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.
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.
PlanesNagpur’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.
AutomobilesDriving 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.