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The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Tiger Safari in India

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Tiger Safari in India

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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on planning an unforgettable tiger safari in India. At Indian Maharaja Tours, we are passionate about wildlife conservation and providing our clients with exceptional tiger safari experiences. In this article, we will take you through the step-by-step process of planning your tiger safari in India, ensuring that you have all the necessary information and resources to make your journey a resounding success.

Why Choose India for Your Tiger Safari

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India is a country renowned for its rich biodiversity and incredible wildlife. The Royal Bengal Tiger, one of the world’s most magnificent big cats, lives in India. With over 50 tiger reserves scattered across the country, it offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers in their natural habitat. The lush national parks and reserves in India provide the perfect setting for a thrilling and immersive tiger safari experience.

A tiger safari tour in India is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. Yet organizing a memorable tiger safari trip requires careful planning and preparation. There are many things to think about when preparing for a tiger safari tour in India, from picking the right tour operator to bringing the right gear and clothes. We will discuss everything you require to plan a safe, responsible, and exciting tiger safari in India. This includes tips on photography, packing, budgeting, equipment, safety, and cultural considerations.

India Census 2023 : Increasing Tiger Population in India

Best wildlife destinations for Tiger safari in India - Selecting the Ideal Tiger Reserve

Choosing the right tiger reserve in India for booking wildlife safari is crucial to maximize your chances of spotting these magnificent creatures. India offers several renowned tiger reserves, each with its unique features, landscapes, and tiger populations. Here are some of the top tiger reserves to consider:

Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park is situated in the Vindhya Hills of Madhya Pradesh, approximately 197 kilometers northeast of Jabalpur, the nearest airport. Known for its high tiger density, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is an excellent choice for spotting tigers up close. The park’s diverse landscapes and high chances of sighting a tiger on a wildlife safari add an extra touch of charm to your safari.

Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park is a well-known tiger reserve and wildlife sanctuary located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, 165 kilometres from Jabalpur airport. It is one of the largest national parks in the country and is highly regarded for its diverse flora and fauna. The landscape of Kanha National Park consists of a mix of dense forests, rolling meadows, grasslands, and picturesque valleys, interspersed with rivers and streams. Kanha Tiger Reserve sprawling meadows and dense forests inspired Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.”

Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park is situated in the southeastern part of Rajasthan, near the town of Sawai Madhopur. Located 120 kms from its nearby airport of Jaipur, Ranthambore tiger reserve is easily accessible and most preferred wildlife destination for tourists. Wildlife enthusiasts can extend a visit to Ranthambore National Park with Golden triangle tour of India. Ranthambore tiger reserve is renowned for its tiger population, and frequent tiger sightings are a major attraction for visitors.

Jim Corbett National Park

Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, Jim Corbett National Park is India’s oldest national park and holds a special place in the history of wildlife conservation. Jim Corbett National Park is known for its diverse ecosystem. It features a mix of grasslands, sal forests, riverine belts, and hills. The park is famous for its significant population of Bengal tigers and is one of the best places in India to spot these majestic creatures.

Pench National Park

Pench National Park is a renowned wildlife sanctuary located on the borders of Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh and Nagpur district of Maharashtra. It is easily accessible from Nagpur airport, making it one of the famous tiger reserves of southern west region of India. It is one of the popular national parks in India, known for its rich biodiversity and as the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel, “The Jungle Book.”

Tadoba National Park

Tadoba National Park is situated in the eastern part of Maharashtra, approximately 150 kilometers from Nagpur, the nearest airport. Known as the ‘jewel of vidharbha’, tadoba tiger reserve park is a southern tropical dry deciduous jungle with a mix of dry deciduous forests, bamboo groves, grasslands, and waterbodies. Tadoba is renowned for its rich biodiversity and is home to a wide range of wildlife species.

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Best Time to go on a tiger safari in India.

The timing of your tiger safari in India is crucial for a rewarding experience. The best time to visit depends on factors like weather and wildlife behavior. The dry season, from October to June, is ideal for tiger safaris. During this time, the vegetation is sparse, making it easier to spot tigers near water sources.

