Alight at Nagpur at 0720. We had pre-booked a taxi to take us to Tadoba. The distance is approx 15okms and takes 3hrs. We reached Tadoba by 1100. Checked into MTDC Tadoba which is situated in Moharli village, quite close to Moharli gate.
Now I researched quite a bit and planned everything before. You need to do it. So that you have a smooth experience there.
The nearest rail station for tadoba is Chandrapur(35kms). But there is only one train from Mumbai to Chandrapur and its timings were not suitable for us, so we choose to travel from nagpur. Chandrapur is on the New Delhi to south India main line.
There are a total of 12 gates at Tadoba from which you can enter the jungle. Out of 12, 6 are core zone gates and 6 are buffer zone gates. Core zone is the core area of the jungle. Buffer zone is the periphery area. But mind you, in Tadoba, sightings have been happening on regular basis in buffer area also.
You need to book safaris online (www.mahaecotourism.gov.in/site/common/onlinebooking1.aspx). The hotel needs to be booked basis from which gate is your safari from. The most preferred gates among the core gates are Moharli and Kolara, reason being there are a lot of good stay options outside these gates. We had Booked MTDC near Moharli gate. There are limited number of safaris available from each gate, hence book early. The advance booking begins 60 days before the safari date. The safari permit costs 1k for core on weekdays and 2k on weekends. For buffer, its 650rs. on weekdays. The gypsies and the guides can be booked on the spot. The safari permit is the most important thing here.
I had planned to do 4 safaris. Out of 4, I could get permit for 3 from Moharli gate. For the 4th one, i booked Agarzari buffer.
There are 2 slots for safaris, morning and evening. Morning is 6-10 and evening 2.30-6.30.
At a nominal cost, the gypsy guy will come and pick you up from your hotel.
After checking into the hotel, we freshened up, and had food. The restaurant at MTDC is wonderful. Good food and service. After food, we headed towards Moharli gate for safari no. 1. It was hot. Although April-May isn't the best season to visit this part of the country, it certainly is the best season for sightings.
It is a beautiful jungle, quite dense. There are defined tracks for the gypsies to roam. We could spot tigress Sonam and her cubs in this safari. Later i got to know that Sonam is quite shy and there were no sightings of her in the past 3 days. So we were quite lucky. I did not have a big lens. This is what i could capture.