1 Kanha is a vast 1900sq km of exquisite biodiversity spreading across the districts of Gondia and Mandla in Central India.Of this 900sq km is the core area It is the original setting for Rudyard Kiplings Jungle Book.So far we had only entered Kanha through the Kanha kisli gate,staying at our favourit place- Baghira lodge, which is within the forest boundary and located on a waterhole.This waterhole is visited by nearly all the forest denizens. Our route then was Nagpur-Seoni-Chiraidongri-Kisli.
2 Since Nagzira was one of our destination this time, we decided to viisit Kanha via the the Mukki gate and experience a different type of terrain.The route was Sakoli-Gondia-Balaghat-Baihar-Mukki .For this we had to leave the NH6 ahead of Sakoli and drive northwards along SH26 a distance of about 225km taking into account a minor digression at Baihar were the irrational monsoons this year had practically washed away about 30km stretch of state highway
3.It was a beautiful drive through forestland .Of course there were the inescapable crowded villages and a few polluted townships in between.One is learning to accept violation of nature has become part of the Indian psyche.Reaching Mukki around lunchtime we found that Mptdc run Mukki safari lodge located on the edge of the scenic Banjar river.
4 While I was there I heard that there was an attempt to re- introduce the Black Buck to Kanha.An earlier attempt to do so had not been successful
4.The very first safari confirmed my belief that the terrain was different from Kisli.Firstly there were the swamps and what was most heartening,frequent sightings of Barasinghas.It was cold during the early morning safaris, probably because of the large shallow waterbodiesThe forest roads were across bunds with the swamps stretching out on both sides .
5.There was also the dense tall forests of Sal the trademark of Kanha.The guide and the driver seem to think that our visit would be fruitless unless we sighted a tiger or a leopard.The most frustrating part of the safaris was that they kept zipping up and down in pursuit of the ever elusive tiger and leopard and refusing to stop for the lowly bird or herbivore .Only towards the end of safari time did they allow me to take shots of these lesser animals.By this time the sun was up and both the birds and hebivores had moved into the shade( during the morning safaris) or the light was too low to take a decent shot( during the evening safari).