10 important points for Wildlife photography in India.

Doing a safari is not economical any longer. One spends substantial resources in doing the same. They say, that taking good photographs add value to your safari. The below points will help you prepare for Wildlife photography in India.

Wildlife Photography in India
Machli the Legendary Tigress in Ranthambhore National Park
  1. To hone your Wildlife Photography skills it helps to know the national park you are visiting. Read about it to know what animals you can expect to see, the type of terrain, temperatures, type of vehicles being used. Wildlife Photography in India is unique as the terrain and animals to shoot are different. Hence you must do enough research to know the same.
  2. Patience and perseverance is extremely important while doing safaris. Please see the above for the same.
  3. If you plan to shoot Tigers, then it helps to understand the Tiger behavior a bit.
  4. Listen to the guide and the driver of the vehicle you are traveling in, and follow the rules and regulations during the safari.
  5. Be as silent as possible. Murmurs are best when you sight something. Your talking, or excitement can push the wildlife back into the bushes.
  6. Avoid sudden movements when you sight anything. Sudden jerky movements of hands, standing up, disturbs the animal, and they can go away before you realize it.
  7. You must know your camera equipment well. Read your camera manuals once again before the tour. Avoid changing lens and memory cards when in front of animals. They should be done before sighting. You must know how many images your cards can store, and store surplus cards, and batteries.
  8. If you are sitting with other tourists in the Jeep, then it helps to coordinate with them in advance and ensure everyone is be able to take images. Avoid getting into any alterations with fellow tourists while the Tiger sighting is happening for want of better angles and a look. Everyone sitting has paid for the safari. (this point is usually for youngsters who get very excited during the sightings)
  9. Personal physical fitness is very important as well. You should be light on your feet, i.e. adjust the angles fast without being noisy. In a hurry to take images, do not move when others in the vehicle are taking images.
  10. Eat light. Avoid having heavy Indian meals before a safari, as the same can bring in a bit of laziness, and can induce sleep, resulting in you missing some possible opportunities.

For more personal guidance on how to shoot please feel free to write to me.

Best Wishes

Sharad Vats

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How well in advance should the Tiger Safaris be booked in India?

Advance Tiger Safari bookings in national parks of India
Tiger in Ranthambhore National Park
Advance Tiger Safari bookings in national parks of India
Tigress in Bandhavgarh National Park

Few years back one could reach the national park without a booking and do a safari. There was no requirement of any advance Tiger safari booking. But times have changed now. Now, even before you book your flights to the destination, or the resort, you must first do advance Tiger Safari bookings.

Online advance Tiger safari booking open in between 60-120 days prior to the travel date varying for different national parks. Anybody can book the safaris online directly. Important to note is that there are very limited safari permits available now. So one must book your tour five months before atleast if not more. That is quite a bit, isn’t it? In Madhya Pradesh national parks, the advance Tiger Safari booking needs to be done 120 days prior to safaris. While in  Ranthambhore, and Jim Corbett national parks they are booked 90 days in advance. In Tadoba, safaris are booked 60 days prior to travel date.

I do not wish to disappoint the younger generation which does not know so far out if they will get leave from their respective commitments at work or home. Yes, it is easy for those retired from work to plan their holidays so much in advance. But, if one is serious about the safari to India then this is something that you will have to do.

What does one do if there is no advance Tiger Safari bookings available? Is it possible to book safaris at the last moment?

Yes it is possible to book safaris at the last moment too.  But there are lot of ifs and buts that come into play then. In Madhya Pradesh national parks there is a last minute quota of few vehicles. Then, there are some last minute cancellation as well. But are you willing to take the risk and reach a national park without confirmed safaris? I would never recommend that. There is no 100% guarantee in such cases of getting safaris. Usually it is easier to get safaris on week days compared to weekends.

Please don’t lose hope, there is still possibility of planning an itinerary where we include a couple of parks where safari bookings is not much of a problem, i.e. some lesser popular parks. We also can reschedule the itinerary in best possible ways to try and get you safaris.

So, if you can plan your programme six months out that is the best way forward, but if you cannot then do let us now, we will look at the best alternates for you.


Sharad Vats


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Weather during Safaris in India

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”–Benjamin Franklin. Very apt lines for all travelers by a wise man. India is a diverse nation with equally diverse weather. While packing for Indian safari it is important to know the weather during safaris in India. What temperatures you will encounter in the wilderness of India? Is there a possibility of rain? Else, it can be a surprise if you are not fully equipped.

We always provide a list of things to carry, including clothing while on a safari in India, depending on the month of the safari. It is important to know that the safaris are conducted in open vehicles, so there is no insulation from weather whatsoever. The winds, the dust, the sun, it all comes direct, and one is better served if better equipped. Sun screen sprays and creams are a must.

Winters (December till February)

During winters, i.e from Dec till about mid February, it gets very chilly when you enter the national parks in the morning. First one hour is your test to handle the chill, in particular in the Sal forests of north, and central India. The temperature can range anything from zero degree in the night to about 25 degrees centigrade during the day. Guests arriving from the cold countries are also taken by surprise by the weather during safaris in India. The chill seems to increase when the sun comes out in the morning. How does this happen? Simple, when the sun rays hit the dew drops, they evaporate, and start to rise, and the temperature starts to drop.

