“We came round a bend and saw a magnificent tigress lying across the track where she remained for a full five minutes.”
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.
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 holidayIf 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 drivesPermits 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.
where to go
INDIA: Bandhavgarh and Kanha are our top tips - great chance of seeing tigers, small jeeps, not too busy. Tadoba is also very good too currently.
Ranthambore also offers a good chance and it’s closer to Delhi, Agra & Jaipur, but this makes it busier.
NEPAL: Tiger sightings in Bardia are on the increase.
when to go
The very best time is between February and early April, but you can go any time from October to May. From the end of April until the parks close in mid-June, it’s too hot for most people.When to visit India.
how to do it
To give yourself the best chance of seeing a tiger, we'd recommend a 3-night stay. There are no lodge within any of the parks, but all are close by. They offer twice daily game drives into the parks.
We can plan a stay at one or more of these parks within a wider itinerary for you. Either look at some of our suggested holidays below, or we'll tailor made one for you.