The woods are silent and the path, slightly damp. There’s a slight rustling in the bushes. Blink and you’re less than 500m away from a Royal Bengal tiger.
That’s exactly what Melinda Ong saw from the jeep when she visited the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India, last year.
“It was my first time coming so close to the majestic creature,” raves Melinda, 37, a freelance copywriter, who has gone on more than five safari trips in the last three years.
In India, the national parks are protected by a strict tiger conservation policy and this results in a higher chance of a sighting.
“The best time to go wild tiger spotting in India is between April and June,” Melinda adds.
“For some national parks, you have to book your entry tickets early because they limit the number of guests in a day during peak periods.”
Some wildlife enthusiasts head to India to see sloth bears and desert foxes, says Anita Raoul, a safari expert who regularly visits the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan.
She explains: “The sloth bears are an endangered species that many don’t know about. Although they’re insect-eaters, they can be territorial. They may attack humans if you accidentally set foot in their territory.”
Getting a guide is the best way to avoid rifling the animals. The guide will know his way around and you’ll be able to spot rare wildlife you wouldn’t have known about.
Travel company Andbeyond reccommends heading to the 758sq km Pench National Park in Delhi. The Indian government has put in significant effort to protect visitors – and the wildlife there.
It’s home to a cosy nest of numerous wild animals including the peafowl, barking deer, four-horned antelope and Indian wolf.
“The safari experts in the team are seasoned explorers who can keep the guests safe,” says Suhail Gupta, Andbeyond’s managing director.
For 14 days, Andbeyond offers an affordable package between $7,000 and $8,000 for accommodation, access to national parks and guided tours.
Where to stay
Oberoi Vanyavilas Wildlife Resort This is India’s first luxury jungle resort located 180km from Jaipur, and it borders the Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve.
The luxury tented accommodation is inspired by the caravans of India’s royal families. Here, you can enjoy a meal inside a mango orchard under glowing lanterns. From $1,000 a night. www.oberoihotels.com
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This story was first published on Her World’s Dec 2019 issue.