Indian Wild Dog
Indian Wild Dog

When you hear the word Tadoba you will most definitely associate it with tigers, many of whom have been given names such as Waghdoh, Maya, Choti Tara and so on. You may have even seen pictures of these and more all over social media. Yes, tiger sightings are great in Tadoba leaving many visitors chuffed beyond imagination but the Park's management has slowly but surely started new initiatives to engage visitors in activities other than the jungle safari. There is more to a jungle than the big cat and I am happy to see a National Park in India where you can go beyond a safari. Visit and follow our Instagram page to see photos from Tadoba and other national parks we cover.

But before we get in to the details of these activities, let me tell you more about the Park and it's whereabouts. 

Forest Department Office, Chandrapur
Forest Department Office, Chandrapur

Tadoba-Andhari National Park is located in the state of Maharashtra. It comprises of Tadoba National Park (Tadoba from the name of a village chief 'Taru' who died fighting a tiger) and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary named after the Andhari river that flows through the Park. The closest airport is Nagpur and from there it takes about 03 hours by car to reach Chandrapur, the closest town to the Park. Chandrapur has great train connectivity from Delhi, Mumbai and several cities in the Southern part of India. Unfortunately, Chandrapur has nothing much to offer a tourist other than being a transit point. The town is a bustling center for coal mining and has a thermal power plant.

Chandrapur Train Station
Chandrapur Train Station

Over time, the debris from mining has transformed in to hillocks and vegetation has started growing on them. Now the same man made hillocks dotting the town of Chandrapur are frequented by tiger, sloth bear and leopard. With an abundance of easy prey such as feral dogs and cattle some animals are able to thrive so close to civilization. 

Tadoba wildlife
Indian Gaur

Driving from Chandrapur to Moharli village (Moharli is where you stay if you're scheduled to do jungle safaris in the Moharli gate area) takes about 45 minutes by car. Best to pre-arrange a taxi to pick you up from the train station in Chandrapur or from the airport in Nagpur. There are no ride sharing facilities and public transportation is not very efficient.

Tadoba forest
Tadoba's bio-diverse forests

The Park comprises primarily of southern tropical dry deciduous teak forest. It also has a sizeable area comprising of bamboo thickets and other shrubs which make the forest floor dense and visibility poor other than in the summer. Besides tiger, the Park is famous for Indian Wild Dog (dhole), gaur (Indian bison), leopard, hyena, honey badger, several species of angulates, marsh crocodiles in the water bodies, over 195 species of birds and 74 species of butterflies.

Tadoba National Park Map

The Park is split in to core and buffer gates from where visitors are allowed to enter. Core gates include Moharli, Khutwanda, Navegaon, Kolara, Kolsa and Pangdi. The most popular of these are Moharli and Kolara. Buffer zone gates include Alizanza, Devada Adegaon, Agarzari, Kolara Buffer, Ramdegi and Junona. 

Human animal conflict in Tadoba
Farming in Tadoba Buffer Zone

The difference between core and buffer is that in core areas there are no villages and grazing of livestock and collecting minor or major forest produce is not allowed. In the buffer there are several villages (estimated population in villages in the buffer area of Tadoba is 100,000) who co-exist with wildlife, often resulting in human-animal conflict. 

teak tree leaves
Massive leaves of the Teak tree

In the buffer, villagers are allowed to graze livestock, farm and collect minor forest produce such as resin, fodder, leaves, wild fruit, honey, tendu leaves (used for making tobacco bidis), mahua flower, bamboo etc. The core area of the Park is closed in the monsoon from July 1 - September 30. Buffer on the other hand is open to the public throughout the year and jungle safaris are permissible provided the jungle trails are not washed out by heavy rains. During the monsoon, I recommend you book safari permits on the day of the safari rather than online. If it rains heavily and the safaris are canceled, you will not get a refund if you booked your safari online. 

Tigers of Tadoba
A tigress named W
Photo Credits: Pushkar Nargolkar

Rule of thumb - book a resort close to the entry gate you are scheduled to enter the park from. Distance between the park gates are significant and you should aim to minimize the time it takes to get from your resort to the gate. Sleeping close to the gate also keeps your gate transfer costs low. Safaris are done in the mornings and afternoons and safari timings vary depending on the season. 

Spotted deer Tadoba
Spotted deer crossing during safari

You need to book safari permits way in advance as the number of authorized gypsies (4x4 open top vehicles) is limited and tend to sell out very fast. Each safari includes a driver, a guide and six other guests, though I recommend not more than four guests per gypsy so you don't rub shoulders with each other. Usage of mobile phones is not allowed in the Park, camera fees need to be paid upon entry, consuming food, alcohol, smoking and littering is strictly prohibited and getting off the vehicle during the safari can result in a fine and other severe repercussions. 

Frogs of Tadoba
Fungoid Frog

Besides jungle safaris, visitors can enjoy an array of activities in and around the Park. These activities are organized by the Forest Department and are subject to availability and may not operate due to reasons beyond man's control. Please check their operational status when you plan your trip.
  • Boating: If you happen to be staying in Moharli area, you can do a boat side on the Irai dam backwaters. Boat rides give you an excellent opportunity to spot migratory birds, marsh crocodiles and who knows - maybe even other wildlife grazing or resting in the shade by the lake. Boat rides are for an hour long and upwards and can be booked on the spot too. Boating is best from November onwards when the water level recedes. 
Butterfly Park Tadoba
Lime Butterfly & Giant Wood Spider
  • Butterfly garden: if you like your butterflies, then a visit to the butterfly garden near the Agarzari gate is highly recommended. Tadoba has recorded over 70 species of butterflies, moths and the like. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket counter and on the spot. Make sure to visit the butterfly interpretation center too. 
  • Cycling: Yes, now you can cycle through designated buffer areas of the Park in groups of four along with two trained and experienced guides. How thrilling and adventurous is that! Ride times are up to 03 hours and on metal roads that pass through the jungle. During the ride, you are not allowed to get off the bi-cycle.
  • Night patrolling: is not only a great way to see the forest at night but also to see the nocturnal behavior of species seen during the day and species that are only active after dark, such as the honey badger, smaller cat species and owls. Night patrolling is done in a gypsy and in buffer gates with a guide. 
  • Sit on a Machan: machans are elevated posts traditionally made of wood but now of steel as well. Machans give you a vantage point and are normally built around areas frequented by wildlife such as water holes and paths/tracks. You can sit on a machan from 5:30am to 9:00am when most animals and birds are active and observe their behavior safely from the ground up. This activity is also available only in the buffer area of the Park. 

Please Note:
  • There is no guarantee that you will see the above wildlife. The river and / or sanctuary is their habitat and sightings depend on water level in the river, human interference and climatic conditions which affect the migratory pattern of birds. Most of these are beyond your and my control. I will do my best to show you all there is to see. 
  • What to carry during the safari: photo identification, camera, binoculars, warm jacket (in the winter), backpack, sun glasses, cap, vizer, sun block, some cash, and drinking water.
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol is strictly not permitted in National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • Please do not throw trash on the floor even if you don't see a trash can. Please ask me or your gypsy driver / guide and we can help to dispose it off properly.
  • To prevent any disturbance to wildlife, I do not permit the use of any call playback to attract birds and feeding or baiting of wildlife. Despite this, if you do and are caught by the authorities or called out by locals or fellow wildlife enthusiasts, then you are entirely on your own - embarrassment, fines and other penalties as per the local laws governing national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are to be borne by you.

If you are keen to visit Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, please contact info@travelwith.in or call +91 9717148483