Winter (November to February) is peak season, offering pleasant weather and increased wildlife sightings. Summer (March to June) is another good season for sighting tigers. As the temperatures rise, water sources become scarce, and wildlife tends to congregate around water bodies, increasing the chances of spotting tigers and other animals. However, be prepared for the hot weather. Monsoon (July to September) is generally not recommended due to heavy rainfall and closures of most of the tiger reserves and National Parks of India, but some areas offer safaris in buffer zones.

Remember that tiger sightings are not guaranteed, and enjoying the overall wilderness experience is important. Most parks offer early morning and late afternoon jeep safaris, as tigers are nocturnal animals. Check specific timings and park availability with local guides or authorities for accurate information.

Planning Your Itinerary

Designing a well-structured itinerary for a tiger safari tour in India ensures that you make the most of your time and resources.  India has wide variety of wildlife destinations for a tiger safari, known for different landscapes and population of tigers, so start your research and plan ahead. Here are some essential factors for planning your tiger safari tours in India.

1. Choose the tiger safari destinations

First, decide which tiger reserves you want to visit for tiger safari and how much time you have and what you’re interested in. Some of the most famous wildlife destinations to go on a tiger safari in India are Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Ranthambore, Pench, and Tadoba. Each of these places are known for its good tiger population and offers a distinct experience.

2. Determine Safari Duration and Interests

Decide on the duration of your tiger safari tour based on the time available to you. Determine the number of days you wish to spend on your wildlife safari. We recommend a minimum of three to four days to increase your chances of multiple tiger sightings and to immerse yourself in the beauty of the national parks. You can also plan two-three tiger reserves during your tiger safari tour in India to maximize chances of sighting different tigers in different landscapes. Consider the travel time between destinations and allocate sufficient time for each location to increase your chances of tiger sightings. Also, consider any specific interests you have, such as bird watching or exploring the local culture, and plan your itinerary accordingly.

3. Plan Travel Logistics

Once you have finalized your tiger safari destinations, plan your travel logistics. Depending on the distances involved, you may need to consider options such as flights, trains, or buses or private taxis. Evaluate the travel time and cost to each destination and factor this information into your schedule. To make sure you get the most out of a tiger safari tour in India, you need to plan out travel logistics carefully as sometimes distance between two tiger reserves can take much of your time in travelling.

4. Reserve your Accommodation

Depending on your preferences, you can choose from luxury resorts, wildlife lodges, or budget-friendly options. Choose accommodations that offer proximity to the tiger reserves while providing comfortable stay experience to minimize travel time and maximize your wildlife viewing opportunities. Many lodges and resorts are available, catering to a variety of budgets and preferences. Staying in a comfortable wildlife resort amidst nature itself is a memorable experience. You can relax in the lap of nature or go on a jungle trail around the resort after the tiring jeep safaris.

5. Guided Safaris

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Choose guided wildlife safaris led by experienced naturalists and local guides who possess in-depth knowledge of the flora and fauna. They will enhance your understanding of the ecosystem and help you locate tigers and other wildlife more effectively. Many tiger reserves employ local community drivers and guides, but sometimes there are language barriers. We recommend opting for Guided tiger safaris led by expert naturalists and wildlife photographers. Their experience enhances your chances of tiger sighting as well as enhance your knowledge about diverse flora and fauna of tiger reserves in India.

6. Safari Bookings

Contact the respective national park authorities or reputed tour operators to book your safari slots in advance. Many national parks have limited entry and safari vehicles, so it’s advisable to secure your bookings early to avoid disappointment. It’s recommended to book your tiger safari tour in India at least six months advance as many national parks open their reservation 120 days before. Early booking of tiger safari increases your chances to get preferred zones of the tiger reserve. Consider a mix of morning and evening jeep safaris in different core zones for a diverse experience. Private jeep safaris give you freedom to enjoy the wildlife safari as per your preference and interests.

How to make a budget of your tiger safari tour in India

When planning your tiger safari tour in India, budgeting plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience. Start by determining the duration of your trip and number of tiger safaris you want to include. Safari costs are the most expensive aspect of a tiger safari in India, with fees varying based on different tiger reserves, season, and choosing private or shared safaris. It is important to analyse various options based on your preferences of your tiger tour in India and compare prices to find the best value for your money. It is advisable to book your tiger safari tour of India at least before six months in advance due to limited safari options.

