Pench National Park is nestled in the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts. It derives its name from the river Pench that cleaves the park in two parts. This glorious expanse also spreads across the neighbouring state of Maharashtra.
The magnificence and natural opulence of the park is also the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling's magnum opus, 'The jungle book'.
It was declared as a sanctuary in 1965 and then established as a national park in 1975. In 1992, it was recognized as Pench Tiger Reserve. Stretching over a great area of 758 sq km, Pench National Park consists of dense jungles, rocky trails, cascading streams and crystal clear rivers.
The park attracts a large number of tourists and wildlife enthusiasts, all flocking to get a glimpse of the striped beast. The park also harbours varied species of flora and fauna and flocks of resident and migratory birds. This makes the national park perfect for safaris. Pench jungle safari offers excellent wildlife sightings and the chance to be one with nature.
Pench Jungle Safari
You can enjoy jeep safaris in the park that takes you deep into the wilderness and explore the corners of the jungles during the day. Pench National Park also allows you to experience wildlife safari in the thrill of the night! You'll set off after dusk to catch sight of nocturnal creatures prowling about, and if your stars are aligned, you might even spot tigers with gleaming eyes!
Buffer zones in Pench National Park
The park has seven zones, sprawled across the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, that are located at a distance of about 2 to 80 km. Turia Zone, Karmajhiri Zone, Rukhad Zone, Jamtara Zone and Wolf Sanctuary falls under Madhya Pradesh and Sillari Zone and Khursapar Zone falls under Maharashtra. Off these zones, you'll find the best chance of spotting a tiger in Turia. It has many water bodies which lure wild animals and birds to it. If you want to go on a night safari, then Wolf Sanctuary is the perfect zone.
What you’ll see
At the Pench National Park, you'll meet all your favourite Jungle Book characters like Baloo the sloth bear, Akela the Indian Wolf, Raksha the female wolf and Shere Khan, the Royal Bengal tiger among other wild creatures such as jackal, monkey, wild boar, wild dog, jungle cat, fox, Indian leopard, barking deer, striped hyena, gaur, sambar and many such species.
The avifauna consists of migratory birds like bulbul, ruddy shelduck, whistling teal, pintail, barbet, magpie robin, racket-tailed drongo, egret, shoveler, herons and residents birds like munias, minivets orioles, waterfowls, wagtails, mynas, blue kingfishers, peafowl, crow pheasant, junglefowl and many more.
Where to stay
There is a great deal of staying options available in and around Pench National Park, offering the perfect balance between comfort, beauty and wilderness. The choice of accommodation ranges from luxury hotels and resorts, cottages, lodges and jungle camps.
When to go
The best time to go for Pench jungle safari is during the winter season, between October and February. The weather is cool and pleasant and the temperature fluctuates between 6 degrees Celsius and 31 degrees Celsius. This is the ideal season to spot a deer or a leopard at Pench National Park.
The temperature is at its peak during the summer season in Pench National Park. Between the months of April and June, the mercury shoots up to almost 48 degrees Celsius. However, this season offers excellent wildlife sightings, especially that of the majestic tiger.
During the monsoon season, between the months of July and September, the Pench National Park remains shut for safaris. The region receives heavy rainfall and it is also the mating season for animals.
How to get there
Being one of the more popular parks in India, travelling to Pench National Park is not a worry. It spreads across the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and has great connectivity with most major cities within India. Travellers can make their way to either Nagpur of Maharashtra or Jabalpur of Madhya Pradesh by air, rail and road to further travel to Pench.
By Air: Located around 130 km away, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur is the nearest airport to Pench National Park, serving both domestic and international flights. Serving only domestic flights, Jabalpur Airport is another option, located around 200 km away. Both Nagpur and Jabalpur are well connected to major city hubs of the country. From the airport, you can easily hire a taxi or a private vehicle to reach the Pench Tiger Reserve.
By Rail: Nagpur Junction railway station in Maharashtra and Seoni railway station in Madhya Pradesh are both located around 80 km from Pench National Park. Another option is Jabalpur railway station, located at a distance of about 205 km. All the aforementioned cities have strong connectivity with major cities in India.
By Road: There are buses available from Nagpur bus stand as well as from Seoni bus stand. If you decide to catch a bus from Nagpur, you will have to get down at Khwasa or Suktara and then make your way to the park by private transport. You can also easily hire taxis or other private vehicles and enjoy the drive to Pench National Park.