Nagarahole National Park

Open-air zoo

There are so called "National Parks" offering "Tiger Safaris" - with a 110% probability of spotting Tigers. Bannerghatta National Park south of Bangalore is one of these. They pop you into a grilled bus and drive you to a fenced area with some twenty frustrated Tigers roaming around lazily. Children begin to shriek, cameras to click - and after twenty minutes, the show is done. Although the name would not really attract people, it would be better to name this kind of facility "Bannerghatta Open-Air Zoo".

Jungle
Jungle

Nagarahole National Park

Because a "National Park" is something very different. The Nagarahole National Park is situated 100km south-west of Mysore and spans an area of nearly 650sq.kms. Enough space for wild animals to live in their natural densities - amongst them 60 tigers, 80 leopards, 3500 elephants and lots of tiger's food (sambar, deer, monkeys etc.).

At the border of the national park, there is a tourist resort called Kabini River Lodges. It actually is a luxury hotel with jungle feeling. It is not really a destination for backpackers - but the weekend trip arranged by Siemens was really nice. The accommodation consists either of small lodges at the riverside or of comfortable tents with bathroom. The administration arranges jungle safaris on jeeps. Due to the vast area, it is nearly impossible to spot one of the kings of the national park, the tiger. Sarath, "chief naturalist" of the park, states that nobody deserved seeing a tiger after only one single trip in the jungle.

In his 'previous life', Sarath has been a stock broker. But 15 years back, he completely refused city life and applied as forest ranger. Today, he has huge knowledge of wild life and answers patiently the many (and probably very similar) questions of the tourists.

There is only question remaining: to where do forest rangers go to get away from it all?