Top 5 Indian tiger safaris

You know they are out there somewhere. And they know precisely where you are. Chances are you are being watched in your jeep through the long grass…

For a lot of people, no trip to India would be complete without the chance to experience a tiger safari in one of the vast national parks and tiger reserves that the country is known for. But with so many of them to choose from, it can often leave the tourist wondering which one would be best for them. So I want to take a brief look at 5 of the more well-known tiger safari opportunities across India, and let you know of the closest major international airport to each park (although a further flight to a closer airstrip may be required).

Bengal Tigers in the Sundarbans swampland
Bengal Tigers in the Sundarbans swampland

5. The Sundarbans National Park is located in West Bengal. This region is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. They hunt scarce prey such as the chital deer, the Indian muntjac, wild boar, and even the rhesus macaque. It is estimated that there are now 500 Bengal tigers in the Sundarbans. The tigers regularly attack and kill humans who venture into the forest, with up to 100 Human fatalities each year. Despite the risk, though, the chances are seeing a Bengal Tiger on your Sundarbans safari are slim.

Nearest international airport: Kolkata

Night safari at Pench
Night safari at Pench

4. Pench Tiger Reserve is thought to have inspired Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, yet is probably one of the least-known in Madhya Pradesh. Tigers are more elusive here but there are 32 other mammal species living among its moist deciduous forests, meadows, river and lakeside habitats, plus nearly 200 bird species. The chances of seeing a tigers at Pench are good.

Nearest international airport: Delhi

banhavgarh2

3. Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is one of the most popular in all of India and the biggest attraction is the Bengal Tiger. Bandhavgarh has a very high density of tigers within the folds of its jungles, and the parts that open to the public for their safaris have up to 50 individual tigers and it is a good place to see them compared to other reserves in India.

Nearest international airport: Mumbai

tigersafari1

2. Nagarhole is a tiger reserve in Mysore, Karnataka. It is estimated to contain around 55 tigers and it is also the home to the highest concentration of Asian elephants in the world. As far as tigers are concerned, this is a great place to spot them, and with relatively few people visiting the reserve, you may even see tigers more often than you will see other safari jeeps!

Nearest international airport: Bangalore

ranthamboretiger4b

1. Ranthambore is the largest national park in northern India and is a brilliant place to spot tigers. However, during the past few years, there has been a decline in the tiger population due to poaching and other reasons. According to the 2014 census, there were 61 tigers in Ranthambore National Park, and its close proximity to the capital Delhi and the cultural Rajasthan triangle of Jaipur-Jodhpur-Agra, means that it is a popular place for tourists to come and see some Bengal Tigers.

Nearest international airport: Delhi

Have you been on a tiger safari in India, or do you worry you about safety among these unpredictable maneaters?

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7 thoughts on “Top 5 Indian tiger safaris

  1. Ranthambore is a great spot to visit for a tiger safari. We were lucky enough to see a male and female mating when we visited in December. We were then told by another tourist in our jeep that this was his 8th safari at various parks in India within about 5 weeks and his first sighting, they can certainly be elusive!

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