Panna National Park was originally a hunting reserve, owned by the Maharaja of Panna, the boundary of the 540 sq. km park is marked by the broad and rocky River Ken which flows through the Vindhya Range in Madhya Pradesh on route to the Ganges.
The park was declared a tiger reserve under project tiger in 1994 and was initially a great success story, unfortunately corruption amongst park officials led to a rapid increase in poaching and there were no tigers left by 2009. Tigers have now been re-introduced and have bred successfully, so are now, once again the apex predator, roaming this beautiful park, although numbers remain very small.
The park is deeply forested with dry deciduous varieties such as teak, acacia and sal and is a very scenic park. The dense cover provides excellent habitat for nilgai, chinkara, sambar and chital as well as more elusive species such as the sloth bear, wolf and the smaller cats. Panna has a very good population of leopards which have flourished while the tiger population was decimated, there is a good chance of spotting them here. The Ken River is also home to both of India’s crocodiles, the mugger and the fish eating gharial, for which there is a separate breeding sanctuary.
The park is an excellent birding destination and seven of the eight species of vulture found in India are believed to be resident here.
Activities in Panna National Park
Activities include game drives, elephant-back safaris and boat safaris on the Ken River. village visits and guided walks are possible in the buffer zone.
The park is very close to the erotic Hindu and Jain temple complex at Khajaraho, a world heritage site, so this is an essential visit for visitors to Panna.
Species found in Panna National Park
Tiger, leopard, wild dog (dhole), sloth bear, wolf, striped hyena, caracal, nilgai, chinkara, chousingha, chital, sambar, rhesus macaque, Hanuman langur, jungle cat, rusty spotted cat, Indian desert cat, palm civet, gharial, and mugger crocodile.
Best Time to Visit Panna
Open 16th October to 30th June, best from November to May.
Closed on Wednesday afternoons.
Chance of seeing a tiger – slim
Location – Madhya Pradesh