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A Complete Travel Guide to Kuno National Park: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

“Get ready to unleash your wild side at Kuno National Park, where nature’s beauty meets adventure!”

Kuno National Park, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India, has recently become one of the most talked-about national parks on social media due to the successful implementation of Project Cheetah. This project involves the introduction of eight African cheetahs to the park, which has garnered international attention.

The park was declared a national park in 2018 after years of conservation efforts and covers an area of approximately 344 square kilometres. It boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the magnificent Indian leopard and Southeast African Cheetah.

This wildlife sanctuary, situated in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh, is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure seekers. The park offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of nature up close, with its breathtaking landscapes, pristine forests, and picturesque waterfalls.

Whether you’re looking for an exciting jungle safari or a peaceful retreat amidst nature, Kuno National Park is the perfect destination for you. So, come and experience the magic of this incredible national park and witness firsthand the wonders of India’s diverse wildlife.

Flora in Kuno National Park

The park is primarily covered by dry deciduous forests. It supports a vast range of floral species which include 123 types of trees, 71 types of shrubs and 32 types of exotic spices. The vegetation in the park mainly includes trees such as sal, dhok, tendu and kardhai, which becomes green even before monsoon arrives in the region. Other plant species found in the park include kachnar, kadam, palas, and khair. The park also has a number of water bodies including the Kuno River, after which the park is named, which support aquatic plant life.

Fauna in Kuno National Park

Wildlife in Kuno National Park is known for its diversity. The park is home to a large number of fauna including 33 species of mammals, 33 species of reptiles, 206 species of birds, 14 species of fish and 10 species of amphibians. The names of some major wild animals in Kuno National Park are Indian leopard, African cheetahs, sloth bear, dhole, Indian jackal, Indian wolf, jungle cat, Bengal fox and striped hyena. The park also attracts flocks of birdwatchers as it is home to a large number of long-billed vulture, Indian white-backed vulture, red-headed vulture, brown fish owl and many more.

Kuno National Park Celebrates the Arrival of Four Newborn Cubs from Translocated Namibian Cheetah

New Born Cubs at Kuno National Park

Latest exciting news from Kuno National Park! A cheetah translocated from Namibia last year has given birth to four cubs, bringing hope to conservation efforts and delight to wildlife enthusiasts across India.

Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary – History and Reasons Behind Popularity

Kuno National Park Forest

The history of Kuno National Park dates back to the early 1990s, when the Indian government proposed the idea of reintroducing Asiatic lions to areas beyond their existing habitat in Gujarat’s Gir National Park. This was done to reduce the risk of a single disease outbreak wiping out the entire lion population.

Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, which later became Kuno National Park, was identified as a suitable site for the reintroduction program. The sanctuary was located in an area where lions had historically roamed, and the ecosystem was deemed suitable for their survival. Villagers were shifted outside the forests and an area of 924 square kilometres of the buffer zone was added between 1998 and 2003. In 2009, it became a possible site to reintroduce cheetahs in Madhya Pradesh. And, in 2018, it was given the status of a national park and enlarged by an area of 413 square kilometres.

Cheetah Reintroduction Programme

In 2022, Kuno National Park is selected as the new home for the eight cheetahs as geographically it is located very close to the Sal forests of Koriya, where the native cheetahs were last spotted about seven decades ago. Koriya is now a part of Chhattisgarh. Under the ‘Project Cheetah,’ eight Namibian cheetahs were reintroduced in the forests of Kuno in September 2022. In February 2023, 12 more cheetahs were reintroduced in Kuno from South Africa. With this, it is worth mentioning that Kuno National Park is now one of the major places to experience a cheetah safari in India.

Kuno National Park is known for its successful conservation efforts. The park is home to a number of endangered species, including the Indian wolf and the Indian leopard. Conservation effort in Kuno National Park has been the implementation of anti-poaching measures. Poaching is a major threat to wildlife in the park, particularly tigers and leopards. To combat this, the park authorities have implemented a range of measures, including the deployment of anti-poaching squads, the installation of camera traps, and the use of drones for surveillance. These measures have helped to reduce poaching incidents and protect the wildlife in the park.

