5 of the best tiger safaris for non-Indians!
We get hundreds of e-mails every day asking us to plan a tiger safari in India, from guests and travelers all over the world! Naturally, their knowledge about a tiger safari destination is usually restricted to the generic travel guides, their travel agents, and the information they are ‘asked’ to search on Google, thanks to the search listings and advertisements. At times hassled, at times confused, they come to us asking for advice.
Having done tiger safaris for a decade in all of India’s many tiger reserves and having studied each tiger reserve to the tee, it is safe to say that our observations and analyses would have more value than your generic travel guide! Read on!
India has more than 50 tiger reserves. Massive, right? In all probability, you might only have heard of Ranthambhore and maybe, Bandhavgarh. Right? While these are fabulous parks in their own rights, they are also on the ‘tourist trail’ of the package western tourists visiting India and it does logically mean that they are given preference over the others!
Based on purely the safari and hospitality experience in the reserve, and not factors like proximity to other tourist destinations, here is our list, after years of research, the 5 best tiger safaris for non-Indians visiting India!
How could we leave Ranthambhore from this list! Ranthambhore hardly needs any introduction for it has been for quite some decades now, India’s premier and most iconic tiger reserve! Fabulous landscapes, medieval ruins, many tigers, and brilliant tourism machinery ensures most travelers visiting Ranthambhore’s woods end up seeing a tiger or two! But, being on the ‘package’ tourist map also means it gets extremely crowded at times with tens of gypsies and canters (the big open-air buses) zooming through Ranthambhore’s dusty roads trying to spot the most sought-after attraction here!
Veterans call it ‘The Temple of the Tiger’; photographers call it ‘The Paradise’. Bandhavgarh’s aura, charm, and the passion it holds within its Sal woods is something to be experienced, at least once in your life! Some of India’s most zealous guides and drivers man the legendary safaris at Bandhavgarh, and their devotion to tracking the tiger is unparalleled! Brilliant stay options, a fine-tuned tourism infrastructure, and the general ease of logistics in Bandhavgarh all ensure this enters our list of the 5 of the best tiger safaris for non-Indians!
Dusty, dry, and scorching hot for half the year, these are not the ideal adjectives for a positive narrative about a travel destination! But, if you are ready to accept these extremes of weather and environment, Tadoba is a mesmerizing place to see tigers! More than a hundred of them abound in the bamboo and teak forests of Tadoba, and with the highly dedicated guides and super-skilled drivers of Tadoba, you are almost guaranteed a tiger sighting! Tadoba is probably the only tiger reserve in India with the buffer zones as good as the core zones in terms of tiger sightings, the density of vegetation, and the availability of water. With more than 18 safari gates all leading you into tiger-dense habitats, Tadoba is indeed a blockbuster all year round!
Corbett is India’s first national park and arguably, the most ethereal one too! Most travelers visiting ‘Corbett’ come back with a glum face which clearly means ‘no tiger; and that, unfortunately, is related to their lack of planning and adequate knowledge!
Corbett has simple but drop-dead gorgeous forest rest houses situated in the core of the tiger reserve, right in the heart of tiger territory! Staying here in these guest houses which transport you back in the time of the legendary Jim Corbett, sleeping in your cozy cottages with sounds of elephants trumpeting and tigers roaring can be an extremely special and liberating experience for the keen wildlife enthusiast! Brilliant birdwatching, exceptional landscapes, very knowledgeable guides, and fantastic drivers, Corbett is number 2 on our list!
Ensure you go with an acclaimed travel operator who knows the nitty-gritty of the safaris in Corbett, the right accommodation for you, and the best zones to optimize your safari experience (and chances of tiger sightings).
Big, beautiful, and pristine, the forest in Kanha is as pretty as pretty gets! Vast meadows extending beyond the horizon, massive Saal forests, an astounding number of tigers, other mammals and birds, and the relative ease of tracking the Big Cats make Kanha our first recommendation! Polite and highly knowledgeable guides, brilliant accommodation options with superb service and food catering to all budgets and a very well developed tourist infrastructure, which neither looks under-used nor over-burdened, Kanha is a fabulous place to experience your first tiger safari! Some of our most memorable tiger sightings have been here, in the enchanting woods of Kanha!
Our list thus includes the fabulous tiger reserves of Kanha, Corbett, Tadoba, Bandhavgarh, and Ranthambhore as 5 of the best tiger safaris for non-Indians!
Other very notable mentions include the forests of Pench, Tipeshwar, Umred, Panna and Dudhwa!
September 25, 2020
These 5 iconic and fabled habitats in some of India’s most hallowed tiger reserves are drop-dead gorgeous and sighting a tiger here is the greatest dream come true of many wildlife enthusiast!
Check out the list!
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Beyond Wild has been conducting very successful safaris to Ranthambhore for the past decade, and our years of experience has led to some very successful tour designs.
We hope this guide helps you plan your safari in the best possible way!