Sighting Tigers in India
India has always been the favourite destination for tigers lovers. With over 70% of world’s tiger population that has seen an almost 30% increase in last few years, there is no better place than India to see the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in its natural habitat. For a nature lover and wildlife seeker, there are plenty of opportunities in some of the country’s best national parks to see a Tiger. The insiders insight to a successful tiger safari in India would be choosing a national park suited to interest, a knowledgeable and friendly naturalist and a wildlife lodge with comfortable facilities for a memorable adventurous experience.
Best time to see tigers
The period between October and June are the best time to see tigers in the wild. Most of the reserves are closed during monsoon months and open in early October. Immediately after the monsoons, the vegetation is dense and hence making the sightings a bit tricky. The months of February and March have the best weather and the foliage starts thinning and making sightings excellent. The summer months of April & May, the sightings are the best as vegetation has completely dried, temperatures have soared resulting in Tigers lurking around waterholes to quench their thirst. The thick vegetation in October and March makes it excellent for bird watching.
The safaris in India are usually taken in 4x4 open jeeps on a shared basis ad sometimes on a private basis. In many national parks where the number of safaris are limited, it is advisable to book jeeps and safaris well in advance. The game drives are conducted early morning and late afternoon as the animal and bird activity is highest during these hours. For morning safaris, an early start is required usually between 6-6.30 AM, returning for breakfast between 9-10AM. The visitors head out again around 230PM after enjoying a lunch, nap and a possible dip in the pool of their lodge. The safaris last for about 3 hours giving plenty of time to spot the tigers and other mammals. The jeeps apart from an expert driver have a knowledgeable naturalist, who will know the best places to spot the wildlife, point out birds and their names, share interesting stories of the jungle to make sure the visitors have a memorable wildlife experience.
Top National Parks in India for Tigers & Wildlife
Ranthambore National Park: One of the most popular park for wildlife viewing in Northern India – Ranthambore is conveniently located between Agra & Jaipur and hence making it a convenient add on to India’s Golden Triangle. The park is set amidst Aravalli spectacular mountain range, has a 10th century fort and a famous Ganesha temple. The park has an outstanding population of Tigers which has seen a significant growth in the past few years making tiger sighting very likely. With experienced naturalist, brimming bird & wildlife and a wide range of accommodation options, Ranthambore remains the top park on our list to see tigers roaming in the wild.
Bandhavgarh tiger Reserve: This is definitely one of India’s most beautiful parks – named after the highest hill in the forest, from where the Bandhavgarh Fort keeps a vigil over the national park and its habitants. The density of Bengal tigers is one of the highest in the country making tiger -sighting opportunities great. The park has been very popular with tourists and due to a very high chance of spotting tigers has become much busier. The forest department has restricted the number of safaris and hence we recommend booking early. The national park is best visited on an extended northern India trip or better as wildlife focussed holiday taking a few other parks such as Kanha, Pench & Satpura etc.
Kanha National Park: The largest parkin central India, Kanha is one of the oldest and popular tiger reserves of India. The park has a significant population of tiger in the core area along with other endangered species of leopards, wild dogs, wild cats and swamp deer. The main four ranges of Kanha, offer a unique insight into the wildlife to the keen visitor and the large grasslands provide excellent viewing opportunities. The lodges mostly are located around the two main gates, Mukki and Kisli. Kanha is also home to about 22 species of mammals and over 200 species of birds. It was also the inspiration behind Rudyard Kiplings famous novel "The Jungle Book"!
Corbett National Park: The first to come under the Project Tiger initiative, Corbett is the oldest national park in India. After a recent tiger census Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve shelters an astounding number of tigers, rare species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna including crested serpent eagle, Himalayan black bear and Indian elephants. Set in the Himalayan foothills with Ramganga river cris-crossing the park, Corbett reserve has a wonderful location and history. The forest is a birders paradise with over 550 species including the rare Great Pied Hornill and Ibisbill.
Satpura National Park: Located in the Satpura ranges, this is one of the newest and least known national parks. Satpura has the distinction of being the only park to offer walking safaris in the forest and canoeing on the large reservoir. The landscape of the park is extremely beautiful with forested hills, narrow ravines and stunning gorges. The Tawa reservoir provides a scenic reflection of the hills, making the scenery nothing but magical. Although Satpura is one of the most beautiful park and an excellent habitat for wildlife, the tiger sightings are not as frequent as in other reserves. It’s a great forest to spot leopards, sloth bears and many species of birds and butterflies.
