Bandipur Jungle Safari.
Self drive Road trip Bangalore to Bandipur Forest.
This is one of most anticipated and one of the most amazing trip that I have been planning for almost 2 years. This is the trip or rather adventure safari trip to the wild Bandipur Tiger Reserve of Karnataka.
Bandipur is the one of the nine Tiger Reserve forest of India extending over a area of 874 sq. Km. Bandipur is popular for it's small population of Tigers but in Bandipur you can also spot Elephants, spotted deer, Bison, antelopes and few other species.
Quick Information About Bandipur Forest:
- Distance from Bangalore to Bandipur – 224 kms approx.
- Estimated Duration of the drive – 4hrs 30mins approx.
- Ideal Season – October to March
- Safari Hours – 6:00am to 9:30am and 2:30pm to 6:30pm.
We had a 2 days plan for the bandipur trip . We started from bangalore 9AM in the morning after breakfast and we took the Kanakapura route to Mysuru as the usual Mysuru expressway was under expansion . Also the Kanakapura route we find very scenic with trees along the roadside and agricultural & pasture lands on the sides. It would take around 4¹/2 hours to reach Mysuru and from Mysuru to our resort in Bandipur would take another 1¹/2 hour . However it took us almost 7 hours as we got stuck in Mysuru due to a Congress rally of Rahul Gandhi where the bandipur Mysuru road was blocked for 2 hours . Finally after a long wait we reached our resort in Bandipur at around 4PM. We booked our resort through MMT in Khans Gufa Resort as it is only 5 mins away from the Bandipur Safari Gate. The resort entrance and restaurant was build with a Gufa(Cave) theme and it had both rooms and cottages . After reaching the resort, we had our late lunch and after few clicks in the resort we took some rest till the evening.
Evenings were abit chilling as the place was very close to Ooty around 1¹/2 hours. Then Resort organized a bonfire with music for us. We also enjoyed some BBQ snacks that we ordered overall it was a nice ambience . Then we had our dinner at 10PM at the resort restaurant and rested for the day.
Finally comes day 2, the day of our much awaited Safari. My 1st experience of a wild safari at a real jungle. I have been watching such jeep safari in National Geographic or Discovery Channel since I was young child and always dreamt to do one in my real life. The safari needs to be booked online through the Bandipur Official Website and there you will find options to select either bus ,open jeep or a closed jeep and prices range 850 to 1250 per head depending on the ride you chose .
We booked our Safari at 8:30am in the morning as we felt morning and evenings are the best time to sight animals. We reached the Bandipur Safari Gate around 8am and had to wait around 10mins at the counter to get the ticket after showing the online reservation acknowledgement. Finally after a final wait of around 30mins our open hood Gypsy came and after a few clips we boarded it and our safari began . The jeep took us to the midst of jungle and although the ride was bumpy but it was a very unique experience that I personally have never felt before. First one to see were spotted deers and stags with long horns . The guide we had was very helpful and friendly at the same time. He told us many unique things on the habits of wild deers and how they sit in different directions to keep a watch on the prey. We also spotted few grazing Bison a herd of wild Elephants with a wild Tusker . We also spotted a white owl and different types of birds chirping in the tree branches . We also got to see a Indian Spotted eagle having it's breakfast on a lighter note and few peacocks and peahen. Although our guide searched for tiger paw marks on the road sides and near the water bodies but we were not lucky to see any Tigers or leopards anyways sighting Tigers or leopards is very rare considering they are very few in numbers. But overall just the experience of searching for Tiger by searching for it's paws in the loose sand and listening to monkeys and animal sounds in the search of any Tiger or leopards was spine chilling and awesome. Finally after a 2 hours safari we headed back to the Bandipur Safari Gate again abit disappointed never the less but full of excitement with the overall Safari experience at the same time . Finally we headed back to our resort, freshened up checked out and headed back to Bangalore.