Education and awareness programs have also been implemented in Kuno National Park to promote conservation efforts and encourage local communities to participate in conservation activities. These programs have helped to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility among local communities towards the park and its wildlife.

Kuno National Park for Wildlife Tourism

Kuno National Park is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park is open to visitors from October to June, however October to February is the best time to visit here. Visitors can take guided tours of the park, which are led by trained naturalists. The tours allow visitors to see the park’s wildlife up close, and also learn about the park’s flora and fauna. The park also has a number of accommodations for visitors, including guesthouses and tents.

Safari Timings in Kuno National Park

Kuno National Park is open from October 1st, 2022 for visitors. For the time being, only one type of Kuno National Park safari is available, which is Jeep Safari. Cheetah Safari in Madhya Pradesh, in this national park has not been started yet, however it was proposed to start from February 2023.

The Safari Timings in Kuno National Park

Timing Oct 1st to December 31st January 1st to March 31st April 1st to June 30th
Morning 6:00 AM to 11:30 AM 6:30 AM to 11:30 AM 5:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Evening 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Gates of Kuno National Park

As of now, there are three gates to enter Kuno National Park, which are Tiktoli, Peepalbawadi and Ahera.

Safari Booking Procedure

Safari bookings in Kuno National Park depend on the availability of slots and are carried out on a first-come-first-serve basis. So, it is recommended to book your tickets in advance. The procedure is:
Contact the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department: The Madhya Pradesh Forest Department or Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Tourism Department is responsible for managing Kuno National Park. You can contact them through their website or by phone to make a safari booking. Otherwise, you can also reach out to a trustworthy travel agent to book your tickets.

  • Choose Your Safari Mode: For the time being, Kuno National Park only offers jeep safaris. Jeep safaris allow visitors to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.
  • Choose Your Safari Time: Safaris in Kuno National Park are typically offered in the morning and evening. Morning safaris start early in the morning and last for around 3-4 hours, while evening safaris begin in the late afternoon and end at sunset.
  • Pay for Your Safari: You can pay for your safari online or in person. The price of a safari varies depending on the mode of transportation and the duration of the safari.
  • Obtain Necessary Permits: Before entering Kuno National Park, you will need to obtain necessary permits and permissions. The Madhya Pradesh Forest Department can assist you with this process.

The necessary documents you need to bring are:

  • For Name, Age, Nationality and Gender: Government-issued ID proof
  • Identity Card number (Aadhaar Card/ PAN Card/ Driving License/ Passport, etc)
  • Online Booking Permit
  • Entry Permit

It’s important to note that Kuno National Park is a protected area, and visitors are expected to follow all rules and regulations in order to minimise the impact on the environment and wildlife.

Point of Attractions Near Kuno National Park

Fort in Kuno National Park

Palpur Fort or Garhi: Palpur Fort is a historic fort located in Kuno National Park, India. Built in the 14th century, beside the Kuno River it stands tall as a magnificent example of mediaeval Indian architecture from where watching the sunset is a special thing to do.

Amet Fort: It was a part of Raja Bal Bahadur Singh’s Kingdom, who was a king from Chandravanshi dynasty. The fort is now completely engulfed in shrubs.

Maitoni Fort: Maitoni was the first residence of the royal family who came here from Karauli. It showcases massive rickety walls and arches which strongly identify the royalness of the architecture.

Kair-Khoh and Gravity Pipeline: River Kuno is the main source of the national park. But, during the summers, the upper reaches of the both banks of the river witness water scarcity. That’s why, at Kair Khoh, a 18-kilometre-long pipeline was established to supply water to different water holes throughout the forest. The water comes from a natural spring and carried to various water bodies with the help of gravity, without any maintenance.

Other Attractions near Kuno National Park are:

  • Bhanwar Kho
  • Dev Kho
  • Maratha Kho
  • Natni Kho
  • Aamjhir
  • Daulatpura
  • Dev Kund
  • Jain Mandir
  • Ransinh Baba Temple
  • Dhoret Temple

How to Reach Kuno National Park?

Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary

Kuno National Park can be accessed via air, rail, or road. Below are the details of these three modes of transportation.

By Air: The nearest airport to Kuno is Gwalior Airport, located 207 kilometres away. You can also take a flight to Indore or Bhopal, which are international airports.

