Safari Vehicles in National parks of India is the topic for our blog-post today. You spend reasonable resources in getting to the national parks and doing safaris. Hence it is important that you understand the vehicle you will be using during the Tiger Safaris in India. The safari vehicles used in India are different than those used in African national parks. In India, we mostly use a 4X4 Maruti Suzuki Gypsy. It is an ideal vehicle for safaris in the national parks of India. The main reasons I think this is the best vehicle in Indian circumstances are:
Brief about safari vehicles in India :
1. Being a petrol vehicle, it is very silent, unlike some other diesel vehicles being used which tend to be noisier. Hence disturbance to the wildlife and the environment is minimal.
2. If this is your first safari in India, then let me show you this safari vehicle. The thick and lush jungles in India are best explored in an open gypsy.
3. It is powerful, and usually is able to climb steep tracks in some national parks quite silently, and efficiently.
4. Maximum six guests are permitted to sit in this vehicle plus a driver and a guide, making it a total of 8 people in the vehicle. We always recommend being a maximum of 4 guests in this vehicle, for it is a bit less on space for 6. If you happen to be 6 then you tend to rub shoulders while on the tracks during a safari.
5. These vehicles do not have any roof, they are open from top and sides, so be equipped to cover your head during harsh sun or even dust in summers.
6. This vehicle is easily maneuvered compared to some other larger vehicles which go in for safaris.
7. For Tiger photography, this is the best vehicle in India. It is easy to get low angle shots with bokeh backgrounds from this vehicle. Please read my other blog on how to use this vehicle for Tiger photography. The view on all sides is so clear that you can adjust easily to get your shots from the front, back, or sideways.
Vehicle & You (Traveller) :
8. It is important to note that you are supposed to remain in the vehicle during the entire duration of the safari and follow the directions of the guide. They know the parks, the rules, and regulations, so listening to them is mandatory. It is prohibited to get off the vehicle in the Tiger country for your own and others’ safety.
9. During the morning safari, the bonnet of this vehicle also becomes the breakfast table in some national parks. Your naturalist lays down the breakfast spread. This is permitted at some designated spots in some parks and not all parks. It is usually done in some forest camps. The breakfast inside the forest tastes even more delicious, but remember the main purpose of your safari is to see wildlife and the forests, so spend little time on breakfast and move on.
10. I recommend doing some stretches before you get into your safari vehicle. One main reason is that you will be sitting for the next 4-5 hours, so it helps when your muscles are relaxed and no energy blocks. Sitting at one spot can be hard if you are not used to it.
11. To get on and off there is no gate in this vehicle. You basically climb on by placing your foot on a small and steady pedal on the side.
Vehicle & Photography :
12. Some national parks permit the removal of one seat for photographers. This gives lot of space for you to adjust while taking photographs and yes, you can take lot of low angle shots. But this is permitted only in some parks. You may see how it looks once done. But the drawback is then you will tend to have a bumpy ride as you are sitting right behind and nothing and no weight in the center. If you are not into serious photography then it is quite pointless to remove the central seat. Once the seat is removed you can put in a small mattress, and keep all your equipment on it.
13. If you do not remove the central seat and wish to take low angle shots from this vehicle, then you need to have a thin frame and an agile body, to get between the seats, get on the floor, and take shots from the side of the vehicle.
14. This vehicle is quite ideal for two photographers, and not more. A serious professional photographer who carries prime lenses should consider doing safaris alone in this vehicle.
15. In some parks, a 20-seater open safari bus also known as a canter is used for safaris. This tends to get a bit noisy due to a lot of people on board, and the angle for photography is not always good from this vehicle. Besides, the guide in the vehicle is one for 20 guests. But if you are traveling as a group then it is good to take this vehicle.
Know More :
If you wish to know more about the Tiger Safaris and the vehicles being used, please feel free to write to us on [email protected]
Sharad Kumar Vats
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.