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Tiger Spotting in India

“We came round a bend and saw a magnificent tigress lying across the track where she remained for a full five minutes.”

Watching Tigers

Out in the wild, the moment when you spot even a glimpse of a fiery orange striped body your heart really does skip a beat!  Even though most Indian wildlife safaris have a strong focus on tigers, you still do have to work at finding them. When you do find them, it might not be a private experience, but it will be magical.

Tiger Conservation

There are less than 1300 tigers left in the wild in India and under 200 in Nepal. It’s a shocking fact that even though this is such a prized animal in the hearts of so many of us, the tiger is a rare and endangered creature. Responsible tiger tourism offers hope for their survival though as the money you pay to the parks helps with their conservation (though we probably all accept that not all the money ends up in quite the right place!). More than this though, the very fact that tourism brings money into the wider economy helps preserve tigers and their habitat.

Where to go on a tiger safari holiday

If you want tigers to be the focus of your wildlife viewing there are two or three parks in India which will give you a really good chance of spotting them if you stay for 3+ days.  These parks are Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Tadoba.  Other parks where you might see tigers include Ranthambore and Satpura, though we’d normally recommend these for more general wildlife viewing and regard a tiger sighting as a bonus. Ranthambore works especially well as a wildlife addition to a mainly cultural northern India holiday.

Permits and game drives

Permits to see tigers must be bought in advance, but when you can buy them depends on the park, and also the authorities change the rules relatively frequently.   For many parks you can only buy the permits about 3 month beforehand.To see the tigers you’re taken out either in small jeeps with about 4 people, or, in Ranthambore, cantors which take about 20 people.   We always try to arrange private jeeps for our guests, though this is not always possible.  There used to be what are known as ‘tiger shows’ available whereby you can see tigers from elephant-back.  This is now not commonly available.

holiday itineraries

Varanasi, north India
North India Classic
A rich mix of the north's highlights - from the Taj to the ghats and from tigers to palaces.
Taj Mahal at sunset, India
Tiger & Taj
A great opportunity to view tigers in the wild as well as see the iconic Taj Mahal - a majestic combination!
Tiger
Tiger Tiger
This is the best chance you will have to see tigers in their natural environment!
RORY
Rory McCormick
CHRISTINE
Christine MacDougall
AMANDA
Amanda Marks

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customer memories

The Hewitt family

You may not always see tigers, we had been warned...If we came all this way and avoided hitting all those cows in the road, surely we had to be successful. On day one in Bandhavgarh the truck rocked with excitement as the practised listening of Vijay the park guide and Binoo our driver heard the give-away clues. Binoo slammed the truck into reverse, potholes ignored and a rapid 3 point turn to bring us up to the rear of a cluster of other trucks stopped ahead. Up on the left ridge with the sun behind them three unmistakeable head shapes peering down towards us. But would they just drift away out of sight? They must have been well paid for their performance because they came down the slope and cavorted in the bushes and around the logs in front of us, chased across the track behind us so we had the front row seats then chased each other up the other side. Three cubs, two male one female, and mum was a short way behind. We wanted to see tigers go about their business and live their lives, showing off their power, grace and majesty as much as be photogenic, but when they were this close the pictures came pretty easily. Back at the park entrance, high 5s all round and a huge feeling of satisfaction back at the hotel later that the effort had indeed been worthwhile. And we accumulated a further nine sightings in Bandhavgarh, three on the last morning being the only repeats of our trip but they did a wonderful parade along a ridge in morning sunlight with the mountain and hill fort as a backdrop. Stunning!

Cindy and Michael Soffe

On our fifth and last game drive at Bandhavgarh, at about 16.30, we came round a bend and saw a magnificent tigress lying across the track where she remained for a full five minutes (until a forest guide in a second jeep started shouting and waving his arms, someone whistled loudly to attract other vehicles and a woman in our jeep used a flash). Then she wandered slowly to one side of the track, sprayed against some bamboo, back across the track to 'hug' a tree, scratch and spray before walking slowly into the jungle. Brilliant!

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