October 2017 ( TR#19)
This was one of the lifetime experiences to see the 7 leopards in just 2 days !
The Jawai area of Rajasthan is near to the Udaipur city but also accessible by road from Ahmedabad and Jodhpur. The area have Jawai Dam, grasslands , riverbed and grazing ground. The Hills of Jawai were shaped by lava millions of years ago resulting into natural caves and rock shelters for leopards. With caves and abundance of food, it is the perfect area for Leopards. As per the locals, around 60+ leopards are staying in the Area. With no major issue/conflict with humans reported, it seems that the Jawai leopards are living harmoniously in the midst of people.
We had planned for a 2 night/3 day trip, which includes 4 Safaris. We started our trip from Ahmadabad and it took about 6 hours to reach our Hotel – Varaval Leopard Camp. The Hotel has 5 tents and a dining area. The rooms are very clean and they serve home cooked food. Pushpendra Singh Ranawat & his family give a very personal touch to the whole experience of staying at the camp. The menu is decided based on guest’s preferences. They served us “Dal Bati Churma”, “Sangri Vegetable” and “Pitod ki Sabzi”, which are all authentic Rajasthani preparations.
We had a total 4 safaris, out of which 3 were successful in terms of Leopard sighting. Our guides, Yashwant Singh Ranawat & Jasawant Singh Ranawat were knowing the area well and they put in a lot of efforts for the leopard sighting. They also have a good network to get a good intelligence on the leopard sighting in the area. We were very lucky to see a total of 7 Leopards in 3 safaris – One on the hills of Sena, one on the way to Perwa and 5 on the hills of Perwa. In our Safari to Bera area, we waited for 2+ hours but could not get any sighting of the leopard named “Hira” . The leopard, which we saw on the hills of Sena was a female and she had given birth to 2-3 cubs a week before. We could have seen the cubs if we had planned our trip after 2-3 weeks. During our mission to spot leopards, we also saw jackals, nilgai, pecocks znd a pair of owlet.
Jawai is not a protected wildlife sanctuary. The access to the area is uncontrolled and one can try to spot the leopards at any time during day or night. As this destination becomes popular, the tourism needs to be regulated. It is likely that the leopards will get disturbed and can move to another area.