Weather during safaris in India
Fog in a winter safari

We recommend multi layer and comfortable clothing. One must carry a head gear, woolen gloves, socks, and thermal wear during these months. You may also encounter fog in some parks for an hour or two in the morning. If visiting Dudhwa, your entire day can be fogged out as well. This means hardly any sun during the day. When you book with us at Nature Safari India, we will provide you a detailed note on the weather during safaris in India, on what to carry and not to carry.

Weather during safaris in India
Morning sun rays during a safari

Summers (March till June)

Similarly while traveling in the summer months of April and May, one should be prepared to meet the peak heat. The mercury crosses 45 degree centigrade in couple of national parks. Hence again, what wear becomes important to ensure that you do not get a heat stroke. Important point to remember is that these temperatures are usually between 2-4pm, and this is time when you are in the comfortable environs of your resort. The evening safari commences around 4pm, and the temperature starts to dip, and by late evening it normally becomes pleasant in all the parks. But in the parks of Panna, Satpura, Pench, and Tadoba, the evenings also tend to remain warm if not hot.

Idea is not to discourage you, but to better prepare you better for the weather during safaris in India.

Do write to us to know about the weather on sharad@naturesafariindia.com.

Best Wishes

Sharad Vats


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When is a good time to see Tigers in India?

A very important, and an often asked question to me by almost all guests wanting to do safaris in India. is “When is a good time to see Tigers in India. My answer is, “Depends on what is your motive?

Good time to see Tigers in India
Tiger in morning golden winter light in #Kanhanationalpark.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast, who really enjoys nature, and is wanting to see maximum wildlife, then anytime from October till June is good to see Tigers. All national parks in India are closed from July till about September for monsoon.

Good time to see Tigers in India
Misty winter evening #Tiger and an #Elephant in #Dudhwa National Park

If you are a nature photographer and wants good light to photograph Tigers, then December and January is perfect. As the morning golden winter light is perfect for Tiger and nature photography. The morning mist also adds to the beauty of the image.

Good time to see Tigers in India
Tiger in water in peak summer month in #Ranthambhore National Park

If you are a serious amateur or a professional photographer, then  April to June is fantastic. It gets hot in the these months, the mercury soars above 40 degrees celsius. So if you can personally handle such temperatures during the safaris then you will be rewarded by some amazing Tiger sightings. June is also onset of monsoons. Most of the national parks would get some pre-monsoon showers in early June.

Is monsoon a good time to see Tigers in India?

The national parks are closed from 1st July till Sept. Infact Corbett is closed from mid June until mid November for monsoon. Some parks open their buffer zones in the monsoon. The beauty of a national park in monsoon is pure magic. The colors in these months are intense. It is like the national park has just undergone some spa treatment. The green backdrop in the sal forest with Tiger in front is a dream image for many.

You can do safaris in the core zones even in June when the park is open. But if the pre-monsoon shower is heavy then the national park can be closed for the safari to avoid your vehicle getting stuck in a slush. Not all national parks close in showers. It all depends on the type of soil in the park. For example light showers in Bandhavagarh will do no harm to the tracks. But in Kanha due to black clayey soil, the tracks become slippery, thus making it risky to do safaris. Therefore the park authorities close down certain routes in the park. Hence it is important to know all this, or book with them who all this so that you get maximum returns for your resources and efforts.

So when you choose your safari operator be sure that they know when is a good time to see Tigers in India.

Best Wishes

Sharad Vats




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3 most basic things to know before you start wildlife photography in a national park.

Basic things for Wildlife photography in india
Male Barasingha giving a photo opportunity

Few years back with manual cameras, and film rolls not everyone was keen to get into Wildlife photography. It was like golf, an art or a passion for the elusive. Not everyone found it affordable even if they thought it to be glamorous. But with the advent of digital cameras and memory cards, Wildlife photography has become a fashion and a passion. Now a days one gets to see many vehicles in the national parks with tourists carrying huge lenses and camera bodies. What has also made wildlife photography tempting easy is social media. Posting an image gets one instant gratification. Also, youtube and google are good teachers, and one needs no formal classroom photography classes any longer. But there are some basic things for wildlife photography that one needs to learn.

  1. National Park knowledge: It is important for you to have some idea about the national park you would be visiting. The terrain, the tree cover, the tracks, the kind of wildlife in the park, the light to expect, the month you would be visiting, the park, the weather to expect etc.
  2. Wildlife Knowledge: The kind of wildlife you would encounter in the park. If you plan to take #Tiger images, then you will be better equipped if you know the behavior of the Tiger.
  3. Safety: Never for a second forget that you are in a national park where all animals are wild. Your safety and importantly the safety of animals you are shooting is of paramount importance. Do not underestimate the power and speed of wild animals, irrespective of the size. Hence it is important to maintain safe distance. Listen to the guide and the driver in the Jeep, do not push them to get close to the animal. Besides you will be able to take good images only if you are at a good distance wherein the animals are not disturbed by your presence. Do not make unnecessary sounds, or talk loudly, no jerky or sudden movements while you are in the vehicle. As all this can easily send the animal in cover, thus depriving you of a good memory shot.

Once the above basic things for wildlife photography are covered then what?

Then you must be sound in the technical knowledge of taking photographs. Bonus advise here is do not be overdependent on your equipment or post processing of the images, rather get them right while clicking them. Remember it is the eye behind the camera which is more important than the camera itself. Technology cannot replace the art of photography.

Best Wishes

Sharad Vats

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