Wild Karnataka: In Search of Saya, the Black Panther

9 Days
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The holy grail in terms of big Indian cat… The black panther. The real incarnation of Bagheera in Rudyard Kipling’s Book of the Jungle, she is the spirit of the forest that many seek to photograph it or simply observe it. It inspires legends around the world and seems to draw a line between myth and reality. In truth, they are melanic leopards, but this simple fact does not make them any less attractive. These intriguing black-box cats are only found in the impenetrable rainforests of Southeast Asia, where it is almost impossible to see through thick, tangled vegetation. In recent years, Kabini (part of Nagarhole National Park) has become famous for housing a very special dominant male, called “Saya”. He controls much of the reserve and has become extremely confident in his reign, often allowing for privileged encounters.

During our 8 night stay in a beautiful lodge, we certainly hope to see a wide range of other animals including the Asian elephant, tiger, leopard, many deer and hundreds of birds. If we’re lucky, the sight of the black jeais predator will crown a rich and exciting adventure.

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Day 1

Arrival in Bangalore - Kabini NP (5 H drive - 260 km)

Welcome to Bangalore airport and road to Kabini. Night in a lodge by the river.

Day 2 to 8


Over the next seven days, we are exploring the forests and streams of the reserve. Throughout our stay, the Black Panther will never be far from our mind. We will search for this mythical animal on the lookout for the warning cries of monkeys and deer as they approach a predator.

Besides Saya, Nagarhole's abundant wildlife will certainly captivate us. This region is home to the largest herds of Asian elephants in India, including some of the last great tuskers of the subcontinent, as well as other mammals such as Indian bison (gaur), sambar and wild boar. The Dhole (Indian wild dog) is frequently seen, and it is also one of the best places in India to observe the leopard, although they face increasing competition from a thriving tiger population (400!!!) Avifauna is also remarkable, and includes endemic species such as the blue-winged parakeet, the Malabar grey calao and the white-bellied magpie. We will explore the park by 4x4, by boat and on foot, which will allow us to appreciate this diversity of the park. Walking safaris will take place in the Kabini buffer zone. Boat trips can be particularly successful when groups of Asian, Chital and Sambar elephants descend to drink water.

The smooth-coated otter is also a regular sight, as are marsh crocodiles and various waterfowl, including the open-billed stork, Coromandel's Anserelle and the long-tailed Jacana...

After an emotional day, return to the lodge to enjoy the pool or stroll around the area. Many optional activities.

Day 9

Kabini – Bangalore (5 H - 260 Km)

After breakfast, transfer to Bangalore for international flight. End of our services.

An optional 3-day extension is available at a private plantation in Wayanad National Park or in Valparai to observe the Ouandérou (Lion-tailed Macaque).

It is possible to spend one or two nights in Mysore on the road to Bangalore. The magnificent palace of Mysore is illuminated every Sunday evening.