Is it possible to do a Tiger Safari in India during the monsoons time in India? A commonly asked question, as not everyone knows that some parts of the national parks are closed during monsoon. And some parts are open.
At the onset let me clarify here that most parts in most national parks are closed for monsoons. Next question is when is the monsoon time? It is from July till September in most areas, and in some parks, specifically in the terai belt and north east India the monsoon stretches till October.
The trees are healthier, and happier and more productive during monsoon. One must remember that forests matter at a more fundamental level than most of us realize. Take this time of being in the forest, talking to the guides, listening to some fascinating stories of the foresters, and coming out richer and contented with your safari. The forest has a language, the trees live on a different timescale than us, and we live in scientific backwaters when it comes to ecological issues. So do safaris in monsoon as you get to spend quality time in the forests with the guides, foresters, and yourself.
Well, one thing that is to be made clear is that Tigers do not leave the parks during monsoon time and neither do they go away some place else. Tigers are territorial animals and they do not leave their territories even in the monsoons. National Parks is their home and they stay put there. So they have not gone anywhere not to be seen. They still have to hunt to survive, do patrolling to protect their territories, and mate as well. Hence the chances of Tiger sightings are still there even in monsoon times.
But the Tiger sightings do happen in the monsoons.
Simply because they want to avoid vehicles getting stuck in slush. They also do it as forest needs to be given some time to recuperate. Not that the tourists or vehicles are doing any harm to the forest.
Till few years back all the parts of the forest were closed for tourism. But gradually the forest department realized that tourism is actually good, and should be allowed in some parts of the forest even in monsoon. Tourism keeps those elements away which can harm the forest and it’s denizens. Basically the poachers, and the cattle grazers would move into the park during this time. But once tourism starts in these areas in monsoons they stay away, as all activity inside which is illegal gets reported.
Below areas in the popular parks are open for Tiger safaris even in monsoon times.
So, if the only time in the year that you have is from July till September then consider doing Tiger safari in India in the above zones and the parks. Good thing is that there is no rush whatsoever for booking of permits, and you get them very easily.
Tiger is definitely in the forest, he will emerge at the time he feels like. But you will come out transformed if not wholly, or substantially but partly for sure.