We just got back home after spending a long weekend at the Pench National Park. We spent three days at the tiger reserve, breathing in crisp morning air, listening to the birds chirp and watching the sun go down behind branches of dried Sangwan trees. We sighted herds of spotted deer, monkeys, langurs, tigers and leopards. Definitely, a weekend well spent!
Here is what three days and two nights at the Pench National Park costs us…
We took the Air India flight from Mumbai to Nagpur on Friday morning at 625 hrs and the returned by the Indigo flight on Sunday night at 2025hrs.
The air tickets for the two of us cost about INR 12,000 (booked two months in advance).
Total Airfare: INR 11,700
Pench National Park has five entrance gates, two from the state of Maharashtra and three (Turia, Jhamtara and Karmajhiri) from the state of Madhya Pradesh, with new gates being opened from Maharashtra. Our accommodation was close to the Turia gate, which is about 120km from Nagpur Airport.
Pick and drop from/ to the airport were arranged by our lodge at a cost of INR 2,000.
Total Taxi Cost: INR 2,000
We had booked four safaris online, starting at the Turia gate. The safari permit for each vehicle per safari is INR 1,370. As we had no one else to share the vehicle, we paid a total of INR 5,480 for all our safaris.
Total Permit Cost: INR 5,480
Registered safari vehicles need to be hired to enter the park. This can be done by connecting with the officials at the ‘permit booking window’ a few hours before the safari (on the previous day for the morning safari). Alternately, every hotel can arrange for the vehicle by connecting with the forest officials on your behalf, provided you have booked your permit/ the hotel is applying for the permit.
We requested our hotel to book the vehicles for us, which cost us INR 3,000 per safari, including the guide fee of INR 300.
Note that every vehicle needs to have a forest guide and the guide fee is mandatory. The vehicle, if booked directly with the forest department costs INR 2,000 per safari.
Total Safari Cost (with Guide): INR 12,000
We booked ourselves at the Pench Jungle Camp and enjoyed the ‘jungle feel’ by staying in the tented accommodation, with air conditioner and en suite bathroom. As there are no restaurants around the forest, we opted for a full board plan.
The camp was a great choice…clean and well appointed rooms, delicious food and excellent service. The manager and staff went out of their way to attend to us after Ankur had a fall and injured himself a little.
Total Accommodation Cost (Full Board): INR 19,000, inclusive of taxes
Tips and Miscellaneous Costs: INR 2,000
Adding it all up, three days and two nights at Pench National Park cost us a total of INR 52,180…not two much considering that we got to live in Mowgli’s land!