Consider the cost of transportation, whether it’s flights or train tickets, as well as accommodation options ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. Additionally, factor in the cost of safari permits, park fees, and any additional activities or guides or naturalists you may require. It’s also important to allocate a budget for meals, travel insurances, and miscellaneous expenses. By carefully budgeting your tiger safari tour, you can make the most of your experience while managing your finances effectively.

Expert Wildlife Photography Tips for Your Tiger Safari Tour in India

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For a wildlife photographer and nature lover, photographing tigers in the wild can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Here are some wildlife photography tips to help you make the most of your tiger safari tour in India. To capture great shots of tigers, familiarize yourself with their territory, behavior and preferred habitats, and the best time to spot them is in the area you’ll be visiting. This helps anticipate their movements and increases the chances of getting good photographs.

Bring proper equipment for wildlife photography, such as a DSLR camera or mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens (minimum 200mm focal length) for safe distance shots. Bring extra batteries, memory cards, and a beanbag or sturdy tripod or monopod. Tiger safaris in India can often be dusty and bumpy due to the terrain and the vehicles used. It is indeed essential to protect your camera and lenses from these conditions. Bring protective camera and lens covers, rain covers and lens cleaning kit. A backup camera body is advisable.

For the best results in photographing tigers, shoot during early morning and late afternoon to achieve soft, warm light. Avoid midday harsh light and utilize the rule of thirds for visually appealing compositions. Include the tiger’s surroundings for context and experiment with various angles, perspectives, and framing techniques.

Wildlife photography, especially of tigers, requires patience, keen observation, and preparedness. Ensure camera settings are primed for action, with a fast shutter speed, continuous autofocus, and burst mode to effectively photograph sudden movements or behaviors. Although tigers are your main attraction, don’t miss out on capturing the stunning surroundings and other creatures you come across. Snapping wide-angle shots of the forest, birds, or other animals will give you a diverse collection.

Essential things to consider for your tiger safari tour in India.

For planning your tiger safari in India truly exceptional, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:

Pack Appropriately

Bring lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton or linen, long-sleeved shirts, and pants for protection. It’s also important to carry extra warm layers for early morning and evening safaris when temperatures can be cooler.

Wear comfortable closed-toe shoes with a good grip and choose neutral or earthy tones. It’s also advisable to carry a flashlight or headlamp, power bank, and small towel for wiping sweat and dust.

Safety Precautions

Keep in mind that you are a visitor in the tiger’s natural habitat. To ensure safety during a tiger safari in India, maintain a safe distance and never disturb or provoke the animals for a better shot. Follow the guidelines and instructions provided by your guide or park authorities to ensure the safety of both you and the wildlife.

Remain calm in case of any emergencies, carry a first aid kit and necessary medications.  Wear appropriate clothing, stay hydrated, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Be aware of surroundings and potential hazards such as steep cliffs and unstable terrain. In case of a tiger encounter, avoid eye contact, back away slowly, and make noise to scare it away. Follow the guidelines provided by your guides and ensure a responsible and ethical safari experience.

Respect and support local culture and communities
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Tiger reserves and national parks of India are home to many tribal communities having their own customs and cultures. The customs and beliefs of these groups show that they have a strong link with nature and wildlife. To show respect for the local culture, visitors should dress modestly and avoid wearing revealing or offensive clothing. It’s important to follow local practices, like taking your shoes off before going into a home or temple and asking permission before taking pictures of people or places.

When interacting to people in the area, it’s important to be polite and respectful. Learning a few words in the local language can greatly contribute to showing respect and building a good relationship.

Furthermore, visitors should be mindful of local customs and practices regarding food and drink. Local communities may have different food behavior like eating with hands or preferences that should be honored and respected.

Responsible tourism practices on a wildlife safari in India
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Responsible tourism activities are an important consideration during a tiger safari in India. It involves focusing on minimizing environmental harm and supporting local communities. It aims to reduce negative impacts while maximizing benefits for both the environment and people. To support responsible tourism during a tiger safari, choose eco-friendly accommodations and tour operators that focus on sustainability, use renewable energy, recycle, and reduce waste, and support local conservation efforts.

