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In Pursuit of Tigers: Your Complete Safari Adventure

Going for a wildlife safari in tiger reserves in India is a unique, blissful experience for almost anyone especially if you are a nature lover, wildlife enthusiast or passionate about photography. Visitors especially plan their trip in pursuit of tigers, the royal majestic cats. 

These animals are special because of their hunting strategies, fending for their cubs and astonishing presence. Witnessing this breed is a memory of a lifetime which hopefully you get to capture on your camera and in your mind forever. 

The following article encompasses everything you must keep in mind before starting this exciting journey. We talk about how you can increase your chances of tracking tigers, which peak seasons to target, various National Parks in India and what else you should not miss out on during your wildlife safari.

How to maximize the tiger sighting probability?

First off it is crucial to know that even if you implement all these strategies, encountering a tiger is purely based on luck. Even with the hope of spotting one, remind yourself that they are masters of their mind. 

Tips to increase your tiger spotting chances

Choose the right tour operator company

Going with a company that have experience in conducting tiger safaris and a decent record of tiger spotting is key. They will consist of local guides and naturalists who will guide you throughout your journey. Obey the rules given by them for your own good. 

An ideal tour company should be involved in anti poaching campaigns, contribute financially to the reserve’s wellbeing, and have experts to give you the trip of a lifetime.

Silence and patience are golden

Tigers may get spooked easily by loud noises, laughter, and drastic movements. Make sure to communicate with gestures and whisper with your team only when necessary. 

Always bear in mind that you are guests in their home, and they do not owe you a visit. Be patient, observant and an active listener to alarm calls and movement. At times after hours of waiting around and returning in disappointment, suddenly this striped predator might walk across your jeep, aiding you to create a priceless memory. 

Pugmarks, Alarm Calls and Tracking Signs

We recommend that you wake up at the break of dawn and take one of the first morning safaris. This is because more tigers have been seen in the morning and their fresh pugmarks remain on the trails. To avoid getting injured by thorns on the forest floor, tigers like to walk on open trails. This leaves behind their footprints.

Wait silently at the place after hearing alarm call sounds of various animals like birds, langurs, and deer. This is their way of alerting their breeds that the majestic tiger has been seen. Due to dense vegetation, you may not see these animals but be attentive and follow their alarm calls.

In the middle or side of pathways, tigers will defecate and then scratch the ground so that other rival tigers can see its scat. All these signs help for tracking the tiger and expert guides will search for these patches.

Peak Season Magic

Planning your visit in advance is of utmost importance. This is not only to get the best accommodation, tickets, early bird tour prices but also to enhance your pursuit of tigers. The dry season of October to April is perfect for most tiger reserves in India. It is when most number of tigers are sighted. 

Even better, the peak season for tiger sightings is summer from February till June. It is perfect to plan your visit in these months as the hot and humid weather forces tigers to come to the waterholes in the park where you can station your jeep for your lookout. 

As a photographer, you might get one of your best pictures of these photogenic mighty cats cooling off beneath the shade of a tree or quenching their thirst in the waterholes. The winter season is more cool and pleasant but lesser tigers are visible during these months compared to summer.

Tiger Reserves in India and their Pros and Cons

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Pros- Extremely high chances of tiger spotting during jeep safaris, fascinating landscapes, and a chance to visit the ancient gem Ranthambore Fort.

Cons- Very crowded during peak season, more expensive than other parks and largely consists of dry and deciduous forests with less variations.

Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Pros- Extremely high tiger and tiger cubs’ density, high chances of sighting during any time of the day.

Cons- Long queues for jeep safaris and less activities apart from safaris. 

Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Pros- Magnificent Sal forest, known as ‘Land of Tigers’, large variety of birds species.

Cons- Less variety of other fauna, thick vegetation results in limited visibility.

Other famous tiger reserves in India include Tadoba in Maharashtra, Jim Corbett in Uttarakhand, and Pench in MP.

What else to look for during your safari adventure?

As mentioned previously, witnessing tigers boils down to luck. Incase even after following all these tips, you fail to spot a tiger, do not think that your jeep safari was in vain. A wildlife safari is so much more than that. Immerse yourself fully in the wild and detach from the city hustle bustle. 

Activate your five senses by smelling the fresh oxygenated air; being starstruck by seeing the thick vegetation and lush meadows; listen to the melodious sounds of birds and monkeys. Participate in nature trails with experts to learn more about the park and visit the local village and forts if located nearby. 

Few parks offer elephant safaris and night safaris for nocturnal magic, make sure you elevate your mood by taking part in them. Lastly, tigers are not the only attractions at these parks. Keep a look out for leopards, sambar deer, hyenas, langurs, sloth bears, and over 200 species of birds in these national parks.

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