Tag Archives: safari

Lions, Bengal Tigers, and Sloth Bears, Oh My

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Today was zoo day at Bannerghata National Park. We packed up the van and headed south, early on a Sunday morning. The park is south of town; we live north of town. Usually that is a two hour crawl through traffic, but leaving by 9 on A Sunday morning and we drove through a shuttered downtown without even slowing down. Bliss.

We stopped at the Indian Institute of Management to pick up our friends Rahul, Sharmila, and Ria.

With eight of us packed into a minivan that sits seven, we made our way to the zoo.  The Bannerghatta park is a part of the cluster of parks that includes the Kabini Lodge where we took our safari and the Dubare Elephant Camp where we bathed and fed the elephants. But this place is more of a traditional zoo.

We began our adventure with the Grand Safari tour.  The queuing was the most organized that I Have seen in India. Shaded, orderly, no pushing or shoving. It felt strange, actually. We boarded the bus and set off.

The animals are not wild in this park, but they live in vast natural habitats on the safari. The bus is covered in grating and you enter and exit different areas of the forest through big double gates that keep the animals in their respective ares00the bear area, the tiger area, and so on.

  

While they have houses and are fed regularly, I was amazed at just how close these buses got to the animals. We had remarkably up close and personal views of animals that we saw from very far away on Safari, including:

Very adorable sloth bears


Bengal tigers

White tigers. This male looked through a dividing fence….

To his love…..

And my personal favorite, the lions. This lion was lying across the road that we had to travel.  It refused to move until the bumper of the bus gently nudged it along. I did not cropping of this photo—we were truly this close.

After our adventurous safari ride we visited the butterfly building. While the room did not have as many butterflies as expected, we enjoyed the beautiful architecture.

  

The kids had even more fun climbing a mango tree and picking its sweet fruit outside of the building.

We got just as delighted by the wild monkeys as all of this big lions and tigers and bears! They are so funny.

  

  

Then we headed off to have a delicious pizza, pasta and salad lunch.

 

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Boat safari

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Day two on our safari began with a 5:45 wake up call. The kids were not happy about getting up in the dark. We arrived at the dock just as the sun was rising.

  

Here Kaden and Daddy were waking up at the breakfast table.

After a quick cup of chai we boarded the boat with five other folks and headed off.  We picked up our naturalist at another resort and he proudly told us that our boat driver was the best tracker around. We loved this naturalist. He was so wonderful with the kids. When he would spot something on his binoculars he immediately would quick and give the binocs to one of the kiddos.

I won’t even build up the suspense. We saw a leopard!!! Twice! Although the first time I didn’t really see it but the second time I sure did and the kids and Todd saw him too. It was a fascinating tracking experience. The spotted deer were coming down to Nagarhole lake to eat grass and drink water. Below are the huge herd of spotted deer having breakfast alongside the water.

The monkeys were making calls like crazy as well as some larger deer from inside the forest. You knew tension was mounting when the naturalist pointed out the mother deer were herding up all the babies and moving them farther away to protect them (click to hear the naturalist narrating for us! and listen to the calls in the video that the animals give to warn one another of a predator approaching). And the daddy deer were turned and staring directly into the forest.  Then, all of a sudden, you saw a leopard just sitting there. Just like one of our cats would do. That’s the best view that I got because I quickly passed the binoculars to Kaden who watched it sit and then walk away. Truly an experience of a life time. Carson had the big binoculars of the guide so he got a great view as well. Amazing!! I didn’t get a shot of it, so these two photos were sent to me from another woman on the boat with us! The naturalist grabbed her camera and snapped two shots for her.

And the fun was not over yet. We saw wild boar that looked just like Pumba from the Lion King.

Next we came upon a crocodile lazing about on an island. He looked just like a log but we saw him slip into the water. (Look to the left of the white bird).

We also saw a bull elephant  (click to see him move around) with massive tusks trying to tear down the bamboo on the edge of the water for his daily meal.

We saw a peacock strut his stuff and make mating calls to try to get the pea hens to come out and play.

We saw an osprey

And some cormorants

And some other cool birds like colorful kingfishers but my camera is not powerful enough to capture them!

And then, when we thought the fun was done, we came upon a river otter right next to the boat. We watched him frolic about and then get out of the water and rub its scent all over the grass to attract a female otter and then hop back in the water. “Very special sighting!” exclaimed the naturalist! “Very rare indeed!”

We returned back to base camp very happy. And  hungry for a delicious breakfast of dosas and eggs (and toast for the kiddos).

  

View of our cottage from the water:

We climbed in the nets one last time and then it was time to head back!