To minimize environmental impact, try to leave minimum human impact in tiger reserves by packing out your trash during your tiger safari in tiger reserves and avoiding disturbance to habitats and wildlife. You can support local communities by buying local products, such as handicrafts as a keepsake and engaging with them respectfully. Visitors can support conservation efforts by learning about habitat and wildlife protection, supporting local organizations and community tourism initiatives, and respecting local customs and traditions to contribute to responsible tourism.

Patience is key during a tiger safari. Wildlife sightings can be unpredictable, and it may take some time to spot tigers. Embrace the beauty of the surroundings and enjoy the entire experience of being in the wilderness.

Beyond the Tiger: Other Wildlife Activities to Do on Your Tiger Safari Tour in India

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In addition to the thrilling tiger safaris, there are several other activities you can consider enhancing your tiger safari tour in India. One popular option is bird watching, as many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India are home to a diverse array of bird species. You can join guided birding tours or explore the surroundings on your own with a pair of binoculars. Nature walks and jungle treks are also great ways to immerse yourself in the stunning natural landscapes and discover the flora and fauna that coexist with the majestic tigers.

Another option is visiting nearby villages or tribal communities to learn about their culture and way of life. This can provide a unique and authentic experience, allowing you to interact with locals, witness traditional art forms, or even participate in cooking or handicraft workshops. Finally, some tiger safari tours offer opportunities for wildlife photography workshops, where you can learn from experienced photographers and capture breathtaking shots of the magnificent wildlife.

Exploring the Culture and Cuisine of India on Your Tiger Safari Tour

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India many culturally significant places that are worth seeing on a tiger safari tour.  One iconic site is the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its breathtaking beauty and architectural marvel. Another notable cultural destination is the Golden triangle tour of India or Rajasthan tour, which you can add to your tiger safari tour.

If you are planning your tiger safari tour in Central India, the temples of Khajuraho are also highly recommended, known for their intricate carvings and erotic sculptures depicting various aspects of life and spirituality. Near Nagarhole and Kabini national park, there is ancient city of Hampi, featuring impressive temples and ruins that showcase the rich historical and cultural heritage of India.

As you travel through different regions on your tiger safari tour, you can indulge in a wide array of regional cuisines, each with its own distinct taste and specialties. From the aromatic spices of North Indian dishes like butter chicken and biryani to the coastal delights of South Indian cuisine, such as dosas and seafood curries, there is an abundance of flavors to discover.

These cultural attractions provide a fascinating contrast to the wildlife-focused tiger safaris, allowing visitors to delve into the diverse tapestry of India’s history and art. By incorporating these cultural experiences into your tiger safari tour, you can enjoy a well-rounded exploration of the country’s captivating culture and natural splendor, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Discuss more about Planning your Tiger Safari in India

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Planning a tiger safari in India is an extraordinary adventure that allows you to connect with nature and witness the grandeur of tigers in their natural habitat. By following the tips and guidelines provided in this guide, you are well on your way to a remarkable safari experience that will create lasting memories.

At Indian Maharaja Tours, we are committed to ensuring that your tiger safari exceeds your expectations. Contact us today to begin planning your dream safari and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to encounter the majestic tigers of India.

This article is intended as a guide for planning a tiger safari in India. Please note that wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed as they are dependent on various factors, including the behavior and movements of the animals.

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India’s 2018 tiger census in Guinness Book of World Records

India’s 2018 tiger census makes its place in Guinness Book of World Records as the largest camera –trap wildlife survey

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Camera trap Tiger from Simlipal tiger reserve Image Courtesy Google

On Saturday, India’s 2018 tiger census has entered Guinness Book of World Record for being the largest camera-trap wildlife survey.

Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change proudly shared the news on Twitter. He further claimed that 4 years prior to the target, India was able to double the count of the tigers in the nation.

Javadekar’s Tweet stated that the country successfully achieved its resolution to double the tiger count four years ahead of the target. This was possible through #SankalpSeSiddhi under the leadership of honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Additionally, he mentioned that The All India Tiger Estimation has set a new #GuinnessWorldRecord for being the largest camera-trap #wildlife survey. Moreover, he also said that this is indeed a great moment and a shining example of #AatmanirbharBharat!

