Satpura has a rugged landscape that is quite unique. It is characterised by sandstone slopes, rivulets that flow down into steep gorges, narrow ravines, and sharp peaks.
The biodiversity here is rich and varied, making it a fascinating ecosystem to explore.
The charm of Satpura lies in its dramatic landscape.
The highest peak in the park has an ancient fortress called Dhoopgarh (sun fortress) because it’s the first place in Madhya Pradesh from where you can see the sunrise. The backwaters of the Denwa River create a magnificent oxbow lake, called Tawa Lake, giving the park an ethereal ambiance.
Satpura’s history is uniquely intertwined with the British Raj in India. Captain Forsyth, a seasoned soldier, and explorer was hunting down Tatya Tope, a revolutionary and strong advocate for India’s freedom from British rule. Forsyth stumbled upon Satpura during his man-hunt and realized that Satpura was ideal terrain for the British to establish a military base in Central India.
Tawa lake’s secluded coves are best explored by kayak or canoe, but do keep an eye out for lurking Mugger crocs on the banks! The forest is a mix of Sal, Tendu and Teak, with clumps of bamboo and other shrubs.
The dense foliage, craggy landscape, and natural cave formations make it ideal terrain for leopards, sloth bears and tigers. Dhole (Indian Wild Dog) are also found in packs in different parts of the park. The sloth bear is the star attraction here, and one can often sight these people-shy yet ferocious creatures moving through the tree canopy.
The inlets of the Tawa Lake are the natural habitat for Satpura’s other major predator, the Mugger crocodiles, which lie well-camouflaged amid the rocks and mud.
Hyenas, Jackals and jungle cats are also common predators. Raptors like eagles, buzzards, Ospreys and hawks are often seen soaring in the thermals as they circle over steep ravines and gorges. In addition to herbivores like the spotted deer, sambhar, and Gaur, Satpura is also home to a population of highly endangered Black Bucks.Up in the trees, one can also spot unusual animals like flying squirrels and the Indian Flying Fox (which is a gigantic bat).
Tawa Lake attracts an enormous number of waterfowl. The winter arrival of the ducks and geese in Satpura is a beautiful sight.
From Mallard Ducks to Bar-Headed Geese, you will be charmed by the grace and vivid plumage of these birds that fly all the way here as far as Eurasia and Europe.
Satpura is easily accessed by road from Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh.
It is also close to Pachmarhi, a popular hill station in Central India. One can opt to go on game drives by jeep with a naturalist, enjoy a boat safari on the backwaters of the Denwa, or go on a walking safari with a skilled naturalist.
Satpura is home to some lovely experiential lodges, that offer a wide range of activities. The variety of things one can do makes it a great park to explore with kids.
The best times to visit are between November and April.
Satpura is particularly ideal for birding and bird photography, and Encounters Asia can assist you with arrangements, logistics, and park permits to shoot photographs or film in Satpura.
If you’re looking for an idyllic wilderness hideaway, Satpura is one of India’s best-kept wildlife secrets. Ask us to help you plan the perfect jungle getaway in Satpura.