Tadoba National Park: Located in the neighbourhood of central India’s parks, this is a little gem which is relatively unknown to the visitors. Open throughout the year, Tadoba offers private safaris unlike many other reserves. With a handful of lodges, the park remains tourist free and perhaps has the highest density of tiger population. The growing population of tigers, leopards and sloth bears are often seen around the two lakes and many waterholes. The birding too is excellent in and around the national park.
Nagarhole Tiger Reserve: With highest concentration of Asian elephants in the world, Nagarhole is located in southern state of Karnataka in the western ghats. Once an exclusive hunting ground for Mysore’s rules, the park has frequent sightings of bisons, elephant & leopards. The tigers although occasional are plenty in numbers making the sightings exciting. The park offers safari options by boat, a local coracle or shared vehicles. The easy access of Nagarhole from Mysore and northern Kerala makes it an exciting wildlife stop on a south India itinerary. The prize catch for wildlife enthusiasts here has always been the very rare Black Panther!
Bandipur Tiger Reserve: This has been one of the first national park to adopt the Protect Tiger and the primary reserve for tiger spotting in South India. Bandipur falls within India’s largest contiguous forest including Nagarhole and is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The park is famous for its tiger and elephant population along with the sandalwood trees. Bandipur can either be combined with Nagarhole to make a southern wildlife itinerary or combine it with a tour of Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala.
THESE ARE SOME IDEAS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY TO INDIA, TIGERS & WILDLIFE:
GOLDEN TRIANGLE & TIGERS
FROM £2395.00 per person, incl flights
New Delhi/ Agra/ Sawai Madhopur/ Jaipur/ New Delhi
This classic journey combines India's Golden Triangle with thrill of spotting the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in the wild. The ultimate tour of India takes in Delhi, India's magnificent capital, the stunning Taj Mahal in Agra, Ranthambore which has a thriving population of tigers. This itinerary blends some of the most spectacular cultural sights of India with a wildlife experience.
IN SEARCH OF THE TIGER
FROM £3995.00 per person, incl flights
Pench Tree Lodge/ Kanha National Park/ Bandhavgarh National Park/ Satpura National Park
This wildlife holiday will take you to central India’s most diverse and stunning national parks in search of the famous Bengal Tiger, rare mammals, birds and reptiles. It is the ultimate holiday for those who enjoy wildlife, game drives and are captured by the charisma of India’s tiger.
RAJASTHAN- FORTS, PALACES & LEOPARDS
FROM £4280.00 per person, incl flights
New Delhi/ Agra/ Jaipur/ Nimaj/ Jodhpur/ Bera/ Udaipur/ New Delhi
The best way to experience Rajasthan is to combine big cities with the rural towns and villages of the princely state. This itinerary focuses on the many rural gems off the beaten track. From royal mansions to luxury tented camps, forts to hunting lodges, this is a leisurely journey through traditional India. From Delhi continue to see the magnificent Taj Mahal, busy bazaars of Jaipur and the lovely retreat of peaceful Chhatra Sagar. Learn about the Rajputana valour in Jodhpur, chase leopards in the wilderness before ending in the most romantic Udaipur.
SOUTH INDIA- TOY TRAIN, BACKWATERS & BEACHES
FROM £3285.00 per person, incl flights
Mysore/ Kabini Forest Reserve/ Ooty/ coonoor/ Kochi/ Alappuzha/ Mararikulam
Travelling through one of the most historic & beautiful regions of India, this is a memorable journey from princely Mysore to the beautiful spice town of Kochi. Start in Mysore exploring the palaces before spending time chasing wildlife in the Nagarhole National Park - arguably the finest in south India. From here drive up in the hills to the charming colonial settlement of Ooty. Wander through the tea estates that surround the hill station before travelling on the famous ‘Toy Train’ down the western ghats. From Cochin head towards the tranquil backwaters to cruise on your private houseboat and finally relax beside the Arabian Sea on the beautiful Keralan coast.
Tailored Journeys is about helping you explore one of the most fascinating and beautiful regions on earth, in style. Even if – especially if – you don’t know where to start, call us now to talk about creating your own Tailored Journey – and let the dream begin.