Take a ride on the wild side with a once-in-a-lifetime tiger-watching safari trip to India!
Instead of waking up to your usual bowl of Frosties with ‘Tony the Tiger’ grinning at you, how about gazing into the gleaming eyes of a majestic tiger in the wild, on an incredible Indian safari?! With a passionate conservation programme and more than 40 national parks, India offers an unparalleled natural home of forests, jungle and mountains to an impressive 70% of the world’s wild tiger population. The National Animal of India is the Royal Bengal tiger, after all, loved for its strength, grace and power! A little over 3,000 tigers still exist today, sadly making these breath-taking big cats endangered, so Sunny Heart’s TIGERS & TAJ MAHAL tours really are unique experiences to reach for with both paws! Especially as later this month on 29th July, it’s International Tiger Day!
These eye-popping, jaw-dropping, heart-pumping holidays include searching for tigers on two safari drives in Ranthambore, Northern India, famously one of the best places to see Bengal tigers in the world! Each jungle adventure into the wonderful wilderness is as unique as the patterns of black tiger stripes on fiery-orange fur, just like the fingerprints on your skin. Whilst Africa may pop into your mind as THE place to go on safari, famed for the ‘Big Five,’ with the elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo, India offers the ‘Big Eight,’ adding the sloth bear, bison and Bengal tiger too, but across multiple parks.
So, here are my ‘Big Eight’ tips to best enjoy your wild safari ride, told through the eyes of a tiger, to keep you on your toes!
The best time to spot me is between October and June… I’m the coolest of the cool cats after all, and this is when the temperatures in India are lower and the weather drier, just how I like it! You may glimpse the glow of my amber-tinted fur in February, March and April when the thinner vegetation is more transparent, (if you don’t melt in the sizzling heat!) This is when many admire how striking my stripes are. With water supplies drying up, your chances of seeing me increase… I’m likely to be sipping a much-needed refreshing drink at one of the rare remaining waterholes, congregating with the rest of the wildlife (and if you’ve read The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr, you’ll know just how thirsty a large tiger, like me, can get!)
Patience really is a virtue and will pay off if you’re willing to wait, so keep a watchful eye out between the leaves… I only show up on my own terms and I’m usually fashionably late! I roam a very large territory you see, over 20 square kilometres (and five times further for the male tigers who also live here!) Luckily, I’m not a caged animal at the zoo after all… I’m free to prowl as I please! So be warned: calling, “Here, kitty, kitty!” does NOT get my attention like your cute pet cat at home… Don’t forget I’m a close to 3-metre long big cat carnivore, a killer ‘beast’ with razor canines longer than a lion’s! I can drag a dead bison which is a huge, horned animal like an ox, that weighs a tonne; a hefty weight that would need around 13 men to move!
Humans that are sooo quiet I don’t even realise are watching are welcome, so I can pad the forest floor with my large paws and go about my daily roam in my own home undisturbed. I may be scouting on the prowl for my dinner, so you may witness me cleverly catch my prey… I can even climb up trees or swim across swamps to hunt. Like the talented ‘Tigress’ from the film Kung Fu Panda, I’m a skilled warrior of the wilderness, fearless! After that, I might be stealing a snooze in the shade, warning rival tigers off my territory with my husky growl or keeping a close eye on my playful cubs, just as loving ‘Rajah’ protects ‘Princess Jasmine’ in the Disney story of Aladdin. Yes, Bengal tigers are caring too; watch how the males allow the females and cubs to eat a fresh feast first! How polite! So, please remember you’re very lucky visitors in my humble home… Let’s show how humans and animals can both live in harmony tiger-ther!
Please don’t dazzle me with your camera flash, startle me with your squeals of excitement or make my ears twitch in irritation with your buzzing mobile ring tones! My hearing is 5 times more sensitive than yours so I won’t be impressed, and neither will your Forest Naturalist Guide, who is a leading wildlife specialist and an expert in tracing tiger tracks. He’ll kindly accompany you the whole trip, so you may learn a few new jaw-dropping jungle facts if you listen carefully to the wonderful whispers of the wild… Can you hear me imitating the sounds of different animals to lure my prey closer?! You’re welcome to take a leaf out of my trusty jungle book; have fun soaking up the stunning sights, sounds and scents of nature in abundance around you and live in the enchanting present moment… Being ‘unplugged’ makes rather a refreshing change, doesn’t it? Enjoy every minute – That’s what super safari life is all about!