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The paired camera traps were positioned at 139 study sited across 26,760 different spots. 35 million pictures were generated including 51,337 leopard and 76,523 tiger pictures.

India was home to 2,967 tigers in 2018. According to the tiger estimation report of 2018, more than half of the tiger population called Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are their home.

HERO Tiger WW2122816
Image Courtesy- Google

The last census in 2014 revealed the total estimate of 2,226. Since then there was a population hike of approximately 33 percent.

Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi shared the data while announcing that the population of tigers had increased from 2226 in 2014 to 2967.

Not only a new world standard has been set in tiger census but also the amazing results have certified the efforts of India in tiger conservation.

This further indicates that India has marked its place as one of the most secure and largest habitats for the tigers.

An application was marked to the Guinness Book of World Record to verify if this was the largest wildlife survey ever conducted anywhere in the world.  

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Rare Broad Black-Striped Tiger spotted in India

Astounding pictures of rare Melanistic tiger in Odisha, India surprises many

Remember the incidence where a photographer’s (Shaaz Jung) five years of hard work led him to capture the astounding pictures of the only Melanistic leopard in India? In India’s Nagarhole National Park, this black panther named ‘Saya’ means Shadow left many in a state of shock. But this was not just the end! After ‘Saya’ which resembled ‘Bagheera’ from ‘Jungle Book, ‘ here are the flattering pictures of rare melanistic tigers. They were found only in India’s Simlipal Tiger Reserve, which is situated in Odisha.
Here is a quick introduction to the novel for those who are unaware of ‘The Jungle Book.’ Written by Rudyard Kipling, this exceptional novel features Mowgli, a fictional orphaned boy. Surprisingly he was brought up amongst the wild animals in Pench National Park in what is known as the heart on India, i.e., Madhya Pradesh.

Black Tiger II
Rare Broad Black-Striped Tiger just like ‘Sher Khan’ from ‘The Jungle Book’ spotted in India – Image Source: Google

While ‘Saya’ was compared to ‘Bagheera,’ our new wild beauty with pitch black and extraordinarily broad stripes shows similarity to ‘Sher Khan.’ The tiger king named ‘Sher Khan‘ is another character from the much-reputed novel. Interestingly the character became more famous due to Soviet and Disney cartoon adaptations. No wonder, spotting of the two aforementioned rare species make us believe in the existence of the characters from the book.
Interestingly, ‘Sher Khan’ flaunts stripes that are thicker and broader than those possessed by the normal tigers. Furthermore, the excessive black pigment in animals is due to a phenomenon known as ‘Melanistic’.
Indeed the photographs of the black beauty featuring broad stripes have made animal lovers go gaga over it. While some expressed their happiness to discover something new, others were simply unaware of many tigers left in the Simlipal Tiger Reserve.

Experts highlight the increasing trend of melanistic tigers on inbreeding and genetic mutation. The world’s attention has now been shifted to melanistic or black breeds reproduced by the tigers in the sanctuary.
It was in 2007 that the first melanistic tiger was spotted in the Simlipal Tiger Reserve. This happened because of the camera traps that were positioned by the researchers from the Wildlife Institute of India.
The Odisha Forest Department conducted a recent census and marked the presence of 6-7 melanistic tigers out of 29 tigers in reserve. This count includes cubs as well.

Black Tiger
Image Source: Google

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Best Time To See Tigers In India

What’s the best time to see tigers? I believe in regards to wildlife Tours in India; this is a most asked question.

For Tiger Safari Tour 1st National Park I visited was Ranthambore National Park in 2006. Since then for Wildlife Tours In India Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh became by 2nd home. For 5 consecutive years, I attended a census in Ranthambore. After spending 14 years in different National parks during Wildlife Tour in India and other Asian countries, following some famous tigers of India, I am sharing what my experience taught me.

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To book your wildlife tour visit- www.thewildlifetour.com

Why India for Tigers?

Tiger Safari India | Wildlife Tour IndiaAccording to the new finding of 2015, the global population of Royal Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris) in the wild is estimated around 3982 mature tigers. As per the census of 2018, the total number of tigers in India is around 3000, which is approx 70% of the entire tiger’s population in the world. India is the most significant home for Royal Bengal tigers. Thanks to the “Project Tiger” and our conservationist and real heroes in the forest, whom day & night safeguarded our majestic cats from poachers. In less than a decade, the population of Tigers in India has risen by 33%.  

