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We reach Monsoon Forest lodge at Bandhavgarh

The train chugged in to Katni railway station bang on time at 5.15am and we tumbled out on the platform, still dark, and rather chilly. A driver again met us and we were soon heading for Bandhavgarh and the prospect of seeing Tigers, despite being pretty tired we were very excited.

As we reached the park boundary anticipation became even greater and we scanned the forest just in case a Tiger popped in to view! A wonderful White-throated Kingfisher posed by a small bridge, a common bird in India, but still worth a good look.

WT Kingfisher

We arrived at the newly opened Monsoon Forest lodge and wow what a place! Everything was just wonderful; the main building was finished to a very high standard with lots of touches to finish it off perfectly. Then we were shown to our “tent” and what a tent! This was not camping, it was pure luxury! A huge double bed, en-suite bathroom with shower, and again all perfectly done, we loved the place at once. Our host Kauri was so attentive and friendly it seemed like we were staying with an old friend not someone we had just met what a marvellous place.

After settling in we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast taken under a huge Mahua tree as the sun was now well up and it was getting warm. After our meal we had a wander around the grounds, finding a Coppersmith Barbet hard at work creating a nest hole.

Then it was time for a lovely lunch before we headed out on our first game drive in the National Park. Our guide and driver, Ajeet, was a lovely guy and very knowledgeable about the birds, wildlife and park, ideal to make our visit really rewarding.

At the entrance to the park it was a bit like the start to the Paris – Daka rally! Some thirty jeeps were lined up ready to enter the park. Thankfully once the gates opened the jeeps took different routes and we soon found ourselves on our own in the beautiful Bandhavgarh National Park. The place was heaving with wildlife and spotted deer were all over the place. Of course our eyes were constantly looking for stripes in the forest and the anticipation was electric, any moment we could see a Tiger! We scanned for birds as best as we could from the moving jeep and picked up some good stuff. A pair of Ultramarine Flycatchers were the highlight being a new species for us. We also came across a White-eyed Buzzard, another lifer, running about in an open grassy area, a small buzzard that looked very at home on the ground. Indian grey Hornbills, Red-throated Flycatchers and Indian Vultures were all seen. Mammals included great looks at wild boar and samba deer. As dusk approached we saw Red Junglefowl creeping around under the bamboo stands, looking for a roost site? Sadly our first drive was over and we headed back to the lodge without a Tiger but very pleased with all the amazing wildlife we had enjoyed.

Dinner at Monsoon Forest was a wonderful meal and collapsed in to the huge so comfortable bed exhausted after a very long but wonderful day.


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