Pench National Park, India

Rudyard Kipling set the cherished story of The Jungle Book in Pench National Park and its lavishly leafy surrounds. With real-life Shere Khans stalking through the thick arjuna trees and banyan roots, and a circus of chittering monkeys, yukking hyenas, slinky leopards and flocks of exotic birds, it’s an imagination-sparking spot. Set below the forest-clad Satpura range, south of Madhya Pradesh, the park is famed for its rewarding game drives, river rafting and its tiger conservation efforts. With just a few small villages within the park and beyond its borders, there’s little to do, but watch animal antics and while the days away in the wild.

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When to go

The climate is at its fairest from October to June, after monsoon season. Twitchers should aim for October to December when the park is at its greenest; for tiger snaps, arrive in January, when big cats congregate by watering holes.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Nagpur’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport is the closest to the park, roughly a three-hour drive away. International flights usually connect via Mumbai and New delhi; Air India and IndiGo fly from both.
  • Automobiles

    Driving in India can be nerve rattling: road rules are loosely interpreted, motorbikes and tuk-tuks zip from lane to lane, and cattle think nothing of wandering into traffic (it’s a bit of a faux pas to hit them). If you must self drive, rent a car from Savaari in Nagpur, or hop in a taxi.