Which is the best national park to see the Tigers in India?

Best national park to see Tigers in India
Male Tiger sighting in Kanha

Which is the best national park to see Tigers in India? This is the first question asked by almost all tourists who want to see the Tiger in the wilds of India. The answer to this question is easy and tricky simultaneously. In India we have 49 Tiger reserves, out of which 15 are very popular due to good Tiger sightings. This does not mean that there is no Tiger sighting in other parks. I would like to share an image here of a sighting i had in Dudhwa national park. Not this park surely does not feature in the top 15 parks for Tiger sightings in India.

Best national park to see Tigers
A Natural History moment captured in Dudhwa National Park

What i am trying to say is that Tigers are present in all the Tiger reserves, and they can come out anytime, all you need is patience. The Tiger reserves are huge. You have to remember that you are visiting a national park and not a zoo. So to expect to see a Tiger in few minute after entering the park is not fair.

Chances of Tiger sightings are in all these parks. The frequencies are a bit different and ever changing. At times things can change so fast that within a month an area of a national park can be vacated. For e.g. if a Tigress gives a litter, she practically withdraws for some time from the tourism areas. This could mean that the Tiger sightings in that area or the zone can go dry for sometime thus disappointing lot of tourists.

Also, this is a fairly individualistic perception, and analysis also. For e.g. someone visits Ranthambhore more, and less of Tadoba, so in his opinion Ranthambhore could be good for the affinity he has for the park. It is tough to get sighting data of all the Tiger reserves. But if one travels regularly in these, gathers information, data from social media as well then one will get to know what is happening where.

We give a lot of emphasis on quality of sightings, than the quantity. Now this may include for how long was the sighting? How many vehicles were around when you were seeing the Tiger? The lesser the vehicles, the least disturbed Tiger is. If all this is ticked, then i would say it was a good sighting.

There are healthy chances that you will sight Tigers in your visits to Ranthambhore, Tadoba, Kanha, Pench, Bandhavgarh, and Corbett, not necessarily in the order listed. But when i say a visit, it implies at 3-4 nights stay, and doing about 5 to 6 safaris atleast if not more. If luck is by your side then you will sight Tigers on more than one occasion in these parks. Last but not the least important factor is that you must have the right guides, and drivers with you when going on a safari. So still want to know the best national park to see Tigers in India, write to us on email below.

Do let us know if you wish to see Tigers in India or Indian Wildlife. Write to us on info@naturesafariindia.com

Sharad Vats

 

Difference in a Canter (safari bus) and a Jeep safari

There are two kind of safari vehicles used in the National Parks of India. One is the Jeeps which usually seat upto 6 people max, or an safari buses which seat from 10-20 people. But both have their own advantages. The advantages and disadvantages of Canter and Jeep Safaris are to be understood before you start your safaris.

Advantages of a Jeep:

  1. Jeep is a small vehicle with less number of tourists in it. Max 6 guests are permitted to sit in a Jeep. Thus it is less disturbing to you and to the wildlife.
  2. The seating height of a Jeep is lower than a canter. Hence it is a better vehicle to take photographs of wildlife, and it offers a better angle too.
  3. Jeep is easier to maneuver compared to a canter during a safari.
  4.  The petrol engine in a Jeep makes it less noisy. Thus not only less disturbing to you, but more importantly to the wildlife.

Canter and Jeep Safaris

Advantages of a Canter (Safari bus)

  1. If you are traveling in a group more then 6 people then it is best to be together in a canter. As there could be chances that you do not get the second Jeep. So all of you together in one canter is a good idea.
  2. The height of a Canter is at times advantageous in times of Tiger sighting. There are moments if you stand on a canter you can see deep and into the bush and not so much from the Jeep.
Canter and Jeep Safaris
Canter Safari in Ranthambhore

Let us not forget that to a Tiger or any other wildlife it does not make any difference whether you are in a canter or a Jeep. If he is in the vicinity and decides to come out when the canter is around so don’t think that the canter is more lucky, or Jeep. Tiger sightings are always a matter of chance, and experience of drivers and guides does surely help.

Last but not the least, if Jeep safari is not available then it makes sense to surely avail Canter Safari. The route followed by both types of vehicles is practically the same, so chances of wildlife viewings are also almost same.

If you are a serious wildlife enthusiast and wish to avail a Jeep for the safari, then only way to get it is to book early. Plan your safaris 5-6 months in advance to get the type of vehicle and zone preference in the national parks of India.

Happy sightings.

Sharad Vats

Are Tiger sightings better in premium zones in Bandhavgarh and Kanha?

Safaris in premium zones
Tiger on your trail

Many tourists have no idea about the concept of premium zones. So this is the most frequently asked questions by all of them visiting Bandhavgarh and Kanha. I thought of penning down and explaining this myth of safaris in premium zones.

