India, with its varied landscapes and abundant biodiversity, offers some of the world’s most exciting wildlife safari experiences. From the majestic Royal Bengal tigers of Ranthambhore to the elusive leopards of Kabini, embarking on a wildlife safari in India guarantees an unforgettable adventure.
However, there have been incidents captured in videos circulating on the internet, such as wild animals chasing safari vehicles or, more recently, an incident in Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary where a rhino toppled a safari vehicle. Past cases have also been reported, including tigers chasing vehicles in Ranthambore or elephants running behind in Corbett.
Upon analyzing these incidents, it becomes clear that it is often our own actions that provoke these reactions from the animals. We forget that the jungle is their natural habitat, and they permit our presence only if they feel safe. Every animal and bird in nature has its private space, and if that boundary is crossed, they may either flee or resort to defensive measures, including attacks. You can also read the do’s and don’ts while on a tiger safari in India here.
To ensure both your safety and the well-being of the wildlife, it is imperative to strictly adhere to wildlife rules while embarking on this exhilarating journey. Understanding and respecting the animals’ boundaries and natural instincts are essential for harmonious coexistence in their home, ensuring a truly enriching and safe wildlife safari experience.
Important Rules, Tips, and Guidelines to follow inside the National Parks & Tiger Reserves of India
1. Respect the Wildlife
When visiting any wildlife reserve, it’s crucial to remember that we are the guests, and it’s our responsibility to respect the inhabitants of the forest. Our actions have consequences, and any attempt to disturb or irritate wild animals may cause unfavorable outcomes for us. Every animal has their own particular set of behavior which we can’t predict and any wrong judgment may prove lethal to us.
There are cases where the wild animals chase even experienced wildlife scientists, so never think that you are an expert and can predict the wild animals. If we don’t disturb the animals, we get more insight into their natural behavior and spend more time observing them. Wildlife safaris in India are safe for all ages if you follow the forest department’s set rules and listen to your guide.
Rule: Maintain a safe distance from animals. Do not disturb, chase, or feed them.
Tip: Use binoculars and zoom lenses for a closer view. Respect their natural behavior and habitat.
2. Follow the Guide
On your wildlife safari, it is mandatory to take one guide which is provided by the forest department and you also have your experienced naturalist provided by the lodge or your travel agent. Sometimes these naturalists drive the vehicle and coordinate with the guides to get the best experience for you. Be it a walking safari, boat safari, or vehicle safari, these guides and naturalists lead the way because they have good experience with the forest area.
Most of the guides are born and brought up near these jungles and know every corner. They encountered many animals on foot and also, and they also got training from the forest department for not only showing you the wildlife but also keeping you safe. So, follow their instructions. This will not only enhance your wildlife safari experience but also keep you safe.
Rule: Listen to your safari guide. They know the terrain and the behavior of animals.
Tip: Guides are a wealth of information; ask questions and learn about the wildlife you encounter.
3. Silence is Golden
A recent study conducted in Africa has shown that animals get more scared by human voices than the growl of lions. Most of the animals can listen very well and even if we murmur, they can listen it very well, so the key is to keep silent when you are on safari and want to get good animal sightings. Your silence also helps the guide to listen to the jungle sounds very well which helps him to find the best for you.
Rule: Keep noise to a minimum. Animals are more likely to appear when the surroundings are calm.
Tip: Turn off your phone and other electronic devices. Enjoy the sounds of the wild.
4. Stay in the Vehicle
One of the primary concerns for your safety during a safari is to strictly adhere to the rule of staying inside the vehicle. In many wildlife parks, disembarking from the vehicle is strictly prohibited, and this restriction is in place to ensure your safety. Stepping out of the vehicle in unauthorized areas puts you at significant risk, as you may encounter unseen animals within the bushes or sudden appearances that could cause injury. However, there are spots within the park where visitors may exit the vehicle, stretch their legs, access restroom facilities, and, if allowed, enjoy refreshments such as tea, coffee, or breakfast.
It’s essential to follow these guidelines to guarantee both your safety and the well-being of the wildlife. Another thing you keep in mind is not to stand in a running vehicle. Standing in a moving jeep can lead to potential dangers, such as hitting a low-hanging branch or falling inside or outside the jeep because of sudden movements or speed. Always wait for the guide’s instructions to maintain a secure environment for everyone on the safari.
