We’re certain you are already aware, but we reside in the land of one of the most popular books in the world: The Jungle Book. This legendary tale, that has kept children and adults entertained and imagining life in the jungle for decades, was encouraged by the beautiful creatures of the wild that also call India home. We think it would be a shame for any Indian not to try and venture out into the wild and witness some of these incredible creatures that feature in this book at least once!
There are almost only 3,200 tigers left in the world; 100 years ago there were 100,000. 70% of that tiger population resides in India and we’re privileged to be part of a generation who can still see these magnificent animals in their natural environment, so we advise you to go out and do so if you can (or go again if you have been already)!
It’s not all lions, tigers, and bears at these safari parks; you’ll get to see other incredible (and endangered) animals such as elephants, rhinos, Asian lions and many others too. So, to assist you out and kick-start your safari preparation, we’ve listed some of the best National Parks on the planet, that just so happen to be in India!
Bandavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
This safari park has among the densest Bengal tiger populations in India making it very famous for tourists and animal lovers.
Best time to visit: March-May will offer you your best opportunity of spotting a tiger in its natural environment.
What else to do? Explore this beautiful state, there are many incredible locations to visit and sights to see like the Gwalior Temple or Taj-ul-Masajid.
Kanha Safari, Madhya Pradesh
For the truest Jungle Book experience, go to Kanha; this lush green area is the real-life inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s epic adventure. These rich surroundings will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on edge as you move your way through the forest, like the explorers of days gone by.
Best Time to Visit: March to May to see the big cats and the park is shut from July to mid-October during monsoon season.
What else to do? Apart from Bandavgarh National Park and Kanha there are other sights to see in Madhya Pradesh; it is densely filled with lovely temples including Birla Mandir high in the hilltops.
Sunderbans, West Bengal
Spread over West Bengal and also Bangladesh, more than 200 Bengal tigers call this park home. The different and somewhat dangerous terrain means you’ll have a true adventure to look forward to. This safari also comes with a twist: don’t think you’ll be bouncing around in a 4 × 4 searching for these secretive creatures; you’ll be in canoes gliding down muddy waters through mangroves.
Best time to visit: November to March offers your finest chance of seeing a tiger sun-bathing on the muddy banks of the swamps.
What else to do? Belur Math and the Victoria Memorial are two incredible structures that you can visit whilst in West Bengal, or if you want to take your travels further why not hop over to Bangladesh and explore another stunning country.
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
This is India’s oldest tiger park, opened in 1936 this tiger reserve takes a lot of precaution in really preserving the natural habitat of its tigers. This does mean that your chances of seeing a tiger are less as none of the tigers will be tracker or baited. But don’t let that deter you, if you do see a tiger you will be part of an exclusive group and if you don’t see one, then you’re guaranteed to see some of the giant grey wild elephants that also call this park home!
Best Time to Visit: The best time to spot a tiger is from March to May, but the park is open from November to June.
What else to do? Whilst in Uttarakhand why not take advantage of the amazing hikes that are available to you in the Northern region of India.
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat
You will find no tigers at the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, but don’t be disappointed as this wildlife park is house to wild lions! We suggest staying at least two days to make sure you see all the wild animals, including hyenas, blackbucks and a lot more.
Best Time to Visit: Whilst December to March is viewed to be the best time to go to Gir because of the pleasing climate, it is well-known that your best views of the wildlife will be from April to May (although it will be extremely hot!).
Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
This safari is fantastic for spotting tigers, but in the warm desert climate, you’ll also manage to see an array of different wild animals basking in the sun. Sloth bear and wild boars (amongst others) live in this park that has been so well-known to wildlife photographers from around the world for years.
Best Time to Visit: To see a tiger we suggest going between April and June, but keep in mind this is also the hottest time of the year!
What else to do? While you’re in Rajasthan, why not stretch your trip and take in the amazing sights of the city of Jaipur.