, jackal, civet, wild boar, mongoose and porcupine. The real pleasure in safaris is to take in the flora and fauna as a whole, rather than being tiger-driven. But once you sight the Big Cat, you are completely in its trance.
We can book a walk in the nature trail set up by the forest department. You will be accompanied by a trained guide (and usually one of us) on this 6-7km trail. Experiencing the forest on foot allows you to see trees, flowers and the general habitat at a closer range. The beautiful Banjar River adds to the charm of the surroundings.
Salban is the birdwatcher’s paradise. You will see different birds according to the seasons, and hear their morning song and mating calls. Grey Hornbills, Oriental Scops Owl, Indian Nightjar, Racquet-tailed Drongo, Crow Pheasant, Crested Serpent Eagle, Flame Backed Woodpecker, Ground Thrush are some of birds you can observe at close range. (Click here for the full birds list).
You can observe myriad butterflies and insects - and identify them using the ‘Photographic Guide to the Wildlife of Central India’ – edited by Sheema); learn about trees of the region, and their seasonal cycle; and generally observe how the villagers live in close coexistence with the forest and nature.
There is a large water body behind Salban, which is ideal for early morning and evening walks. Lined by the forest on one side, you can sometimes spot chital, sambar and langurs. In winter, you can see flocks of visiting ducks at the lake.
To get the best out of your visit to Salban, treat it as an immersive experience in the midst of Nature. The sound of the wind rustling in the trees and the chirping of crickets creates its own music here. Time goes by at an unhurried pace, and you will forget to compulsively check your cell phone every minute. Give yourself up to the spirit of the forest and savour your simple surroundings. Breathe in the fresh air, marvel at the night sky, and identify butterflies and insects that you never noticed before. Eat hearty meals made from our garden-fresh produce, and don’t feel guilty about over-eating as you can walk it off in the evenings. Share your stories with us, as we will ours with you. The fun is in the living! At Salban…