Wildlife Safari’s Types in India

A wildlife safari is characterized by but obviously wildlife and involves these days an eco-friendly and environmentally responsible journey into wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and reserves. Meant for generating tourism-related revenues as well as to conserve wildlife and the biodiversity of a place, wildlife safaris today usually feature drive-in attractions where visitors drive through the facilities in their own vehicles or in transportation that is provided by the facility. The good thing is that wildlife enthusiasts are able to catch glimpses of freely roaming animals in their natural-like habitat and environment. [CheckKanha Jeep Safari Timings & Bookings]

India has about 99 national parks, 450 wildlife sanctuaries and 40 tiger reserves. There are different ways that people who love nature, flora and fauna, can go into the midst of the national parks, sanctuaries and reserves to sight wild animals through Indian Jungle safari tours and some of the common ones in India have been described here.

Types of Wildlife Safaris in India

There are different types of wildlife safaris in India and here are a few of them.

  1. Jeep Safari

If the wild has to be explored from close quarters, then a rugged open jeep safari is the best option for sure. Jeep safaris are quite common in India – some of the places where this safari is commonly seen are the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, the Bandhavgarh National Park and the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, all of which are famous for tigers; and the Gir National Park for Asiatic Lions. [Also : Food to Carry While Traveling]

Pros – open jeep safaris are quite common in India. They are considered to be quite safe for moving around in the jungle for they can be manoeuvred well. The ride is comfortable on the rugged terrain, the view is spectacular. Helps cover larger parts of a forest in shorter period of time and since the jeep mechanism is less noisy, the animals are not disturbed and they also come close enough. Can easily take upto 4 -6 people; visitors can book the entire vehicle or book relevant number of seats on a shared basis. In some parks and sanctuaries, the safari is available all day and night but for this visitors need to procure special permits and passes from the Forest office.

Cons – Jeep safaris turn out to be expensive, especially if the entire jeep is booked privately. Also jeep safaris are quite in demand, especially during peak season and need to be booked well in advance.

Kanha National Park details – From 16th October to 30th June every year the park permits entry of jeeps from sunrise to 1100 hours and then 1400 hours till sunset.

[KnowWildlife Tourism Destination Near Kanha Tiger Reserve]

  1. Canter Safari

The canter works well when you are travelling in bigger groups. Canter safaris are quite common in Jim Corbett National Park, Ranthambore National Park and even the Bannerghatta National Park in Bangalore. In the later case the canters are in the caged format.

Pros – The Canter is highly recommended for large-sized groups where all can sit together and enjoy the ride. Since Canters are higher than the small-sized jeeps, visitors can stand and have a better view of the area around. Compared to the jeep, canters are less in demand and hence can be booked at the last minute too. These are cheaper and comfortable to ride.

Cons – the vehicle is noisier compared to jeeps and hence can distract animals. Also since the vehicle is bigger than jeeps, they cannot enter all places that the jeep can cover.

  1. Elephant Safari

Elephant safaris are quite common in Kaziranga National Park, Manas wildlife sanctuary in Assam and Jim Corbett. However, the Kanha National Park has recently stopped the elephant safari. Seated and perched on the back of the elephant, nature lovers can cover all corners of a forested area.

Pros – this safari is usually not booked in advance and is mostly on first come first basis. It is eco-friendly and there is barely any artificial noise. Visibility is great because of the height of the elephant while it takes you deep into the wilderness that is not possible using any other means. The height of the elephant also acts as a good safety measure.

Cons – many animal lovers find this form of safari objectionable because they feel that the animal is being exploited this way. It is also quite costly compared to the other forms of safari.

  1. Boat Safari

This form of safari can be experienced in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala which has stretches of water within the sanctuary premises. The other place in India where you can experience this is in the Sunderbans, Chambal, Pench, Satpura, Bharatpur etc. This form of safari for obvious reasons is limited and only possible in wetland areas. Boat rides are also seen in the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Mysore where the tours are guided by rangers as the water vehicles move through the isles. This is one of the closest possible ways to catch river animals like crocodiles, gharials and birds in their natural habitat. In certain places in Southern India, instead of the typical boat rides, visitors are made to travel in round-shaped boats called coracles. The boat engines are switched off once the animals are in sight so that the animals are not disturbed.

  1. Bicycle safaris and cycle Rickshaw safaris

This form of safari can be seen in limited number of parks in India, and mostly limited to the bird sanctuaries. Bharatpur is one best example where visitors can hire cycles and go around the entire premise on their own, sit and indulge in bird watching. For people who prefer to do so with a guide, hiring a cycle rickshaw is advisable for the rickshaw-pullers are mostly experienced guides.

  1. Walking safari

The Satpura National Park in Madhya Pradesh includes this form of safari where visitors can walk through a stretch of about 5 to 10 km on foot. At restricted areas in the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh too visitors are allowed to cover certain tracks on foot – this happens mostly near the Khatia gate. Most bird sanctuaries in the country permit this kind of safari – Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary being one of them.

  1. Private vehicle safari

There are hardly many national parks and sanctuaries that permit private vehicles inside the forested areas. One example is the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary where private vehicles are admissible. This kind of safari enables a group to venture into different parts of the jungle along with an experienced local guide as per convenience of guests. Of course, there are permits and permissions that need to be taken. In Bandhavgarh National Park too, certain luxurious hotel properties provide private safaris to their guests, in which a trained naturalist accompanies the tour.

  1. Camping Safari

In this case, wild life enthusiasts can actually set up camps and stay in them. This kind of safari is allowed at limited places in India – the Hemis National Park in Jammu & Kashmir is one such forest where visitors can camp along the frozen rivers to catch sight of the Snow Leopards.