Tala zone in Bandhavgarh and Kanha zone in Kanha were made premium zones by the forest department about 4 years back. They were made premium zones by just doubling the entry fees to these zones. Obvious question is why was this done? The forest department realized that the tourism was increasing to these zones more because good Tiger sightings were happening here. Everybody used to buy tickets for these zones and converge to the areas where the Tiger were being sighted.

Hence the Forest department took a decision to regulate tourism and ensure that there is no unnecessary pressure of tourists in certain areas of the park. This decision compulsorily forced the tourists to visit other zones as well. So, not only the forest department succeeded in diverting tourism but also by increasing the entry fees they increased their own revenues. A master stroke indeed.

Safaris in Premium zones
Sunset view from Tala zone, Bandhavgarh

This decision showed very positive results in just two years time. The tourists were forced to visit the other zones as well. This resulted in more tracking of Tigers in the entire tourism areas. Results showed up. Tiger sightings improved in practically all the zones. Tigers are present everywhere in the park, and they fortunately do not understand the premium and non premium zones. The benefits of this decision was improved Tiger sightings in Magdhi and Khitauli in Bandhavgarh and Kisli, Mukki and Sarhi zones in Kanha.

In 2014 things started to change a bit. Tiger sightings reduced considerably in the premium zones. Reasons for shifting of Tiger sightings cannot be predicted or controlled. Nature has it’s own script which is tough for us to decipher. Subsequently the sightings improved in the non premium zones, so the tourists started to visit them. This was also more economical for them afterall. Mission was accomplished for the forest department. They wanted the tourism to get distributed and their initiative got approval from mother nature. The craving for safaris in premium zones reduced.

Hence from 2015 season the non premium zones became the preferred zones by the tourists. But no one knows what nature has in store in future. The Tiger sightings can switch again, and most likely they will. They change with factors like changing male female ratio, plus new cubs, or any new dominant male etc. So let this not be the final verdict. But i will update you in some time on how the sightings are happening in various zones.

Which zone to book?

If you wish to make the most of your safaris, then visit all the zones of a national park. it will give you a complete idea about the national park. Besides, they all have Tigers, and they will show up at some point in time. Do not be fixed on a particular zone until and unless your focus is a particular Tiger. Having said this, i do understand that when you spend your precious resources you definitely wish to see Tigers. Hence based on our past experiences if you let us decide for you, then there are healthy chances that you will sight a Tiger.

Update on 22nd August 2016: The premium zone concept has been scrapped by the forest department. Now, all the zones have same entry charges. This is a great news in today’s circumstances.

Sharad Vats

 

Bandhavgarh National Park reopens for new tourism season

Eagerly awaited by all Tiger lovers, and photographers,Bandhavgarh National Park reopened after the monsoon break. Not exactly a house full kind of opening, but the main reason for this would be that only Tala zone was opened for tourism hence w.e.f  1st October. Well, this is a soft opening only from Bandhavgarh’s own standards, and very good compared to rest of the national parks. Magdhi and Khitauli zones open from 15th October.

But in this short span of time the Tala zone showed some glimpses of the glorious past. Having had a not so good 2014-2015 season, i think Tala will be back to where it belongs. Having said all this, the Tigers were sighted at 4 different places in initial safaris, and also a Sloth Bear climbing a tree. Now this is ot a regular sighting, and lot of people will trade many Tiger sightings to see a Sloth bear climbing a tree. So, if you have not booked your safaris yet, please write to us on info@naturesafariindia.com and see more details on different national parks of India on http://www.naturesafariindia.com/national-park-index.html

Sharad Vats

National Parks in India reopen to full houses in October 2016.

Male Tiger in Kanha, by Sharad Vats
Tiger Safari in Kanha National Park

First week of October is a very crucial week for all Tiger lovers in India. They eagerly await the re-opening of the national parks after the three long month closure due to monsoons. As the opening date nears, the level of anxiety increases, anxiety about what would have transpired in these months? Would all Tigers survive the monsoons? Did any territorial fights happen during this time among Tigers? Did any Tiger die in these fights? Did any sub-adult Tiger move on in search of new territory? Did the young cubs survive? Did the Tigresses give any new litter? All these questions have a conclave in the mind prior to the park openings. The thrill is similar or maybe higher like one is awaiting release of a highly popular movie on a Friday of their beloved movie star.

Then the parks open. All Wildlife lovers enter, (different parks in the country) the first few pug marks generate mental celebration as that is information enough on the well-being of their beloved Tigers. And finally there are Tiger sightings, all the admirers come out of the park on cloud nine.

Ranthambhore and Kanha National Parks this year have opened to full houses practically in terms of Tiger sightings. The male Tigers of Mukki and some new Tigresses have given a lot of hope for a wonderful season ahead for those interested in sighting Tigers this year. Ranthambhore on the other hand has retained everything as of last year.  Bandhavgarh and Tadoba are anticipating a big opening on 15th Oct, and Corbett in mid Nov. If you have not planned your safari yet, do it now write to us on info@naturesafariindia.com.

Sharad Vats