The Ultimate Guide To Tadoba National Park

Tadoba National Park - Inside View

Tadoba National Park is counted amongst India’s finest wildlife destinations. Blessed with rich biodiversity, it offers excellent opportunities for sighting wildlife. It is situated in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, roughly 150 km away from Nagpur city. This guidebook aims to cover all major aspects of Tadoba trip planning. If you are thinking of visiting Tadoba National Park, here is all you should know.

A Quick Glance Through

Fast Facts

  • Tadoba National Park is regarded as the oldest national park in Maharashtra.
  • It was established in 1955 and together with the adjoining Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary, it became a tiger reserve in 1995.
  • Officially known as Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, the combined area of the reserve stands at 625 sq km.

How To Reach Tadoba National Park

The park is well-connected by road from Nagpur and Chandrapur. You can take a flight to reach Nagpur and then rent a cab for onward journey to the hotel. Moharli Gate is nearly 3.5 hours’ drive from the airport, while it takes roughly 2.5 hours to reach Kolara gate.

Chandrapur is the nearest city to Tadoba National Park where the nearest railhead is located. From Chandrapur railway station, it takes less than an hour to reach Moharli.

Entry Gates

Road Leading To Moharli Gate
Road Leading To Moharli Gate

There are 12 entry gates to Tadoba Tiger Reserve and all are not in proximity to each other. Some of the gates are located almost 100 km apart. So, it is essential to pick the right entry gates that are near your place of stay.

Moharli, Kolara, Khutwanda, Navegaon, Pangdi and Zari gates provide access to the core zones whereas the buffer zones are accessible through Agarzari, Devada-Adegaon, Junona, Kolara, Ramdegi-Navegaon and Alizanza gates.

Moharli is the most popular gate of the reserve followed by Kolara gate. You may also choose Agarzari, Devada-Adegaon and Junona entry gates if your accommodation is near Moharli.

Book your permit for Kolara gate only if you plan to stay in the immediate vicinity. Kolara gate lies over 75 km away from Moharli gate.

Tadoba National Park Safari Booking

Safari Jeeps Lined up at Tadoba National Park Gate
Safari Jeeps Waiting To Get In

Tadoba offers an open jeep safari that can be booked online using the Maharashtra Ecotourism portal. A limited number of vehicles are allowed to enter the tiger reserve. Make sure to book your entry tickets prior to booking your hotel.

In case you don’t obtain the safari permit, there is absolutely no way to visit the forest. The online safari booking begins 120 days in advance and closes 4 days prior to the date of entry.

Besides the normal quota permit, there is one more permit category, called tatkal quota. Under the tatkal category, the booking opens 3 days before the date of entry and closes the next day.

Approximate Cost of Safari

Tadoba National Park ticket price comprises – gypsy charge (₹ 2,700), guide charge (₹ 350), online processing fee (₹ 50) and entry fee.

The entry fee varies from ₹ 1,000 to ₹ 8,000 depending on how many days in advance you are booking. Weekend safari costs more than that of weekdays.

  • Weekdays – Entry fee
    • Normal (120-60 days in advance): ₹ 4,000
    • Normal (Less than 60 days in advance): ₹1,000
    • Tatkal: Rs ₹ 4000
  • Weekend – Entry fee
    • Normal (120-60 days in advance): ₹ 8,000
    • Normal (Less than 60 days in advance): ₹ 2,000
    • Tatkal: ₹ 4,000

So, the approximate cost of one safari ranges from ₹ 4,100 to ₹ 11,100. All charges mentioned here are as on December 2020.

Safari Timings

MonthsMorning SafariEvening Safari
October6 am – 10 am2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
November to February6:30 am – 10: 30 am2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
March to April6 am – 10 am2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
May to June5: 30 am – 9:30 am3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Ideal Trip Duration

I would recommend spending 2-4 days exploring Tadoba’s abundant wildlife. Both core and buffer zones are teeming with different forms of wildlife.

Consider taking at least 2 safaris in the core area and 1-2 safaris in the buffer area. You can book more safaris to maximize the occurrence of tiger sighting.

Wildlife To Explore

Tiger Sighting in Tadoba National Park
A Majestic Tiger Sighted During Morning Safari

A wildlife lover’s wonderland, Tadoba National Park is endowed with bountiful wildlife and natural beauty. From the elusive big cats to beautiful birds, there is so much to explore that you will never have a dull moment in the forest.

