Satpura National Park is part of the larger Satpura Tiger Reserve that forms a unique highland ecosystem located in Madhya Pradesh, India. The tiger reserve comprises three protected areas, Satpura National Park, Bori Wildlife Sanctuary, and Pachmarhi Sanctuary. It is rich in biodiversity that includes a range of flora and fauna. Some of the animals that inhabit this landscape are sambar, leopard, chital, four-horned antelope, sloth bear, tiger, Indian Wild Dog, golden jackal, nilgai, gaur and wild boar among others. Some iconic birds include Malabar Pied Hornbill, Black Crested Bulbul, Osprey, Crested Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Indian Skimmer and the like. The Park is identified as a mixed deciduous forest with a variety of flora typical of the Central Indian Highlands. These include teak, bamboo, Indian Ebony, various acacias, wild mango, Indian gooseberry, satinwood, axil wood to name a few. Pachmarhi is the only place in Central India where one can see the teak forest and saal forest merging. Satpura National Park is one of the only ecosystems in Central India that houses Indian Giant squirrel and Malabar Whistling Thrush, which are species otherwise commonly found in the Western Ghats, raising a very interesting hypothesis about how this region was a land bridge between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Himalayas.
A Reserve Rich in Biodiversity
Known for being a biodiversity hotspot, Satpura is an amalgam of rivers, forests, mountains, and meadows. This diversity in habitat enables an abundance of species, including resident and migratory birds, Central Indian mammals, butterflies, other insects, reptiles, amphibians and unique flora. After a reintroduction program carried out by the forest department, the Satpura Tiger Reserve is also home to the Hard Ground Barasingha an endangered species previously only found in Kanha National Park. Recently scientists conducting camera trap surveys in Satpura also discovered the first known population of Eurasian Otters in Central India. Satpura is diverse in every aspect making it one of the most exciting tiger reserves from a tourism perspective.
Things to do at the National Park
Akin to the biodiversity in Satpura, the park also offers a diverse range of activities possible from the entry gate at Madhai. This Park is known for its one-of-a-kind walking safaris which are uniquely possible only in Satpura. The Denwa river which forms the backwaters of the Tawa reservoir skirts the park on the northern boundary. This large water body poses the opportunity for both motorized boat safaris and non-motorized canoe safaris. The large reservoir attracts a variety of waterfowl and waders and a water-based activity is a great way of observing Satpura’s birdlife. Another exciting activity to try in Satpura is a night safari, where guests have the opportunity to see nocturnal species like Small Indian Civet, Indian Palm Civet, Indian Crested Porcupine and perhaps the Rusty Spotted Cat which is the world’s smallest wild cat. Apart from these nocturnal species sightings of leopard and sloth bear are also good on the night drive. Of course, the standard game drives or jeep safaris are a must-do here.
For the intrepid traveller there is also an option of an overnight or two-night mobile camping and walking experience. Here guests can opt to traverse the mountainous landscape near Pachmarhi or do an easy night out at a picturesque location close to Reni Pani Jungle Lodge. The Pachmarhi trek has a bit of history attached to it as it was the same path used by Captain James Forsyth (the first western explorer in this region) to ascend the slopes of Pachmarhi.
So, pack your bags and pull up your socks for an adventurous stay at Satpura Tiger Reserve!