Bandhavgarh National Park

Article text
Bandhavgarh probably boasts the highest density of bengal tigers in the country, and also has a high number of leopards. A park consisting of forested hills and wetlands, it is also home to nilgai, wild boar and jackals to name but a few! Covering around 450 sq km the park derives its name from the ancient fortress that sits at the top of 800-metre high cliffs. The park was greener than Ranthambore, with more trees and vegetation. It was here that I had my first proper sighting of not one but two tigers! The tigers in question were a brother and sister known as the Magdi cubs. Alarm calls had been heard in the area, and the day before the tigers had been sighted in the particular area of the park we were in, so we parked up and sat waiting in the jeep to see if a tiger would appear. After about 10 minutes we were rewarded after the first of the cubs appeared from the undergrowth. A few minutes later and an excited shout went up when its sibling appeared as well! They stood at the edge of the jungle for a few minutes before leisurely crossing the track in front of us and disappearing into the bamboo on the opposite side. As they were cubs, around 2 years old, they were obviously quite a bit smaller than the adult tigers. But this was a difference I noticed more looking back at the photos where it's easier to compare the differences! Unfortunately we heard the next day that the male cub had been killed by the dominant male in the area. Additionally I've just had news that the female cub has been killed as well, also by the dominant male. I feel privileged to have seen them, and to have been able to capture them on camera so that others can see them to.

On a lighter note, it was at Bandhavgarh that I witnessed how to go about fixing a flat tyre whilst on a game drive. First of all get your spare tyre from the back of the jeep...if it isn't there flag down a passing jeep and nick theirs. Next use your car jack...if that doesn't work wait for another jeep to pass by and take theirs. Finally if you haven't been attacked by a tiger, and not too remote that other jeeps do actually pass by, you'll be good to go!

Throughout the game drives I used a 70-300mm zoom, which I found useful as you never know how far or close the animals will be to your vehicle. The majority of the wildlife were within reach of the zoom, although if you go to focus on bird photography you will need a longer lens.