“The Jungle Book” is on everyone’s lips at the moment – the all-new epic adventure based on Rudyard Kipling’s collective works and the original Disney animated film is out this month and we couldn’t be more excited.
Set in the remote jungle of central India, orphaned “man-cub” Mowgli is forced to leave his jungle home due to being hunted down by a fearsome tiger called Shere Khan. Mowgli encounters all the creatures of the jungle on his journey to safety, not all of whom have his best interest at heart. A protective panther named Bagheera; a free-spirited bear called Baloo and a hypnotic python to charismatic orangutans, elephants and more!
It’s got us dreaming of seeing all these wondrous animals for ourselves and we think we’ve got the perfect itinerary to do just that. This journey takes you through central India’s best national parks, getting you off the beaten track, giving you the best opportunity to spot incredible wildlife and all in the ultimate luxury.
Start at Bandhavgarh National Park, the former hunting ground for the Maharaja of Rewa and the best place to spot tigers in the wild. The park has gorgeous open grasslands, rolling hills and a unique remote temple in the center of it. Stay at Mahua Kothi, the flagship &Beyond/Taj property with only 12 charming suites and gorgeous private courtyards to explore. There are two safaris on offer a day, nature walks, tribal village visits and a spa to unwind in at the end of the day. We can even arrange your own private elephant experience so you can quietly stomp through the parks and seek out the huge array of wildlife.
Then drive south to stay at a luxury tented camp, Banjaar Toli in Kanha. This is one of the largest parks in India and contains a mixture of meadows, grassy highlands and bamboo jungle as well as a large population of tigers, leopards, swamp deer, sloth bear and wild dog. With floating verandas, lantern-lit jungle dinners and only a green ribbon separating it from the lush jungle, it’s a wildlife enthusiast’s heaven.
Finish up in the national park that inspired Kipling’s Jungle Book itself, Pench National Park. Less visited than others, your game drive will be largely interrupted and a great place to end your wildlife adventure. Spot more tigers and leopards, as well as jackal, jungle cat, wild boar, over 300 varieties of birds and much more. Baghvan lodge comprises of 12 sumptuous cottages, where you can sleep under the stars, learn how to prepare traditional dishes with the lodge’s expert chefs, have in-room spa treatments or simply relax around their inviting swimming pool.
The best wildlife sightings are between March and mid-June (though the later you leave it the hotter it gets!). And if you wanted to extend your journey to discover more of India, add some time to unwind in Goa or Kerala or discover more culture in Varanasi, Delhi or Ahilya Fort.