Tiger Tourism Demystified for Beginners


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Tiger Tourism Demystified for Beginners

  1. 1. Tiger Tourism Demystified for Beginners : SPOT A WILD CAT! Want to spot a tiger roaming in wild? We answer some of the common questions associated with Tiger Spotting to give you some perspective on spotting the big cat. Tigress in Bandhavgarh Which park should I visit? Most sanctuaries in India have a tiger population, and all of them are marketed as “Tiger Parks”. That does not mean a tiger is sighted here regularly. Choose a tiger-centric park known for the highest tiger spotting probability. Bandhavgarh (Madhya Pradesh) and Tadoba (Maharashtra) offer the most prolific and consistent sightings. Which season is the best to spot Tigers? October to mid-June is the season when most of the parks are open (except some parks in South India, which are open throughout the year and North East where parks are open only between November to June). Anytime between February to May is the best bet for tiger sightings. As the grass and waterholes dry up, the visibility and probability of spotting tigers is better. April to May is considered the best season for wildlife photographers. Will I get to see a Tiger? Everyone asks this question. Nobody can provide a definitive answer. Tiger sighting (like sighting of every other species in the wild) is a sheer function of probability. Some parks or seasons offer better likelihood over others. Better-informed guides and enthusiastic jeep driver might lead to better sightings. However for a realistic chance at sighting a tiger, one safari isn't enough. In fact, you must go for five or six safaris at a go (3 -night stay) for a good chance. What is Tiger Folklore? Some tigers (mostly tigresses) in the past have been friendlier to tourist vehicles and have offered great sightings. These stories are circulated around Tiger Sanctuaries, Wildlife Lodges and Guides over the years. What is Tiger Mythology? More often than not, highly exaggerated versions of sightings are floated which can’t be avoided as a part of overall “experience”. The reality is that the guide or the people at the lodge you are staying at are trying to make an impression or filling in for the lack of tiger sighting you might have had till that point. So do not get carried away. Just enjoy the drama that surrounds such stories.
  2. 2. What if you spot the Tiger in the first safari? Wildlife does not start and end with tigers. While tigers may have become an overwhelming attraction, Indian parks have many other carnivores that are elusive (example: Wild Dogs or Dhole, Leopards etc) and beautiful and majestic birds. In fact, a park experience is enhanced and more rewarding if you look at birds and other wildlife rather than just having a narrow tiger-centric focus. What after spotting a Tiger? Tiger is what draws first-timers to the park and after that a plethora of wildlife opens up. Some choose the photography route (getting a good camera and taking photographs of tigers and/or other wildlife / birds in general) and others just enjoy visiting different parks to enjoy the nature and park experience. Bird Photography is also a popular hobby which when pursued is often more rewarding than wildlife (a safari may yield 10-15 good wildlife sightings, but you might spot around 150 species of birds at one go). How to plan a Wildlife getaway? Long weekends are the usual choice of dates for a getaway. However,that is also when the park is busiest and therefore requires planning well in advance to get the lodge and safari permits. Wildlife centric getaways are getting popular, especially from Nagpur, where there are a number of parks within 120 kms radius. Wildlife getaway isn't the typical holiday where one just lazes around but an active getaway especially for families with grown up kids. How to choose and plan a Wildlife holiday? Wildlife holiday is more expensive than an ordinary one. Those who love wildlife don’t mind spending entire holidays just visiting different parks. There are a number of wildlife circuits that offer short breaks (4-6 nights) and fully fledged itineraries (7-10 nights). There are Bird Watching circuits that offer a short break and itinerary around areas that offer excellent bird watching. Is Wildlife really for me? Before you start anything it’s important that you introspect. Most of us do have a bit of love for nature and so it’s worth giving the whole wildlife safari experience a shot. It is different than other holidays as it involves getting up early in the morning (usually 5 am) and spending long hours on safaris (7-8 hours every day). If comforts / leisure and recreation are your top your priorities then wildlife may seem tiring from an outset. However it’s still something worth giving a shot (perhaps a getaway to start with) for the sheer experience it offers.