First part of the travelogue is here: http://nilanjanray.in/kanha-tadoba-3000-km-roadtrip-part-1/
After Kanha, I left for Tadoba. Kisli to Nagpur was a relaxing drive (Khatia – Seoni – Pench – Nagpur). Picked up my old school friend from Nagpur airport, and proceeded towards Kolara, a Northern gate in Tadoba. We were staying in Svasara, a very nice resort in Kolara. It was around 47 degrees C when we reached Tadoba. Got the camera ready, had quick lunch, and was ready for the first safari. Had to dress up like daakus of Chambal – bandana, hat, sunglass – with only the tip of the nose peeping out.
We didn’t see any sign of a big cat, it was too hot. Saw a hare, and a few birds near Tadoba lake. Before coming back, we encountered a pack of wild dogs near Panderpauni. They were far away, but they entertained us with their antics. Going back to the chilled ac room was a pleasure. Rested for a while, had dinner, chatted with the other guests, and crashed.
Next morning was uneventful, apart from a leopard encounter. We had roamed around without seeing any big cat or fresh spoor. When passing abandoned cages near Tadoba Lake (once upon a time those cages were used to raise crocodiles), we saw that a few vehicles had stopped. Apparently a leopard was around. A langur sentry was giving his alarm call. From his excitement, it was apparent that he could see the leopard, which seemed to be in the undergrowth behind the cages. After 5 minutes, there was a snarl, a movement in the bushes, and a glimpse of a tail as the leopard jumped the cage fence and fled. It had been inside one of the cages all this while (perhaps couldn’t figure out how to get out), without any of us seeing it. Went back disappointed. We were supposed to do 4 safaris, we had already done 2 without seeing stripes.