Rule: Remain inside the safari vehicle unless instructed otherwise.
Tip: The forest department of India specifically designed the safari vehicles in India to ensure your safety. It’s crucial not to stand up or exit the vehicle without the guide’s permission.
5. No Flash Photography
Avoid using flash photography during the safari. The forest might not always provide ideal lighting conditions for photography. However, using flash, even in low-light situations, is strictly prohibited. It’s advisable to increase the ISO setting on your camera to capture better pictures in darkness. Most times, flash doesn’t do justice to the natural beauty of the jungle, and it’s best to not use it. A sudden flash can startle animals, impacting their behavior and potentially affecting future sightings. To respect wildlife and preserve the natural environment, it’s essential to avoid flash photography at all times.
Rule: Avoid using flash, especially near animals. It can startle them.
Tip: Use natural light and adjust your camera settings for the best shots.
6. No Feeding or Littering
The forest department of India strongly discourages feeding wild animals as it can lead to human imprinting, altering their natural behavior in the long run and affecting their survival. Feeding can introduce diseases and disrupt their natural reproduction patterns by reducing the time they spend searching for food resources.
This can cause unnatural population growth. Similarly, littering is another harmful practice that should be strictly avoided. Not only does littering harm wildlife in the reserve, but it also negatively impacts the overall aesthetics of the jungle. To preserve the natural balance and beauty of the environment, refraining from feeding and littering is essential.
Rule: Do not feed animals; it disrupts their natural behavior. Carry back all your litter.
Tip: Bring reusable containers and dispose of waste responsibly.
7. Be Patient
This is the essence of a remarkable wildlife safari experience. Always remember you are not in a controlled environment like a zoo; you are in a wildlife reserve where animals roam freely. Each wildlife safari is unique, and that’s what makes it so captivating. You may encounter abundant wildlife on your very first safari, yet on the flip side, it’s also possible that even after several safaris, your sightings might be limited.
Consider these encounters as a matter of chance, which significantly increases when you diligently adhere to all the aforementioned rules. Respect for the wildlife and following the guidelines enhance the likelihood of unforgettable wildlife encounters, making each wildlife safari a truly unpredictable and extraordinary adventure.
Rule: Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed. Be patient; the wild has its own rhythm.
Tip: Enjoy the overall experience; every moment in the wilderness is unique.
Frequently Asked Questions for Tiger Safaris in India
Q1: What Should I Wear on a Safari?
A: Wear neutral-colored, lightweight, and comfortable clothing. A hat and sunglasses are also advisable. Bright color cloths scare the animals.
Q2: Is it Safe to Visit During Monsoons?
A: Many parks are closed during monsoons because of bad roads and breeding season of many herbivores. Always check the timings before planning your visit.
Q3: Can I Bring Children on Safari?
A: Yes, but there are age restrictions. Check with the wildlife safari provider and park authorities for specific rules.
Q4: Are Night Safaris Allowed?
A: Night wildllife safaris are allowed in some parks, but regulations vary. Check-in advance and follow all guidelines.
Q5: Can I Camp in the Wildlife Reserves?
A: Camping inside reserves is generally prohibited. There are campsites nearby; plan in advance.
Q6: What’s the Best Time for Wildlife Sightings?
A: Most of the animals are active in early mornings and late afternoons so that is the best time to see them.
Q7: Are there restrictions on the use of mobile phones and electronic devices during a safari?
A: Yes, it’s best to turn off or silence your mobile phones and electronic devices. Loud ringtones and sounds can disturb both wildlife and fellow wildlife safari-goers.
Q8: Is it allowed to go off-road during a safari to get closer to animals?
A: No, vehicles must stay on designated paths. Going off-road can damage ecosystems and disturb wildlife habitats.
Read more Indian wildlife & tiger safari related FAQs here.
Embarking on a wildlife safari in India is a mesmerizing adventure, allowing you to connect with nature in its purest form. By adhering to these rules, tips, and guidelines, you contribute to the conservation efforts while ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. So, gear up, follow the rules, and get ready for a thrilling journey into the heart of the wild. Happy safari!