So far we have visited Bandhavgarh national park on safari vehicles, which includes jeeps and canters. Now, state government has taken initiative to offer some other ways of jungle safari experience. Considering the increasing trend of adventure tourism, hot air balloon safari option has been introduced in Bandhavgarh national park. It is a first kind of jungle safari facility in India thus it is going to be totally new experience for wildlife lovers. So far we have heard about hot air balloon safaris in Africa continent only. Now Indian wildlife lovers have the option to experience the similar adventure and thrill in their own country by visiting Bandhavgarh tiger reserve. From 25/Dec/2020, it was inaugurated and first drive was taken by state forest minister Mr. Vijay Shah. Minister and his team seems satisfied with the balloon safari ride.
So far we have seen successful hot air balloon safaris in African countries like South Africa, Kenya, Namibia etc. Due to dry forest regions, here forest grounds are clearly visible thus tourists have good wildlife sighting and thus this kind of safaris are extremely successful in African countries. Here in India, climate is different due to which we will find more dense forests in which watching animals or even ground, from height, is challenging. Thus taking hot air balloon safari with expectation to have good tiger sighting or we can do wildlife photography is doubtful. Still their are some other advantages like through this ride, we will have good understanding of Bandhavgarh tiger reserve landscape. As Bandhavgarh is having many historical statues, structures, temples etc. and these places are closed for tourist access thus from height, we may expect to have a distant view of these places. Although these places are in core zone and balloon safari is on buffer zone area thus not possible to have clear view still by carrying good binocular, we have have that view. In addition to this, it will also offer good view of village locations, green fields, changing topography of land and some birding. Those who are in videography field and would like to make wildlife films on Bandhavgarh, they will prefer this ride to do the photography similar to drone photography which is restricted in national parks.
Hot air balloon safari is not for normal tourists who visits Bandhavgarh with limited budget and normally stays for one or two night in budget or standard category of resorts. This service is operated by private company and cost is also high (above 15000 INR. Per Person Per Ride). Thus being a budget visitors, we can only visit the place and enjoy the view of floating hot air balloon on air. Those who have good paying capacity should at least take one ride to get first hand experience of safari on air. We are sure, first hand ride experience will be full of adventure and thrill. For landscape photography lovers, this will be extremely good experience to have an overview of forest and its varying topography. As its operational cost is high thus in initial phase, this cost will remain high but if this ride will gain popularity and visitors will get increased they it is possible that some other operators may came into light and charges will be revised.
Bandhavgarh national park is mainly open for tourism from October to June month which means monsoon season is excluded here. During monsoon season, Madhya Pradesh state received good rainfall thus during this period, hot air balloon safari will not operate. It is operate mainly on winters, springs and summers seasons. Safari during post monsoon period i.e. from October- November months, it will offer lush green forest view. Here in Central India, winter fog is not a great challenge thus balloon safari will go on comfortably in this period. I believe, summers will be the best period for this safari with best visibility of forest and its ground. Due to dryness on vegetation, our vision will penetrate the trees cluster and have view the animals on ground, nearby waterholes etc. Here good forest sighting is possible when we take low height flight during balloon safari so that visibility will remain good for visitors.