That evening at the resort, I am watching a documentary called Nagarhole -Tales from an Indian jungle, which captures the essence of the forest and its animal life through the seasons (watch an excerpt at http://www.froghopperdvds.co.uk/nagarahole-indian-jungle ). I learn that the elephants at Kabini are endangered by human encroachment and the silting of the river which threaten their habitat and source of sustenance. The coffee plantations which have come up in the neighbouring areas also block their traditional migration routes. It’s disheartening to think that unless we are careful, these elephants may only be seen in photographs.
Facts & Figures
Adult Asiatic elephants are between three to six tonnes in weight and about two to three and a half metres tall. Their African counterparts are heavier, taller and have bigger ears which reach upto the neck. Asian elephants also have a convex or straight back and not a concave back.
Getting there: Kabini is around 250 km from Bangalore and 80 km from Mysore. Trains between Bangalore and Mysore are frequent and it’s a short two to three-hour trip. From Mysore again it’s a two-hour drive and the road, except for the last ten odd kilometres, are mostly good.
Places to Stay: There are a few resorts near Kabini which are priced somewhat exclusively. Another alternative is to stay in Mysore which has many reasonably priced home-stays and drive to Kabini for the safari.
Photography Tips: Go for as many safaris as you can afford. At least one in the morning and another in the afternoon. And carry a good long lens or a good lens fitted with a converter especially for the birds. There is good light but all the birds and animals are really far away. A walk in the nearby villages can also be extremely rewarding.