Read on for maps and detailed information on zones, entry fees, permits and jeep safaris to Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Kanha National Park is one of the largest national parks in India, with a core area of 940 square kilometers (584 square miles) and a surrounding area of 1,005 square kilometers (625 square miles). The park is divided into zones for easy maintenance and management of the Kanha tiger reserve area. Tourism is conducted in 20% of the total area under 4 zones namely Kanha, Kisli, Mukki and Sarhi zones. Kanha zone is also called the premium zone because it is located in the middle of the core area and entry into this zone by safari tourists requires an extra fee to be paid for the entry permit.
Safari & Opening Times
The best way to visit Kanha tiger reserve is on a jeep safari into one of the zones mentioned above. In the past elephant safaris were very popular in the Kanha tiger reserve. Here elephants were used for tiger tracking and should a tiger be located, the elephant would take visitors to the site. However, due to tighter tiger protection laws enforced by the state government, tiger tracking using elephants is banned and elephant safaris are no longer allowed.
There are two jeep safaris a day, starting from dawn until late morning, and mid afternoon until sunset. The best time to visit the park is early in the morning or after 4 pm to spot the animals.
Timings for Park Excursions
1st Nov to 15th Feb – Sunrise to 12pm & 3pm to sunset
16th Feb to 30th Apr – Sunrise to 12pm & 4pm to sunset
1st May to 30th Jun – Sunrise to 11am & 5pm to sunset
Entry Fees & Permits
Entry into one of the Kanha tiger reserve zones requires a jeep and a permit to be obtained in advance. Jeep numbers are limited and getting a permit can be a pain as permits for each zone are limited to a set quota per session. 80% are sold via www.mponline.gov.in and may sell out a month or so in advance. The remaining 20% are sold on the day. Tickets for the morning safari, particularly in the premium zone, are much sought after and people may queue overnight to ensure a spot. It’s better to buy your permit in advance if possible. Otherwise an agency may be able to book you a spot – either by joining you with an existing jeep that has space, or by having a local lad line up overnight on your behalf – no guarantee with this one.
Afternoon game drives, especially to less popular zones like Mukki and Sarhi, may have permits available with no queuing required.
Permits can be obtained at the Booking Office in front of the Khatiya Gate which opens around 4am.
The park can be visited only by 4WD Gypsys which are available for hire either from a government office near the entry gate or else can be booked via your hotel or travel agency.
Prices below are as at 30th March, 2014
Jeep cost is Rs 1800 and can be shared between a maximum of six people. Each jeep load must then pay a guide fee (Rs 300) and an entry fee. The entry fee is different depending on whether you are going to the premium zone or not and whether your jeep group includes only Indians (even if a jeep has five Indians and one foreigner the jeep is charged the foreigner rate).
Entry fee for a jeep of Indians only:
Premium zone – Rs 1,850
Non-premium – Rs 1,250
Entry fee for a jeep with at least one foreigner:
Premium zone – Rs 3,650
Non-premium – Rs 2,450
For student groups entry fees can be made 50% on special request to the field director office in advance.
If you are a group of four foreigners who want to visit the premium zone the total cost will be Rs 1,800 (jeep) + Rs 3,650 (entry fee) + Rs 300 (guide fee) = Rs 5750 for the group. Obviously the more people you can share with the cheaper it will be per person.