With its very high tiger population, Tadoba Tiger Reserve is fast becoming a hot favorite with people who love wildlife and want to see the animals up and close in their natural habitats. The chances of tourists spotting a tiger or two during their weekend visits are very high indeed. However, many tourists find the multitude of entry gates and the close relationship that accommodation has with them very confusing. Some useful clarifications:
The total area covered by the Tadoba Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary is 625.40 sq. km, including the 116.55 sq. km. Tadoba National Park that was merged with it in 1955. The entire area is classified into two zones; the core zone and the buffer zone. The core zone, as the name suggests, is the heart of the reserve that has only the forest and the animals without any human habitats. The buffer zone is the area outside the core zone that has vegetation, animals, as well as human habitation. The villagers are the caretakers of the buffer zone preventing illegal animal poaching and encouraging eco-tourism. Despite what many people are inclined to think, the buffer zone has lots of animals, including tigers. The numerous hotels and resorts at Tadoba national park are all situated in the proximity of the buffer zone.
Tadoba Safari Gates
Visitors can enter the Tadoba reserve by as many as 12 gates; six each in the core zone and the buffer zone. While this may seem to be a very good deal to the tourist, the real problem lies in the fact that these gates are typically separated by huge distances; in some case it could be even in the range of 120-130 km and it is impractical for tourists to consider moving from one gate to another in the hope of maximizing their chances of a tiger sighting. If you want multiple safaris try to use just one gate or enter through gates that are relatively close. If you stay at a resort near one gate and wish to enter through another gate that is far away, you will end up losing valuable time getting there in the morning and will be one of the last to enter or even denied entry. Similarly, getting back to the hotel for lunch and back in time for the afternoon safari the same day would be a steep challenge.
Often tourists can’t make up their minds regarding what they should book first, the safari or the accommodation. While it is true that both are critical elements, it is recommended that you book the safari at the gate of your choice first. Consulting travel agents or other reliable sources of tiger sighting statistics will give you a good idea of the likelihood of a sighting at each of the gates. Follow up on the safari booking by reserving accommodation at that gate. It helps to have made a shortlist of hotels and resorts at each of the gates beforehand so that you don’t lose valuable time in research after booking the safari.