The first time’s always the best. Take it from me, my first tiger sighting or for that matter my first time being in a jungle, a REAL NATIONAL PARK, the wild wild country, Ranthambore, was more beautiful and eye opening than I ever imagined it to be. The proof you ask- I run two wildlife tour companies, Nature Safari India and Tiger Safari India, and blogging about every wildlife experience I have been lucky enough to be a part of.
Lucky you! Even after years of touring forests, we’re very envious of people experiencing the insides of a jungle for the first time. I wish I had someone tell me what to expect or what to do and not to do while in a jungle. However, let me be kind and share my knowledge with you. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you by your first wildlife safari in an Indian national park.
Do’s and Don’ts during your wildlife safari in India
* Travel very light: The less baggage you have, the more you are at freedom to get out of the safe territory and explore. We love that. Not to mention zero stress about having left that diamond ring on the table.
*Do research on weather and the expected temperatures during safaris. A lot of guests coming from cold countries under-estimate the winter temperatures in the forest and are surprised.
*If you are sensitive to dust, carry a mask to cover your nostrils and mouth. The tracks in national park are mostly dry and dusty.
*Carry your passport or the photo ID you provided while booking the safari permit. REMEMBER, you will NOT BE PERMITTED to enter a national park WITHOUT a valid PHOTO ID.
* Read a little about the place you’re visiting: Most of our forests have a very important past. They were battle sites, and sites of worship. Knowing that history enhances your experience. Guides, drivers and naturalists will definitely brief you, but it’s always good to have extra knowledge.
* Do NOT treat wildlife as a bunch of pretty things: It’s sacred to the locals in and around the national park. They are not there to entertain you. They’re being taken special care of because they require preservation. First priority will always be given to them, you’re in their home after all. Maintain a respectable boundary.
* Asking ‘ Sher kab dikhega?’ ( When will I sight a Tiger?) will not help. Ever. It’s a national park, not a zoo. Do not go with the hope of sighting wildlife every two steps.
The last thing to remember before going on that awesome safari!
- It’s a tiger park. Of course, you’ll see tigers! But be patient, dear friend.
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.