If you are short of time then can jump to the conclusion directly.

A Tiger safari in India encompasses the real meaning of wildlife photography and is high on the list for any photographer or nature lover passionate about wildlife Tours. Unlike a wildlife safari in other countries where there seems to be a cat around every turn, one has to work very hard for tigers, which creates excitement, a deeper level of satisfaction, and appreciation for every encounters with a tiger in a jungle.

Best time to see Tigers in India on  Tiger Safaris depends on various aspects- forest or reserve you are visiting, season, and even time of the day you are choosing for your safari. Apart from the above factors, the success rate also depends on your naturalist and driver during Wildlife Tour. They should be familiar with the route on which they are placed. The tigers have their favourite hideout, where they often rest in the morning or rise from there in the afternoon. Your trackers should know the favourite water body where they go to cool themselves. Tigers are a territorial and nocturnal animal, which makes them highly elusive. The size of Tiger territory can be 40-60 sq km for male tiger and 25-40 sq km for female tiger. A lot more depends then just choosing the right national park or reserve for Tiger Safari in India, but of course, it’s also a 1st step in the process.

From a tourist perspective, we can say that sighting a tiger during WildlifeHAR4204 Tour In India is usually not just a click away. At Indian Maharaja Tours (www.indianmaharajatours.com ) under our subsidiary travel company, www.thewildlifetour.com has tried to sum up some of the significant factors that need to be considered before signing up for any tours for sighting tigers in the wild on Tiger Safari in India.

Based on the purpose of your visit and your expectation from jungle visit, I am categorizing our visitors in 2 groups-

  • Tourist/wildlife lovers/ Amateur photographers and phone photographers
  • Semi-professional and professional photographers

Tourists/wildlife lovers /Amateur photographers and phone photographers

This category is meant for visitors whose purpose is to get a glimpse of these majestic cats on Wildlife Tours in India. They are on a tight schedule and have limited time to spend in the Jungle, and want to utilize most out of their visit. Some of them may be amateur photographers or hobbyists and can spend just a few days in the forest doing Tiger Safari in India. For tourists who are travelling in India, leaving the country without following these stripes will make their visit incomplete. Keeping all the factors in mind, we have to sum up conditions that can be considered before you plan your Wildlife Tour India to sight these majestic striped cats.  

National Park and Tiger Reserves

Choosing the right national park should be the first choice. We have 100’s of National parks and Tigers reserves which offer Tiger Safari in India. But do you think the possibilities of sighting tigers in all the parks are high..?  There are many tiger reserves in India where tigers are not sighted for years during, at least to the tourist during regular Tiger safari. Even there are many jungles where tigers are not used to of tourist vehicles. They shy to appear. Many national parks yet don’t have online portals to reserve the tickets for Tiger Safari. Some of them are located off the route. Before choosing the national park, the points mentioned earlier should be considered to filter the list. We believe Ranthambore national park, Sariska, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Kanha, Pench, and Corbett are few reserves that should top the list for Wildlife Tour In India in Northern and Central Sector. Among all the National Parks mentioned above, Bandhavgarh has the highest density of tigers. Ranthambore is among the most visited National park for tigers and uses to be a home of legendary tigress Machhli.

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To book your wildlife tour visit- www.thewildlifetour.com

Time of the year

In northern India, almost all game parks are closed for Tiger Safari during monsoon, i.e., from 1st July to 30th September. So the Tiger season is from Oct- June. Immediately after the monsoon, it takes a week sometimes to fix the tracks damaged during the monsoon. Jungles are green and fertile, bushes are longer, and water is plentiful. So tigers camouflage themselves perfectly. That’s why you might need little more patience to sight them on your Wildlife Tour India. But landscapes are scenic, The Tiger’s coat is saturated and it’s a treat to sight a tiger in this natural paradise. Forest still remain scenic during Winters for Wildlife Tour in India i.e from Nov till Feb

After February mid it’s the first leg of summer, the forest starts to shrink to small water holes. So, sighting tigers get secure, and the success rate can be 7-8 times out of 10 during Tiger Safari. Once it starts raining, which is usually after May, then it’s hard again. Also, avoid weekends and festival times. Jungles are overcrowded by local people.

