Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Taking its name from the forested mountains of the Satpura Range, Satpura is one of central India’s best kept secrets and a rewarding destination for those willing to venture off the beaten path.

Established in 1981, this little-visited park sprawls for over 500 square kilometres in India’s central highlands. It has a rugged landscape dominated by thick sal, teak and bamboo forests, as well as sandstone peaks and narrow ravines. The park is a biodiversity hotspot, with leopards, tigers, chital, bison, wild boar, four-horned antelope and sambar – to name a few – all coexisting here. Not to mention a rich birdlife featuring kingfishers, hornbills, crested hawk eagles and peafowl.

Although Satpura’s tiger population doesn’t compare to places like Bandhavgarh, there’s still many reasons to make it a part of your luxury, tailor-made vacation to India. One of the park’s best features is that visitors are able to head out on foot and explore with local guides, something that isn’t possible in the majority of the country’s tiger reserves. Walking safaris are a superb way to really immerse yourself in this unspoilt region, and see and experience the smaller aspects of the jungle.

Other activities on offer include day and night game drives, elephant safaris and boating along the tranquil Denwa River – the best way to spot birds and admire the beautiful scenery. With few visitors, those who do make the effort to travel here are rewarded with a truly peaceful jungle experience. You may even feel as though you have the vast wilderness all to yourself.

  • It was a complicated and very individual trip, and several changes were made by me during the planning. None of this seemed to worry Ayesha and everything went according to plan.

    AM, India, 2014