Top 10 tips before planning a Safari in India
Travelling to India can be overwhelming for some, travelling to the rural heartland of India where our wilderness lies may even be a more daunting prospect.
However, in the modern day, a safari tour in India is extremely accessible, safe and varies between highly affordable to luxurious.
We’ve prepared a simple list of 10 questions which need answering before you plan your safari trip to India.
- Which are the best parks to see a Wild Tiger in India?
- Which is the best season for spotting a Tiger in India?
- What is the cost of a Tiger Safari Tour to India?
- How many days or weeks in advance should I plan my safari?
- Is a Safari Trip to India safe?
- What kind of vehicles are used on Safari?
- What should I carry while on Safari?
- Will I have Wi-fi and Cellular Network in the Wild?
- What is the safari duration/How long is a safari?
- Are there Washroom facilities inside the National Park on Safari?
1.) Which are the best parks to see a Wild Tiger in India?
Ans : Having spent almost 03 decades in this business we think we have a good answer. Tiger sightings are a matter of chance and your best chances of spotting a tiger are to do as many jeep safaris as possible.
Certain parks offer better chances due to the dry deciduous forests and the frequency of jeeps visiting the park leads to the usually shy Tiger becoming acclimatized to the safari vehicles.
Top 5 parks in order of likelihood of seeing a Tiger on safari:
- Bandhavgarh National Park
- Tadoba National Park
- Ranthambore National Park
- Kanha National Park
- Pench National Park
2.) Which is the best season for spotting a Tiger in India ?
Ans : Most National Parks in India are open from October to June, and remain closed for tourists due to the monsoon rains from July through September.
The scenario at National Parks in India are vary across seasons and are enjoyable in their own way:
- October & November : The jungle is beautiful, dense and green. Temperatures are near perfectly pleasant.
- December – February : The picturesque Winters in the Indian with golden light shimmering through the morning mist. Temperatures can fall to near 0 °C, hence one must come prepared with layers of clothes.
- March – June : The dry Indian Summers make for increased chances of seeing tigers as they spend their time in or around the various water bodies of 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 sitting in the water, to stave off the heat which is too much for their large carnivorous selves.
3.) What is the cost of a Tiger Safari Tour to India?
Ans : As the National Parks are generally located away from large metropolitan cities, one must spend a few days at a particular National Park.
Ideal duration : 04 nights at each National Park with 07-08 safaris to increase your chances of spotting a tiger and as much wildlife as possible. It also takes time to get to know the park and the ways of each jungle.
Prices : In most popular safari destinations there are various accommodation options to choose from across different budgets :
- 3 star lodges
- 4 star lodges
- 5-star lodges with a luxury safari experience.
A Tiger Tour in 3 star hotels : 12 nights/13 days safari tour should cost approximately
USD 4000/- per couple
A Tiger Tour in 4 star hotels : 12 nights/13 days safari tour should cost approximately
USD 5500/- per couple
A Tiger Tour in 5 star hotels : 12 nights/13 days safari tour should cost approximately
USD 10000/- per couple
We do offer to customise and also run fixed departure tours for groups and single travelers hence there are options on hand across various budgets and duration of stay.
4.) How many days or weeks in advance should I plan my safari?
Ans : In India, due to limited availability of safari permits it is very important to ensure that there will be a safari permit before you confirm your safari trip to India. Ideally, one must confirm all details 4 months before travelling at the very latest.
As a Wildlife Tour Operator, we have thankfully been able to book permits for all our guests thus far, as we recommend that we receive all confirmations atleast 06 months out.
Extra Safaris : These are very difficult to arrange for at the last minute hence it is recommended to travel with a set plan in advance.
5.) Is a Safari Trip to India safe?
Ans : Safety is crucial. We have created a list of Do’s and Don’ts during your stay to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable safari experience.
On Safari :
- Carefully selected guides, drivers and Naturalists who, together with delighting the guests, instruct and follow safety aspects of the safari.
- It is crucial to trust and to listen to the guide in any moments of uncertainty.
