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Kanaha National Park is located in the remote Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, in central India. The park offers some of India's best tiger viewing, as well as supporting many other mammals and birds.

Kanha was the setting for Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book' and has long been famous for its wildlife. Of India’s various tiger reserves, there are few places where can you see these magnificent creatures as regularly as in Kanha. The grassland and deciduous forest supports 22 species of mammal, such as spotted and barking deer, rhesus monkeys, wild boar, Asiatic jackal, three of India’s four lowland antelopes – nilgai, four-horned antelope (chowsingha) and blackbuck – and occasionally leopard, gaur (Indian bison), sloth bear, wolf and dhole (wild dog). The most striking natural feature is the grassy meadows, where you can see sambar and chital. It would come as no great surprise to see Mowgli himself padding barefoot along a dusty trail!

The definitive species, however, is the barasingha, or swamp deer. Kanha has the last population of hard-ground barasinghas, whose numbers exceed 350. Facing extinction over 20 years ago, a series of conservation initiatives has helped save them, and the air now fills with their rutting calls. During the cool winter, the meadows teem with barasinghas, and any tiger activity causes their husky alarm calls to ring through the jungle. More than 220 bird species have been recorded here, including racket-tailed drongos, bee-eaters, crested serpent and hawk eagles, shikras, flycatchers, painted partridge, shaheen falcon, golden oriole and the omnipresent red jungle fowl. Waterholes and high plateaux such as Bahmni Dadar are excellent spots for bird watching, as well as being quiet places to immerse one’s self in the peace of the jungle.

Created in 1955, Kanha covers an area of 1,940 square kilometres and consists of a horseshoe-shaped valley, through which the Surpan River meanders, with steep rocky escarpments created by spurs of the Mekal Hills, offering breathtaking views of the valley, and the forests of the Banjar and Halon valleys form the western and eastern halves of Kanha Tiger Reserve.

Wildlife viewing is by jeep, accompanied by a local guide. Jeeps are free to follow their own route along tracks through the park, using pugmarks and alarm calls to help spot predators. The climate is tropical with hot and humid summers that reach a maximum temperature of higher than 40°C, however winters are pleasant with an average maximum and minimum temperature of 23.9°C and 11.1°C, respectively. The park is open from mid-October to June, and closes during the monsoon period. The park museum is closed on Wednesday.

The easiest way to reach Kanha is to fly to either Jabalpur or Nagpur, followed by a road transfer (175 kilometres/four hours or 265 kilometres/seven hours respectively). Overnight trains from Agra/Delhi to Jabalpur take 15-16 hours. Transfer times are dependent on road conditions, which vary considerably.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Asiatic jackal, barasingha, Indian gazelle, nilgai, tiger
  • Where: Madhya Pradesh State, India

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Tiger, Tiger

Our most popular tailor-made itinerary in the subcontinent visits India’s finest national parks and offers the best opportunity to see tigers. Combining the lesser-known wildlife sanctuary of Pench with some of India’s best tiger viewing at Kanha, the trip culminates with a visit to the iconic and majestic Taj Mahal.

  • When to go: Oct-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

India’s Big Five

This wide-ranging trip provides a chance to see all five of India’s big mammal species: Asiatic lion, leopard, tiger, elephant and one-horned rhino. It visits three contrasting national parks: Sasan Gir in vibrant Gujarat, Kanha in Madhya Pradesh, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kaziranga in alluring Assam.

  • When to go: Oct-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Jungles, Tigers & Taj

India is an ideal destination for families. Who hasn’t read The Jungle Book and not dreamed about coming across a tiger in its luxuriant jungle? Imagine seeing a sloth bear, bathing with an elephant, or canoeing down a jungle river? And, for a grand finale, there’s the majestic, unsurpassable Taj Mahal.

  • When to go: Oct-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,695 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Tigers in Luxury

Experience India’s natural jewels of Panna, Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench. These prolific parks and tiger reserves have the most exquisite properties, offering a personal and exclusive service, and vehicle safaris provide you with exciting encounters with some of the finest wildlife to be found in the country.

  • When to go: Oct-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,595 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Tigers Trails & Wildlife Photography

Visiting two of India’s premier tiger reserves, Bandhavgarh and Kanha, with award-winning wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt, our small group tour offers the opportunity to view and photograph India’s most iconic big cat – the majestic tiger - along with a variety of other diverse wildlife.

  • When to go: Feb
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,595 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Ultimate Tiger Safari

Our relaxed two-centre group tour focuses on India’s most iconic mammal – the magnificent Bengal tiger. We spend time in two national parks, offering the best chance of sighting tigers: Bandhavgarh, which reputedly has the highest density of tigers in India, and then the beautiful reserve of Kanha.

  • When to go: Oct-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,995 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Banjaar Tola

Nestled on the banks of the Banjaar River, in the heart of Kanha National Park, this elegant and intimate lodge is uniquely designed in the style of the Bastar and Dogra art. Consisting of two luxury camps, each suite has its own sitting area and swimming pool, creating a very personal feel.

Flame of the Forest

Nestled beside the Banjar River on the Kisli side of the Kanha National Park, this intimate lodge has stunning views over the river and deep into the jungle. Four luxurious safari cottages are constructed in traditional styles with all comforts, and candlelit bush dinners will leave you with fond memories.

Kipling Camp

Established by a family of conservationists in 1982, Kipling Camp is one of India’s oldest wildlife camps, a truly magical environment from which to explore neighbouring Kanha National Park and its wildlife-rich waterholes. An ideal base for families, the camp is home to Tara, the world’s most famous Asian elephant.

Shergarh Camp

Nestling on the edge of Kanha National Park, this camp is an oasis of tranquility with six spacious canvas tents set in young woodland. Overlooking a pool fed by two natural springs, you can expect to see a variety of birdlife, including kingfishers, cormorants and hundreds of egrets.

Singinawa Jungle Lodge

Singinawa Jungle Lodge offers unique accommodation in the heart of Kanha National Park, with 12 tastefully designed cottages, set in 22 hectares of grasslands, together with a spa and swimming pool. Enjoy jeep safaris with the in-house naturalist guides in search of India’s spectacular wildlife.

Tuli Tiger Corridor

This exclusive property lies in the western region of Kanha National Park, and is perfect for any wildlife enthusiast who enjoys a touch of class. Eight elegant tents each have a king size bed, air conditioning, private dining lounge, minibar and contemporary bathroom, with superb river views from the deck.

Tuli Tiger Resort

Tuli Tiger Resort is conveniently located a few minutes drive from Kanha National Park’s Kisli gate. The lodge offers 26 spacious air conditioned rooms in separate village-style cottages, and twice daily game drives into the park. Resident naturalists are on hand to answer questions about the area's wildlife.

Wild Chalet Resort

Perched on a bank of the Banjar River, on the periphery of Kanha National Park, this small lodge makes an ideal base for exploring. Accommodation consists of charming cottages with tiled roofs, and there are local naturalist guides to lead jungle safaris, nature walks and bird watching outings.