Ibex Expeditions recently organised The Panchmarhi Trail in Satpura National Park with partners Reni Pani Lodge for the delegates of ATTA’s Adventure Connect. The journey, led by Mandip Singh Soin and a senior naturalist captured the explore spirit, was full of wonderful sightings of birds, squirrels, a leopard and pugmarks!
The five day journey began at Panchmarhi, also known as Satpura ki Rani, a hill station and part of the national park. The travellers, treading the footsteps of Captain James Forsyth, the original explorer of Satpura National Park (he belonged to Bengal Lancers and entered the park looking for Indian freedom fighter Tantya Tope) and reached Dhelia camp. The Reni Pani lodge is magnificent. Private tents along the river located just outside the buffer zone of the national park. Beautiful views all around. And the best part? No plastic along the trail!
On our first day in the park, while on a jeep safari, we spotted a leopard, barely 10m from us! Just sauntering along. What tremendous grace the cat has.
The next day was a 16km walk further in. We spotted the exquisite Indian Giant Squirrel, who flew from branch to branch. They build their nests on top of the branches with leaves. They neatly place one leaf after another and make their cosy home. It was quite a sight for us.
The twelve of us had three forest guards walking alongside throughout our journey. We spotted a number of birds—wagtails, grey herons, black bellied terns; even heard an owl hoot!
On our way we kept seeing pugmarks. The guards told us they were three-days old. On the second day of our trail we saw pugmarks that were two days old. Things were heating up! Finally, on the third day, just about a 100m after our lunch stop, we saw a massive drag mark, going all the way from the river to the sand over a rock. The guard told us that the tiger must have had a major kill – a sambhar or a deer and dragged the prey along. It was an incredible sight.
We continued to Manakhachar, our second camp, and walked around the fields and meadows before driving back to Reni Pani Lodge.
We travelled and explored using various means of transport — jeep safari, rowing in local canoes for bird spotting, cycling around the fields, and of course our very own two feet.
It was a wonderful experience overall. We plan to organise similar wildlife-centric journeys in the future. Perhaps combine a journey to Satpura and Bandhavgarh. 🙂
To know more about our special, customised journeys, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org