I got to know from my guide that Tadoba is home to over 80 tigers. A majority of guides have been working here for the last many years. They exactly know the sites in the forest where you might spot the wild beast.

In most of the cases, it’s the warning call that acts as a signal when a tiger is around. Warning calls are nothing but strange sounds made by herbivores like deer when they sense the presence of a tiger or leopard.

Many of the frequently sighted tigers have unique names given by forest officials. Matkasur and Bajrang are the two adult male tigers that are often spotted in the Moharli zone. Besides tigers, the main predators of the Tadoba forest are leopard and dhole (wild dog).

Also Read: 12 Best Places To Sight Tigers in India.

A Tribe of Langur Monkeys in Tadoba National Park
Langur Monkeys Enjoying Morning Sun

As the gypsy took us deep into the forest, several animals crossed our way including sambar deer, nilgai, barking deer, wild boar and a troop of langur monkeys.

One more popular attraction of Tadoba National Park is the rare mugger crocodiles that are found in Tadoba lake. It’s a huge lake inside the forest that you can’t miss for sure. Our safari halted there for a few minutes when a marsh crocodile showed up near the shore.

Also Read: 5 Best Things To Do in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

Birdwatching

Mottled Wood Owl Resting in its Nest
Mottled Wood Owl

Aside from wild animals, Tadoba is a major habitat to water birds, raptors and several other bird species. As soon as our safari entered the forest, we came across a huge mottled wood owl, well camouflaged in its nest.

Crested serpent eagle, Indian roller, peacock and open-bill storks are commonly sighted birds in Tadoba.

Black Stork Inside Tadoba Forest
A Black Stork Peacefully Wandering in The Woods

You can spot a wide range of waterfowls near the wetland areas of the forest. Pond heron, little egret, black stork and grey heron are some of the water birds that can be sighted here. Tadoba is undoubtedly a birdwatcher’s paradise in Maharashtra.

Also Read: 15 of The Most Beautiful Birds in India.

Best Time To Visit Tadoba National Park

Tadoba falls in a tropical climate zone. It is warm throughout the year but summers are too hot. April to June is the best time for tiger sighting as they are out in search of water.

If you can’t stand the stifling heat of the Vidarbha region, then you should visit between October to March. From July to September, the core areas of the tiger reserve remain closed due to rains.

What To Wear For Jungle Safari

Wear comfortable cotton or linen clothes to beat the scorching heat of Tadoba. Tracks inside the forest are a mix of concrete roads and dusty pathways. So, it is better to choose a long-sleeved outfit to avoid dust and direct sunlight.

Additionally, pack some light woollen clothes if you are traveling in winters (November to February). You might need those during the morning safari.

Choice of outfit colour also matters when you are packing for a jungle safari. Do not wear bright and flashy clothes.

Choose something that gels well with the forest surrounding, such as dark green, brown or khaki. For footwear, lightweight walking shoes or sports shoes are fine.

Where To Stay

Pugmark Jungle Resort Entry Gate

There are several jungle lodges and resorts scattered all around Moharli village. We stayed in Pugmark Jungle Lodge, located near Moharli gate.

It is a well-maintained resort, overlooking a scenic lake. In addition, you can see plenty of birds on the premises all the time.

Another good option in the vicinity of Moharli gate is MTDC Holiday Resort. It is owned and run by Maharashtra Tourism.

Wherever you choose to stay, the safari jeep picks you up from your hotel. You simply need to handover the entry permits to the resort and they arrange the jeeps.

In case your safari is from Kolara gate, Tadoba Tiger King Resort is an excellent choice. The resort is situated right next to the gate at walking distance away.

Traveler Tips

  • Remember to carry the original identity proof that was used for entry ticket booking. At the safari entry gate, you need to provide it for verification.
  • Mobile phones are not allowed inside Tadoba forest. You need to switch off your mobile and hand it over to the guide. It is kept in the safari jeep till the ride lasts. So, you will not be able to click pictures with your mobile camera. Carrying a separate camera is a must if you want to capture jungle safari moments.
  • There is no shared jeep safari in Tadoba unlike Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park of Madhya Pradesh. So, you need to book the full jeep.
  • To avoid paying the incremental entry fee, try booking your safari up to 60 days in advance. The downside to it is that all the safaris from popular gates might get booked. There is always a trade-off!

Over To You Now…

Have you traveled to Tadoba National Park? Would you like to add anything to this guidebook? Please leave a comment below.

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