I don’t always hang around long enough for you to capture the best shot and you’ll probably miss me in the blink of an eye, especially if you’re too busy bustling around and arguing about the ‘best view!’ But rest assured, there’s so much other wildlife for you to capture here, too, such as the chital deer (or my favourite, the sambar deer which makes a convenient tasty tiger meal for 4 days!) There’s also the leopard to spot, sloth bear, sturdy antelope called ‘nilgai,’ the hyena, over 250 species of birds, and more… The long list of India’s fascinating wildlife goes on! So, try not to let the success of your trip hang solely on the one sighting of my snazzy stripes. Another widespread residence of the Indian forests is the Hanuman Langur, a native grey monkey (who you might even find more entertaining than me!)
Your safari drive will leave at the crack of dawn around 5.30 am, or another at around 2 pm, so make sure you enjoy some relaxing cat-naps and snooze in between the fun when you can… Those early starts will be worth it (what a welcome change to be waking up on holiday and hitting the jungle, rather than the traffic-jam of rush-hour on your way to work!) You might even be woken up by my loud alarm call as you can hear my ROARRR from 2 miles away! Will you be the first to spot my fiery-fur amongst the ferns? Will you also see the ‘fire of thine eyes,’ just like the tiger in William Blake’s famously loved poem, ‘Tyger Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night…’ My night vision is 6 times better than yours, so be on the lookout! There’s no room for sleepy-heads on safari!
There are two types of safari vehicles you’ll notice whilst searching for me… The larger option called a ‘Canter’ which is shared between 20 people, or a smaller 4×4 ‘Gypsy’ jeep, sharing no more than six passengers. Both have their pros and cons… The Canter is included on this tour and is more spacious; it has larger seats that are high up and you can swap around views easier, which is good news! It can be a bit bulky to manoeuvre smoothly through nature, and can be trickier with more passengers to ‘keep quiii-et!’ The Gypsy jeeps are more cramped and expensive but quieter and smaller, so able to easily blend beside the weaving wildlife. With fewer people, I’ve heard some say they have a slightly better viewing spot, however neither vehicle guarantee a sighting of me, and it depends if you can be the perfect passenger and happily sit tight whilst you wait! You’ll be travelling in an allotted ‘zone’ to keep jeeps spaced out so not to disturb me, as overcrowding would hinder me from living in happiness here. It’s all a gripping game of luck if you turn out as a ‘Top Cat’ and get a great glimpse… I might wonder so close you stare into my bright beady eyes and notice the droplets of water on my whiskers twinkle in the Indian sun, and think I’m smiling at you! The unknown is part of the nail-biting and exciting drive of a tiger-watching adventure!
Become a Jungle Explorer yourself and wear muted, neutral colours so you blend into nature, just like my stripes help me hide when I’m racing up to 60 miles an hour to catch my prey! Layer up with a jumper as those early starts on an open-roof jeep through the desert can be surprisingly chilly. Equally, the sun can heat up fast and become scorching, so lather up in the right factor of sun protection lotion to last your ride, which could stretch to 3 hours long. Also, bring a sunhat and water to keep hydrated in the incredible Indian sunshine. A dust cover for your camera is a must, too. You’ll want to cherish your fantastic photos for a lifetime, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch the moment you felt the powerful yet vulnerable stare of my eyes!
Save the jumping for joy just like the excitable ‘Tigger’ character from A.A.Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories for when you’re back at the hotel lodge… That’s when you can let the cat out of the bag as there’s no doubt you’ll want to bounce about telling everyone about your purrr-fectly exciting spotting of TIGERS! Thank you for letting me live peacefully undisturbed in my natural environment!
So, now you know how to take a ride on the wild side with a once-in-a-lifetime safari trip to India with these 8 hot tips to see through the spine-chilling yet thrilling eyes of a tiger!
Combine this fun holiday highlight with the magical sight of the Taj Mahal at sunrise, a guided tour of Agra, India’s city of love, the astounding sights and sounds of New Delhi and more mesmerising delights and you’ve pounced on the perfect holiday escape! Celebrate International Tiger Day this July by sinking your teeth into this tour, including eight night’s delicious dinner, bed and breakfast, six lunches, welcoming stays at a series of 4 and 5-star standard hotels in Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur and Vanaashrya, the services of a friendly, experienced Tour Manager, air-conditioned transfers AND return flights! What an impressive itinerary! (Hearing your tummy growl with hunger and swiping for your bowl of Frosties in the morning back at home will never be the same again, after this!) As unique holiday experiences go, our Tigers and Taj Mahal safaris really earn their stripes, they’re ‘Grrreat!’
Have a Happy International Tiger Day on 29th July! Why not celebrate by putting your best paw forward and book your terrific tiger-watching trip, offering a great choice of different dates, with us today?!
© Copyright Author Kathryn Glover Sunny Heart Travel Ltd. 2019 to present day. All rights reserved.
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