By Rail: The nearest railway station to the national park is Shivpuri Railway Station, which is located at a distance of around 60 kilometres. Daily trains operate between Shivpuri and Hazrat Nizamuddin Station, which is at New Delhi.

By Road: You can reach Sesaipura in the Sheopur District from Shivpuri by hiring a cab. Tiktoli gate is around 16 kilometres away from Sesaipura.

Travel Tips to Visit Kuno National Park

Cheetah in India

Some of the important points to remember before planning for a Kuno National Park wildlife tour are:

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Kuno National Park is from October to February as the weather is pleasant and suitable for wildlife safaris.

Accommodation: There are limited options for accommodation within the park, so it’s recommended to book in advance. Alternatively, you can stay in nearby towns like Sheopur or Shivpuri.

Entry Permits: You need to obtain a permit to enter the park, which can be obtained from the forest department office or online. You also need to hire a guide and a vehicle for the safari.

Wildlife Safari: Kuno National Park is known for reintroducing cheetahs, so a wildlife safari is a must-do activity. You can book your slots for jeep safari in advance.

Clothing and Gear: Dress comfortably for the safari and wear clothing in earthy tones that blend in with the surroundings. Carry binoculars, a camera, sunscreen, and insect repellent.

Safety: Follow the instructions of your guide during the safari and do not venture out of designated areas. Do not disturb the wildlife or litter in the park.

Local Customs: Respect local customs and traditions when interacting with the local people, and do not cause any harm or disruption to the environment or the wildlife.

Important Points to Remember about Kuno National Park:

State Madhya Pradesh
District Sheopur
Nearest Airport Gwalior
Nearest Railway Station Shivpuri
Established in 1981
Total Area 344.686 square kilometres
Buffer Area 924 square kilometres
Became a National Park 2018
Open to the Public 2022
Project Cheetah 2022, September
Number of Cheetahs 20

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Kuno National Park located??

Kuno National Park is located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Sheopur District.

Why is Kuno National Park famous?

Kuno National Park is the land of a successful cheetah reintroduction programme. It is now a home to 20 cheetahs and the only place to experience cheetah safari in Madhya Pradesh.

What kind of flora and fauna can be found in Kuno National Park?

The park is primarily covered by dry deciduous forests. It supports a vast range of floral species which include 123 types of trees, 71 types of shrubs and 32 types of exotic spices. The park is home to a large number of fauna including 33 species of mammals, 33 species of reptiles, 206 species of birds, 14 species of fish and 10 species of amphibians.

What kind of accommodations are available near Kuno National Park?

Four rest houses are located at Kuno National Park under the Forest Department. Moreover, Madhya Pradesh tourism resort and MP Tourism Kuno Resort are also available near the national park.

What is the safari timings in Kuno National Park?

Safari timings in the morning start from around 6:00 AM and end at 11:30 AM. In the evening, it starts from 3:00 PM and lasts till sunset.

How to reach Kuno National Park?

The nearest airport to Kuno National Park is Gwalior and the nearest railway station is Shivpuri. People can also reach here by road from Shivpuri.

What is the best time to visit Kuno National Park?

The best time to visit Kuno is from October to February.

What are the top destinations to visit near Kuno National Park?

Some of the top places to visit near Kuno National Park are:

  • Palpur Fort or Garhi
  • Amet Fort
  • Maitoni Fort
  • Kair-Khoh and Gravity Pipeline
  • Bhanwar Kho
  • Dev Kho
  • Maratha Kho
  • Natni Kho
  • Aamjhir
  • Daulatpura
  • Dev Kund
  • Jain Mandir
  • Ransinh Baba Temple
  • Dhoret Temple

Published: 30 Mar, 2023

About the author

Nandini Bhattacharya

From the ‘City of Joy,’ Kolkata, Nandini Bhattacharya is a Travel Writer by profession and traveller by passion. She loves to explore places around the world, new cultures, different cuisines and all new things that one can learn outside the home. She also loves to document her journey so that people can be inspired and travel more. Nandini is a nature lover and talks about sustainable tourism. She wants to make this world a good place where people can live healthy and happily.