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Published: October 24th 2009
On the Right Track
(At least we knew there must be Tigers Somewhere)
Day 10 - Kanha
It was another early start for us, with a packed breakfast being provided by the hotel, which we hoped would be an improvement on the last ones! When we arrived at the gate, it was less disorganised, but there were a lot of jeeps in the line. At this park, there are actually more tigers, around 93, but the park is much larger meaning it is harder to see one.
There are only a couple of routes that the jeeps follow, and we actually followed our other jeeps. We were joined in the unlucky bus by Adam and Emily, and Emily hadn't seen a tiger yet either having missed out on the first day's tiger spot as she had felt a little under the weather, so decided to have a lie in. We set off in an optimistic mood, as we had seen some elephants they use to spot the tigers as we entered the park gates. During the next couple of hours we saw more spotted deer, an enclosure for the breeding of the endangered barasingha deer, gaurs (bison) and monkeys - but no tigers.
We stopped at the midway point for breakfast,
and were treated to pepper sandwiches! Yes sandwiches with butter and pepper, nothing else. Apparantly, Indians eat this - nice! There was also boiled eggs and a carton of juice. The drivers asked around, but there had been no tiger sightings at all that morning. There was a small gift shop there, and in the hope that we might see a tiger, we bought a couple of bits. Puja was also going to arrange for them to come to the hotel that night and bring t-shirts etc.
We got back into the jeeps and asked the drivers if they thought there would be a tiger show that morning, and they said that not even the elephants had found any tigers! We were beginning to wonder if there were any there at all! We did however see a pack of wild dogs, which doesn't sound very exciting but they are a very rare sighting and they are third in the food chain at the park behind tigers and leopards. The guide told us that for every ten tiger sightings, there is only one wild dog sighting. This didn't make us feel any better however about our lack of tiger action.
The rest of the morning was fairly uneventful, seeing more of the same animals. We returned to hotel knowing that we only had two more chances to see the tigers.
After getting back, we opted to sit by the pool for a couple of hours before lunch, and the water was lovely. During the afternoon optional safari, our drivers took us down some of the more unused routes, and some parts were still really overgrown. Although we didn't see any tigers, everyone agreed that it had been some of the most fun we had had. We felt that at least the drivers were trying to look in the undergrowth for the tigers. On our way back to the entrance we stopped with a couple of other jeeps as they had sighted a sloth bear in the distance. Again the guides pointed out how rare a sighting this was as they are nocturnal. Whilst we could make it out with the binoculars, we weren't able to get a picture. On the way back to the hotel, we were all slightly depressed as we realsied that the safari the next day would be the last chance saloon for tiger spotting, In
order to boost our chances of at least getting our names on the list for the tiger show, we completed the entry forms and and paid the driver that night so we could get straight in the park the next morning.
After dinner with the group, we went and sat back around the previous nights bonfire and were talking to a couple of Indian ladies who come to Kahna twice a year for their holidays. They said that the best time to come is in May/June when the grass is low and the tigers are more visible, however the heat is unbearable at 46deg. They explained that it had rained in the area 10 days ago and coupled with the monsoon rains, the grass had grown again making spotting a tiger much more difficult. We wished them goodnight and they wished us luck for the morning.
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