Nagpur: Taking a step further to boost wildlife tourism, the Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra is going to start full day safari from May 17. Along with this, night patrolling and night machan stay are also being introduced.
According to Pench Deputy Director (Core) Prabhu Nath Shukla, from May 17, PTR has decided to introduce a day-long safari from 6.30 am till 6.30 pm for Rs 30,000. It will be inclusive of all costs including vehicle, guide, entry, and camera fees. Food and water will have to be brought by tourists. The bookings have already started online at mahaecotourism.gov.in.
The carrying capacity for a day-long safari will be two vehicles each from Khursapar, Sillari, Chorbahuli core entry gates, and Nagalwadi in the buffer. The vehicles will be allowed to move in tourism zones only, said Shukla.
The park has also reintroduced a night safari for Rs 3,900 from 8.30 pm to 12 midnight in Paoni and Nagalwadi with a carrying capacity of three vehicles with 5 tourists in one vehicle. Besides, machan sittings will be allowed from 5 pm till 6 am next day for Rs 2,900, including drop and pick-up charges. Tourists will be accompanied by a forest guard.
Earlier, night safari and machan tourism were launched in Nagalwadi by then Field Director M S Reddy on December 10, 2015. It was closed as the response was not encouraging. Between 2015 and 2017, only 60 vehicles opted for night safari while 30 tourists enjoyed machan sittings earning a revenue of Rs 70,000 only.
In Gorewada too, night safari was closed due to poor response after a couple of years. In Tadoba buffer, it is still continuing from three gates Navegaon-Ramdegi, Junona, and Palasgaon. Sources said a day-long safari in TATR costs Rs 45,000 while in MP Pench it cost Rs 65,000.
Pench is spread over 686 sq km of which 484 sq km is a core area while 202 sq km consists of a unified buffer from Paoni and Nagalwadi.