Kanha National Park
Best for: Tigers, swamp deer, mongoose, leopards, wild boar, golden jackals, 300 bird species
Logistics: The Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling found inspiration in Kanha, and when you need a tiger fix, this park offers as close to a guarantee as you’ll get.
Approximately 125 tigers reside in the park, and guides spend considerable amounts of time scouting their locations. More flights to Madhya Pradesh mean better access to central India; Jabalpur’s airport is 75 miles from the park. Good viewing months are from March to June; the park closes from June to September.
Accommodations: Since 1983, the conservation-minded Wright family has run the Kipling Camp on the park’s outskirts. Many cottages were renovated in 2005, and the property features a library and bar area. Plus, the camp has its own safari guides and jeeps. (doubles from $190, including meals and safari; www.kiplingcamp.com).
Tip: On busy weekends and school holidays, ask your driver to enter at the less-crowded Mukki Gate on the park’s far side.