Essential Guide for a Tiger Safari in India. Few animals in the world can match the royal demeanor of the Royal Bengal Tiger. When one thinks of Indian Wildlife, neurons begin to fire in one’s brain. It transports you to a chapter of the forest where the ochre kissed catwalks across the forest floor with illustrious grace. While the onlooking herbivores raise an alarm as a sign of caution. But to ensure that you completely optimize your visit to the national park, we’re listing a few essential guidelines to remember before you undertake a tiger safari in India.
1. When to book a Tiger Safari in India
We would advise one to book their tiger safari in India at least 5-6 months prior to the date of travel. The reason being that many parks open their online bookings 120 days prior to the safari date. With limited safari permits, the seats often tend to get booked extremely fast. Hence it is advised to be certain of your travel plan at least 5-6 months in advance. They should then commence the process of submitting your photo id. Subsequently, even deposits are to be made to the respective tour operator.
2. Choosing a Tour Operator for booking a Tiger Safari in India
Booking a tiger safari in India well in advance will also give one’s Tour Operator enough notice to plan the safaris accordingly. The popular tiger reserves have different tourism zones. An experienced tour operator is well versed with the tiger sightings in different zones. Although no one can possibly guarantee tiger sightings, an experienced tour operator will craft the safaris in the zones where the chances of seeing the elusive striped cats are higher. You spend your valuable resources on these safaris. Hence it is important to know these critical points listed in this Essential Guide for Tiger Safaris in India.
3. Seasons to witness a Tiger on a Tiger Safari in India
Most of the national parks are open for safaris from October till June. They are closed for monsoon from July till September.
October – November: Post monsoons, the forests of India are renewed with fresh life. Insects and birds are thriving, herbivores have enough to graze and browse for and the Tigers have sufficient water while they’re concealed within the undergrowth of the jungle. Though landscapes are absolutely awe-inspiring during this time, it does pose a challenge to spot tigers because of the dense thickets that are prevalent during this time.
December to February: As the temperature slowly begins to drop, a veil of mist begins to set in some of the national parks of the country. The dappled sunlight filters through the canopy as you navigate scintillating trails in search of the elusive striped cat. Winter in India is when you have a great chance to witness tigers walking on trails as they prefer to mark their territories when the weather is pleasant enough. This environment sets an atmosphere to click some remarkable photographs of the tiger as the green backdrop and golden light ensure you capture the animal in all its glory.
March – June: As the mercury rises, the undergrowth that was once prevalent throughout the forests begins to dry. Most trees have also shed their leaves, which increases visibility through the gaps between the forest trunks allowing you to spot the tiger better. The dry season also increases your chances to witness the tiger for a considerable time as they prefer pools of water within the jungle to quench their thirst or wait discretely as other prey animals such as deer and monkeys venture here. One also has the opportunity of seeing the tiger resting in the water they gain much-needed respite from the summer heat.
4. Things to carry on a Tiger Safari in India?
It is mandatory to carry your passport/photo ID details to show the same at the park entrance when you begin your tiger safari in India. Carrying a pair of binoculars is recommended.
• For International Travelers: Passports are mandatory.
• For Indian Travelers: Passports, Aadhaar Card, Driving Licence & Voter ID will suffice.
As for the clothing. It is for the best to adorn oneself in jungle neutral colors as this makes you look inconspicuous to wildlife during your excursions.
a) October – November: The weather is fairly pleasant and at times can get a bit windy during the safari. An extra layer in the form of a light jacket should suffice during this time.
b) December to February: The temperature can drop to 2 degrees Celsius and below in some of the parks early in the morning. Many lodges provide blankets and hot water bottles for your excursions. But we would highly recommend you carry multiple layer clothing, preferably 4 – 5. This is ideal as the temperature begins to increases dramatically as the day progresses, allowing you to cut down on the layers when required.
c) March – June: While mornings can still be a bit nippy, the onset of the dry season compels temperatures to soar during the day. Carrying a hat that covers the neck is ideal. Sunglasses and sunscreen are a must to protect your eyes and skin during this time.
Do read our blog on Top 10 Tips for Tiger Safari in India
So do your research and consider the essential Guide for a Tiger Safari in India guidelines mentioned above. The ‘Land of Tigers’ awaits.
Born and brought up in New Delhi, it was Sharad’s childhood passion to play cricket for India. While on a holiday in 1990, he saw his first tiger. Little did he know that this one sighting would immerse him into a realm where forests and tigers were all that mattered.
Sharad’s experiences as a wildlife photographer have inspired him to observe the tiger’s behavior for over 30 years and motivated him on his own journey as an entrepreneur. He started Nature Safari India Pvt Ltd, with a focus on “Conservation through Tourism.” to align himself to the mission of saving the regal species and repopulating them in India’s forests. In 2006, he set up one of India’s premier jungle lodges in Kanha National Park.
Sharad believes that there are many lessons to be learned from a tiger that can be applied successfully to leadership—both in business and in life. Here’s a new book by Sharad Vats on management and leadership skills to learn from a Tiger.