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Young Cub Clicked in Ranthambore in the month of May.

Time of the Day

Almost in all the game reserves in India, you can enjoy Tiger Safari in the morning and afternoon. Sometimes people prefer to make one visit in a day and take the rest of the day at leisure. In that case, afternoons are more predictable for sighting Tigers. Tigers are nocturnal animals; they are more active after sunset until the next morning. In Wildlife Tour India drivers and naturalists sometimes know the exact locations of tigers when they enter for the afternoon Tiger safari. In noon tigers might seem pretty lazy and lying in the shade, doing nothing but chances are always very high that they will wake before sunset and walk to the nearest water hole.

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Adult Male clicked in Bandhavgarh during Afternoon Safari

Choosing the right zone

While booking Wildlife Tour India, either you are nature lover, tourist, or wildlife photographer, you should always check the zones you are booked in. In India, approximately 30% of the forest is open for visitors, further divided into zones. Some of the zones are much in the outer area and are not an excellent habitat for tigers. During high season, weekends, or festival time when seats for Tiger Safari India in popular zones are full, the forest department starts diverting the crowd in less popular zones. Most of the time, in Wildlife Tour India it’s not worth visiting these zones until news of the tiger has made any kill. So while booking your Tiger safari always checks your tour operator for zones he is choosing for you. It’s highly recommended to book your wildlife Tours in India at least 3 to 4 months ahead to have a better zone. Otherwise, you might end up visiting the buffer area or have to pay a hefty amount for current booking in premium zones.

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View of Padam Talab in zone 3 of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve after Monsoon.

Naturalist

Tigers are highly elusive animals. They are not seen so quickly, and they need to be tracked most of the time during Wildlife Tour in India. It’s always teamwork of naturalists, drivers, and sometimes by patrolling staff to track them when you are on Tiger Safari. Starting from paying attention to the alarm call, moving in the right direction at the right time, positioning the vehicle in chaos for better visibility, or following the pug marks, everything needs perfect coordination between driver and naturalist, which, of course, pays at the end. So it’s essential to hire the best trackers for Tiger Safari. Who is willing to give 100% and can hold the patience until last second. I have seen several times that many jeeps are lined up in the hope of a tiger to appear, but after a small wait slowly jeeps start moving in search of better opportunity and the one hanging out till last get rewarded.

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On this side, we had only 2 Jeeps of our group. This was possible just because of our driver.

Semi-professional and professional photographers

This category is for visitors planning Wild Tours in India to capture some fantastic shots of tigers at a different time of the day and in different moods. Visitors are expected to have a sense of landscape, background, and foreground they are planning with tigers. Just for an Example- Cubs playing in lake at sunrise, Tigers walking around the lakeside with the fort at the background etc. Workshop leaders and photographers who sell high-quality prints come in the same category.

These types of visitors usually prefer to spend more time in each forest on Tiger safaris to maximize the possibilities of encounters with tigers.

Here are some of the factors that should be considered before planning your Tigers safaris in India.

National Parks and Reserve

As mentioned before,  for wildlife Tours the choice of best national parks in India always tops the list. For professional photographers, it’s more important to choose the national park, which is less touristy. So while shooting the tigers, they can have peace of mind and not bothered by tourists trying to jump in between to take selfies or recording video with mobile phones. Going out of the route for Tigers safari won’t hurt if it pays you with high-quality images.

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Subadult cub clicked in the Maghdi zone of Bandhavgarh.

Time of the year

During the Wildlife Tour In India, the sighting of the Tiger is better in the summer season when jungles are bright and animals are expected to come near water holes. There will be more than 10-12 Jeeps and canters lined up to take their shots. For professional photographers what’s the point for capturing the same images that everyone is clicking..? The bitter truth is that a novice can capture better images of tigers with his phone than us having a professional camera (writing from my personal experience). I believe Jungle looks stunning in winter. The scenery is fantastic, and the flowers are blooming, and the trees are blossoming. Mist can be seen on plains, sunlight filtering through trees, and sun rays appearing like a beam of light. Capturing these majestic tigers can be an experience of once in a lifetime. Though sighting is not high, it’s more productive.  

