An undulating ridge and dense forest with the largest prey-bases of herbivores in India, makes Pench perfect tiger habitat. Dense forests of teak, tall grass, and a rushing river make it an ideal ecosystem for felines like tigers and leopards.
Pench’s most famous resident was a magnificent tigress, Collarwali, who passed away in 2021. A prolific mother who produced several cubs, Collarwali was one of the most photographed tigers in the world.
This is Kipling country. The Kanha-Pench landscape provided the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s epic — Jungle Book.
There’s never a dull moment in this forest. From black-faced langur babies cuddling up to their moms, to peacocks strutting their stuff, spotted deer grazing in the undergrowth, and kingfishers diving down onto unsuspecting fish — the forest is always teeming with activity, under the watchful gaze of raptors like the Fish-eating Eagle or an owl perched on a tree.
For those who would like to learn more about the ecosystems of Central India, and the tiger itself, reading Tiger by Kailash Sankhala, a noted tiger conservationist and pioneer of Project Tiger’s conservation program, is a must.
Pench is a natural habitat for several felines besides the tiger, including the leopard and the Jungle Cat. Another ferocious predator is the Dhole, the Wild Dog, which hunts in packs.
If you’re lucky, you might spot an elusive sloth bear, as it slips through the branches of the trees. The forest floor is teeming with herds of wild boar and deer. Cheetal (spotted deer) and Sambhar are a common sight as they graze on the meadows and in the undergrowth. Don’t be too surprised if you turn around only to find that a soft footed Gaur (Indian Bison) is only a few feet away. Despite their size, these enormous herbivores move without making a sound.
The park spans over 758 square km of area, out of which 299 square km is considered to be the core region.
The Pench Tiger Reserve comprises the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Pench Mowgli Sanctuary, and a buffer. It supports over 1200 species of flora and fauna, most of which are rare, and thus have high ethno-botanical importance attached to them. One of the most unusual trees in Pench is the stark white Kulu tree. Also called the “ghost tree” Pench is punctuated by this unusual species, which is known for its medicinal properties.
Pench is also a terrific park for wildlife photography enthusiasts. Tiger sightings are frequent and the number of young cubs is plentiful.
There are excellent opportunities to photograph birds as well. Encounters Asia can arrange for all the necessary logistics and permits for wildlife photography and filming in Pench.
The park has several luxurious and comfortable lodges. While most of the lodges are clustered at the south entrance of the park, we prefer lodges like Jamtara Wilderness Lodge which is located near the north entrance, offering you unrivalled privacy and open trails into the forest.
You can easily access Pench from major cities like Mumbai and Delhi by flying to Nagpur airport, from where Encounters Asia arranges to transport you to the park.
You can also drive to Pench from neighbouring parks like Kanha or Tadoba. The best time to visit Pench is between November and March. April to June offers superb photography opportunities, but do keep in mind that day time temperatures can be very high in the summer. If you’re ready to explore one of Indian wildlife’s best-kept secrets, then ask us and we’ll arrange the trip of a lifetime to Pench.