India houses the largest number of tigers in the whole world. It makes the Indian tiger safari a well sought-after experience by many tourists visiting the country. The places which are most popular for tiger sightings include the Bandhavgarh and nine other National Parks, six tiger reserves, and twenty-five sanctuaries.
Image by Paul Brennan
When talking about Indian tiger safaris, the focus is not just on tigers but also on the whole experience of India’s culture. It is an introduction to the country’s natural and cultural diversity, along with exposure to pure air, local cuisines, and hobbies.
This article will give a brief idea of things to expect during a tiger safari in India.
India’s wildlife tour has put in a lot of effort to protect tigers as it is an endangered species. Out of the other states, Madhya Pradesh is the torchbearer exploring the possibilities of preservation and community living. India’s tiger population has drastically increased over the years, going from 1,706 in 2010 to more than 3,500 in 2018.
The Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks in Madhya Pradesh contain about 75 and 108 tigers, respectively. Therefore in India’s safari experience, the parks are ringed around buffer zones, and only 20% of them are available for the tourist experience. The vehicles are controlled inside, and some parks even require booking and permits. For the same reason, the visitors are exposed to land behavior which can imply a tiger’s presence but would see no tiger.
Therefore the thrill lies in seeing a tiger track on the soil. It even lies in observing the expressions and behaviors of other animals, especially monkeys. Monkeys squawk and leap from one tree to the another, alerting the dangers that come in their way. Spotting a tiger can be a whole new experience, especially if there are cubs and mother tigers involved. The wonderful playfulness and fights are a sight to behold; the tourists would experience a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, there have been scarier experiences also as some tigers tend to turn aggressive and troublesome.
The tiger safari is not just about the animals but also about the local culture and lifestyle. The visitors would get to know more about the types of agriculture promoted by the locals, with a peep into their houses, food, clothes and cultural extravaganza.
Food and Stay during the Safari
There are many organizations that arrange all the things that are required during the safari. They would have a package consisting of the significant places that need to be explored, the schedule, stay, and even time to rest. The presence of eco-friendly hotels is a highlight that awaits the tourists, and they are located at the prime centers of the park and safaris. They even provide a luxurious experience with organic food and services and spa, lodging, and dining facilities.
The places do not have easy access to train or airport facilities. One must take connection flights, from where the tour guides would help cover the rest of the journey in their vehicles. The trip would include sharp curves, quirky lanes and narrow paths. All these remain untouched to retain the place’s natural effect and avoid too much intrusion into the wildlife.
What to pack for the safari
One must be very aware of the climatic conditions and requirements of the place before packing their bags. One crucial thing to carry is a neck gaiter to cover the face from dust or cold. A stocking cap and gloves are recommended if one is traveling in December. Make sure to have more layers in stock to survive the unpredictable temperature changes in the area.
Things to take note of before starting the journey
Before deciding to travel, it is always advised to be updated about the medical situation in the place. The usual diseases to consider are typhoid, yellow fever and malaria. Make sure to take the necessary vaccinations to prevent them. It is also advised to carry medications if you have any existing medical situations. It is also wise to be prepared with some antibiotics and medicines for stomach issues. Only drink bottled water during the whole journey.
It is always advisable to carry Indian currency as there would be situations where you have to give tips or purchase stuff locally. Some places do not have the facility for online or card transactions. Therefore, it is always better to keep some cash in hand in case of emergencies or just shopping purposes.