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The Queen of the lake. Clicked in Bandhavgarh after the monsoon season.

Time of the Day

Whether in winters or summer, I believe that tigers are more active in the morning before going for rest. Cubs are more playful in water; you can follow them for hours until they walk to the waterholes. In the afternoon, you will find them hiding in bushes, lying on their back, waiting for tourists to leave. Most of the time, you only get a window of 30 mins when they finally decide to rise and walk to the waterhole, and your driver will insist on leaving as its closing time. Otherwise, they have to bear the penalty of suspensions or fine, sometimes both. If you are not short of time, then I will advise you to plan more morning visits and take some afternoon off, copy your images, and go through them, some leisure time is essential because back to back safaris can be tiring.

Naturalist

Another factor to be considered before booking Tiger safari in India is choosing your team. You need to have someone who knows his job well. He must understand what you are looking for. Sometimes photographers are equipped with heavy gadgets; therefore need some extra space in the jeep. It might include some modifications in the jeep, like removing the centre row of seats for more leg space or for installing tripods, etc. This makes it essential to have the same vehicle for all your Tiger safaris in a forest. Tracking the tigers not merely includes rushing your jeep and covering the whole forest. Instead, it’s much more than that. Sometimes it needs the patience to hold your paddle from escalator for hours. Hearing of alarm call, moving in the direction, anticipate the tiger movement, route he might take, tracking the pug marks, and many more. Naturalists and drivers should have perfect coordination. Basic knowledge of English is essential for drivers and naturalists so that they can understand your need and also can make themselves understand to you. During the WIldlife tour in India, Some resorts provide the services of professional naturalists who are well versed in English during Tiger Safari. I have seen some cases when photographers plan their trips based on the availability of some best naturalist.

For a wildlife photographer, it’s essential to know the zone they will be entering in for Tiger safari in India. Approx 30% of the forest is open for visitors for wildlife Tour, which is further divided into zones. Some of the zones are much in outer and don’t have any natural lake. All the zones are not equally scenic. So, it’s essential to know the zone you are visiting during Tiger Safari In India to have scenic foreground and background.

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To book your wildlife tour visit- www.thewildlifetour.com

We have tried to cover most of the factors that should be considered before planning your visit to India to sight tigers. If you have any other points that should have been included but missed, please feel free to write to us.

Recently we have noticed that many tour operators claim to have the best wildlife tours on their brochures, but the reality is they are far away from ground reality. Sitting in an air-conditioned cabin on an office chair cannot bring you close to Jungle’s real world.

My experience

Once upon a time when I worked as a freelancer for some known travel companies for their Wildlife Tour and Tiger safari in India, I was tired of facing the anger and disappointment of guests for things that were not in my controls. In the name of the Jungle, guests were put on zones where possibilities of sighting tigers are very less. Vehicles were arriving pretty late for pick up, and guests are not getting comfortable seats, etc. It didn’t take much time to understand that these big travel companies are fooled by local handlers easily for some extra bucks.  

This is why we at Indian Maharaja Tours have put lots of effort, time, and energy into scouting every forest, scheduling our time allocations to increase your chances, employing some of the best trackers, and planning the logistics, etc. to avoid any last-minute surprises. We have handpicked some of India’s most breathtaking eco-lodges and resorts deep in the sights and sounds of Indian woods for your Wildlife Tour in India.

Conclusion

For the first-timer, regular tourist, Amature photographer and nature lovers best time to see tigers are from February till early of June. Professional photographers should plan their Wildlife Tour in India from October till Feb early for most creative shots.

Indian Maharaja Tours

 We at Indian Maharaja Tours with two Subsidiary companies “Photography Tours In India” and “The Wildlife Tour” operate photography tours, wildlife tours and cultural tours in India and other Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia etc. Most of the tours are lead by founders of Indian Maharaja Tours, famous Travel duo Harsh and Arti. Harsh with his amusing tales and tips on photography stay in front. All logistics and quality control are at Arti’s work. You can always find her running from one corner to another. The most important thing, She is a money person among both.    

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