- All wildlife lodges share their own safety advice as you check-in for your stay and it is important to keep all in mind.
- There are forest watch-posts or check-posts at short intervals inside the park, where the forest guards reside, which can be accessed in case of any emergencies.
- Animals also prefer to keep away from disturbance and rarely are untoward interactions with safari jeeps ever seen.
In the lodge :
- Some of the lodges which have maintained the jungle habitat inevitably are home to Tigers, Leopards, Elephants, Wild Boar right down to venomous and non-venomous Snakes.
- Hence, the most important too is to carry a flashlight or torch in the darkness and resist the temptation to wander alone at night or very early morning.
- At dusk, one must keep all windows and doors closed to prevent entry of any reptiles or insects inside the rooms.
- Food items must not be carried into the rooms, and are best kept stored in a closed space.
Please refer to this list of Do’s and Donts for detailed information.
6.) What kind of vehicles are used on Safari?
Ans : Open-air 4×4 jeeps are used on safari. Here is a short Youtube Video Blog or Vlog showing you the type of vehicle used for safari.
This jeep can accommodate up-to 06 persons in addition to the Guide & Driver. For a better experience, we encourage booking a private or exclusive safari so that you can have the vehicle to yourself.
7.) What should I carry while on Safari?
Ans : It is mandatory to carry your original identification for each and every safari that you go on.
- For International Travelers : Passports are mandatory.
- For Indian Travelers : Passports, Aadhaar Card, Driving Licence & Voter ID will suffice.
Food & Water : Most likely the lodges will send water along with a light packed breakfast which you can enjoy at a designated spot in the park, but you must confirm the arrangement with the lodge or your agent and whether it is included in your service plan.
8.) Will I have Wi-fi and Cellular Network in the Wild?
Ans : It is unlikely that there will be either fantastic cellular network or WiFi in rural areas of India although that is rapidly changing today. The WiFi internet at the wildlife resorts will also be rather slow, however, these will mostly serve your purpose of receiving messages on Email or Whats-app.
However folks at the lodge will be willing to assist in-case of any exigent requirements that you have.
9.) What is the safari duration/How long is a safari?
Ans : There are usually 2 safari slots in the parks :-
Morning Safari : Dawn till around 1100 hrs
Afternoon/Evening Safari : Between 1500 hrs till dusk.
The timings of safari vary according to the seasons :
In Winter : Safaris begin slightly later than summer depending on the sunrise, and end slightly earlier in the evening at sunset as the days are shorter.
In summer : The opposite of the above holds true.
Full-Day Safari : There is a special permit known as a photographer’s permit, which allows one to stay inside the park the entire day from dawn to dusk. In fact, one is permitted to enter the park 15 minutes before, and exit 15 minutes after all the vehicles on regular permits.
The price of the full day permits is almost 10X the cost of a regular safari, however there is almost unrestricted access to the accessible zones of the park. Contact your agent or tour operator for more information.
10.) Are there Washroom facilities inside the National Park on Safari?
Ans : Here is an honest breakdown of the washroom facilities available on safari :-
- Washrooms may not be very well maintained and are very few and far between inside the National parks, hence it is advisable to use the washroom facility at your hotel before arriving at the park gate. There is also a washroom at the park gate but may not be the cleanest. There are exceptions – and they differ across each destination.
- Thankfully, there is generally a separate washroom for ladies and gents.
- It is recommended to carry one’s own toilet paper and hand sanitizes or wet tissues.
- In India, it is not permitted to leave the vehicle except at designated areas for a washroom break, hence one must keep the driver notified on your washroom needs – especially in winter when it gets chilly!
All in all it is really an eye-opening experience to take tiger safaris in India, and this can be aided if one has an open mind and is well armed with questions.
We wish you all the luck, and hope that you have an enriching safari experience with lots of wildlife sightings and of course, an unforgettable Tryst with the elusive Tiger.
If we have missed any of the questions, or you would like for us to answer your questions in a more detailed manner, please feel free to write to us or call us.
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.