Many of you know I LOVE Tigers and the thrill of a safari experience in India. On my recent trip to India, I took 5 days for myself. I had a pretty jam packed work schedule, so what could be more relaxing than 5 days of safari at Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan?
I’d been to Ranthambhore National Park a number of times, however my trips were always around December/January which is a cooler time of year to come. This time, I was heading there during the start of the hottest time of year – March/April.
Ranthambhore is quite dry during these times, which means better sightings, however the added advantage this time was the abundance of watering holes due to a great monsoon last year.
This also means better chances of seeing tigers and other mammals around these water bodies to keep cool in the summer heat.
And yes, I was lucky ….We came across this beautiful tigress taking a break from her rowdy cubs. She was in a meditative state, and looked up at us every few minutes, then went back to closing her eyes and just being in the moment.
In fact, it was my best tiger sighting trip EVER! Seven tigers in total…
People tell me I am a tiger magnet, and that’s because I don’t focus my attention on seeing a tiger. I focus on that moment, being in the park, taking in the sounds, the landscape, and being present by thinking ” wow, I’m actually here, I’m excited!”.
Here are my Top 3 Tips on Making the Most of your Indian Safari Experience..
1. It’s not about tigers.
There is more to India’s National Parks than tigers. I hear it from guests staying at lodges. They will ask you “did you see a tiger?”, and at times I feel bad by telling them I have, as they then feel disappointing by not seeing one! If you make your safari tiger – centric, then you have built this expectation of seeing a tiger, and when you don’t, you are disappointed.
If that’s the only reason for going, then you miss the magic of the national park. I love to see what else I can spot like bird species, other mammals, the vegetation, the landscapes. Don’t miss the beauty of what’s around you because you are fixed on seeing a tiger. Let go and see the beauty you’re surrounded by.
2. Time of Year
Each season has something different to offer. Having been to Ranthambhore during the winter and now the summer, the landscapes are very different. To maximise your chances of seeing big cats and other mammals, the hotter times from March – June may suit you. Be prepared for +45 degree temperatures!
There are also other national parks where monsoon season or post monsoon is lush and green and full of life, like Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka. (Check out our South India Experience).
3. Visit at least 2 National Parks
India is a large country and there are many national parks, each with their own unique flavour. Ranthambhore National Park is completely different to Corbett National Park which is at the foothills of the Himalayas, to Periyar in Kerala and to Kaziranga in the North East. Each have their own unique vegetation, bird species, and other fauna.
We recommend visiting at least 2 national parks to see and experience the diversity. As we have a good knowledge of the best national parks in India, ask us to help you craft your adventure.
Once you have decided on the parks you want to visit…
Check out National Park official website page
Look up the wildlife and vegetation you may see in these areas
Dress appropriately – wear tan or light coloured clothing. Avoid bright colours – you want to blend in.
If you’re travelling during the winter time, bring scarves, beanies, gloves and a warm jacket. An open jeep safari at 6am leaves you exposed to the elements – rug up!
5. This isn’t Africa
If you have been on safari in Africa, let that go. Asian animals are reserved and behave differently. They won’t be sitting in an open plane waiting for you to find them. Part of the Indian safari experience is listening to the sounds, alarm calls, and evidence that a leopard or sloth bear may be close by. Tracking them is part of the experience.
India has the Big 5 animals – yes even lions in the state of Gujarat. The best place to track tigers is India, with nearly half the wild tiger population residing in the Indian sub continent.
The other benefit of safari in India is that you can mix and match your adventure. Safari in Ranthambhore, then tick the Taj Mahal off your bucket list, and stay in a haveli in Jaipur. OR take a dip in the Ganges in Haridwar, safari in Corbett National Park, then stay in a luxury B&B in the Himalayas….bliss!
Visit our Safari page, or contact us to craft your safari adventure.
Have you been on safari in India? Let us know in the comments below.
Travel on Purpose,