The district has an area of 8771 km², and a population of 779,414. It has 9 development blocks, 4 tehsils, and 1214 villages. Much of the population are adivasis (tribespeople), including Gonds. The district lies in the Mahakoshal region, and most of the district lies in the basin of the Narmada River.
Much of the district is forested, and it is home to Kanha National Park, a Project Tiger sanctuary. Kanha has the largest number of tigers in India. The park has won national awards for good management and infrastructure. The park is open year round except for July and August. The district is also home to Mandla Plant Fossils National Park. However once upon a time Kanha and Satpura forest region, now famous as tiger reserves,were ruled by wild Indian elephants and Lions 
Mandla also endows with rich diversity of medicinal plants. Forty three medicinal plant species are described those are utilized by the villagers and traditional healers in its Ghughri block which include Embilica officinalis, Terminalia bellirica, Aegle marmelos, and Buchanania lanzan
^Smita S. Dikshit and C. P. Kala. Traditional Utilization and Harvesting of Medicinal Plants in Mandla District of Madhya Pradesh. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 2014, Vol. 2, No. 2, 48-53</ http://pubs.sciepub.com/aees/2/2/2/index.html.