India (11) – Kajuraho to Bandavgarh

An uncomfortable car ride this morning – 5 hours over some very bumpy roads.  So rough, in fact, that most of the cars were driving along the sandy verge at it was easier going on the car and passengers.  We finally arrived at our latest, and last, resort at the Bandagvarh Nature Reserve. 
The resort is lovely and quiet – in fact, there was only one other guest present at dinner, and is situated in the middle of the forest.  The accommodation is fairly basic, but more than satisfactory.  The only downside is the rather unpleasant smell of kippers in our cabin, which seems to be caused by a dead bird in the water in front of the extractor fan. Turning the fan of reduced the smell, but lead to a sweltering night.

We had originally expected to spend the afternoon at the resort, as our first tiger safari wasn’t booked until tomorrow.  There is a limit of 45 jeeps in the main zone of the park at any one time, and as luck would have it, there was a cancellation, and we were able to fill in that place.  

 
And lucky we certainly were, because we hadn’t been driving too long before our driver suddenly accelerated and joined a group of about 8 jeeps and a couple elephants all huddled around a tiger sighting.  Two cubs, of about 11 months old, sitting in the middle of the road.

When the cubs moved on, we moved further up the road to an open grassy area, and were rewarded for our wait after 10 minutes or so when first the cub’s mother appeared, and then all three of her cubs followed.  We had an amazing view of them playing together, and licking and rubbing against each other, just like Rupert, Rasha and Zephyr do.  Truly an wonderful experience.  The photos didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked – the light was fading, and my shutter speed was a little slow to really catch the action.

It wasn’t only jeeps watching the show, we also saw a couple elephants loaded up with photographers.  Hiring an elephant for the day appeared to be very expensive, and whilst you have the advantage of being able to go offroad, the elephants did seem to get quite distracted by eating, rather than following the tigers at times.

By the time the show was over, all the jeeps had to head back to the park entrance at high speed to get there before closing time, leaving us all covered in dust.  Along t
he way, we had another tiger sighting, this time a young adult male, the elder brother of the cubs.  As he wasn’t doing much other than sleeping, we didn’t hang around too long.

Once back, we had just enough time to shower off all the dirt before dinner.  The food is definitely the best buffet food we’ve had so far – all Indian food, and spicier than what we’ve been given in other hotels along the way.  

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