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Who's been to India

United States Pckts Offline
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#1

Since my African adventure has come and gone it's time to start planning my next one. Next on the list is India for a tiger safari then maybe Bali to finish. I'm looking for any advice or information you guys have. For the safari location I'm thinking Tadoba, kahna or maybe Corbett but I really want to go somewhere that guarantees me a tiger sighting and Corbett may not offer that type of guarantee.

Also, Bali isn't set in stone, if there are any other locations near there that you guys recommend, I'd love to to hear about them as well.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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India sanjay Offline
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#2

@Pckts 
If you want to visit India for sure tiger sighting, Then Ranthambore is best place. But it is too much crowded. Tadoba is another good option. Taraie area will be harder to spot tiger, though best bet is corbett
Instead of bali you can visit Maldives, If you like sea. Or Singapore is also near to India, It is also good option.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#3

Believe it or not Sanjay, Ranth actually isn't as good for sightings as some other reserves, I heard that bandhavgarh is arguably the best reserve for tiger sightings and since I really want to see a prime male tiger, I'm not sure Ranth is the best option. I seem to be leaning towards central India, bandhavgarh, Tadoba or kahna. 

Corbett is arguably the most beautiful reserve but tiger sightings are anything but "guaranteed" And the same probably holds true for kaziranga.
While n. India would be amazing, especially the chance of seeing the largest big cats in the world, I'm not sure I want to risk not seeing any tigers since I don't know the next time I'll be able to go again.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Shardul Offline
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#4

Hi @Pckts , thanks for starting this thread.

When planning a tiger safari, you need to take a few factors into consideration before deciding to choose which places to go.

Accessibility: Nearest international airports, distance to other places you might want to visit. For eg, the New Delhi international airport is 5 hours drive from Corbett, and 6 hours drive from Ranthambhore. A lot of foreign tourists combine these places along with the Taj Mahal, which is in Agra, near to New Delhi.

If you are landing in Bengaluru International Airport in Southern India, then Nagarahole, Bandipur and Wayanad are closest. 

For the Central Indian reserves, like Kanha, Pench, bandhavgarh and Tadoba, they are equally far from all major international airports. They are also more remotely located and the only way to go is by road. The nearest airport is Nagpur, and from there it is a 4 hour cab drive through remote forests. However, since they are also near to each other, you can visit all of them.

Animals You want to see:

Bandipur, Kabini, Wayanad, Periyar: The southern reserves have tigers, elephants, gaurs, sloth bears, dholes and leopards. In kabini, you are also more likely to see leopards, and if very lucky, a melanistic one. Tiger sightings are decent too.

Corbett, Rajaji, Ranthambore: In Corbett, the only mega fauna you're likely to see are tigers and elephants, but the scenery is astounding, the Dhikala grasslands are the best places in India to photograph elephant herds and the number of bird species is close to 800. Corbett also has Gharials, I think. In Ranthambhore, tiger sightings are very good, along with sloth bears and leopards, and plenty of Sambar and chital around. Ranthambhore is also very beautiful, with the lakes and the fort providing a backdrop found nowhere else.

Kanha, Pench and Tadoba: You'll see everything except elephants. Tiger sightings are also very good and Kanha also has the rare barasingha. Kanha and Pench are also very scenic with the tall Sal trees and the dappled sunlight that passes through them. There are open meadows in Kanha where you can see herds of barasingha and Gaurs.

Kaziranga: Only place to see one horned rhinos, elephants, wild buffaloes, swamp deers and, if lucky, tigers. It's like the Serengeti of India. You are guaranteed to see the herbivores, and lots of them.

Tiger Sightings:

They usually depend on the following:

Naturalist/Guide: Probably the most important factor. An experienced and knowledgeable guide knows the habits of individual tigers very well, has excellent look out, and understands the sights and sounds of the jungle very well. If you have an excellent guide, you'll see tigers even in places with low record of tiger sightings.

Time of the year: In summer, temperatures are high, water is scarce and the undergrowth is not very dense, leading to increased visibility. Tigers can be seen near waterholes and are easier to track than in winters. Tiger sightings are the highest, but the temperature may not be tolerable for someone coming from a cold climate. Winters are the best for foreign tourists as temperature is mild and tiger sightings are still pretty good.

Luck: Another important factor. You might see a tiger on your first safari, or you might not see one even after 10. Best way to maximize your chances are to have a great naturalist/guide and have at least 4 jeep safaris in one reserve. Remember jeep safari, avoid cantors at all cost as they are big and noisy and scare away the animals.

This is an overview, hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#5
( This post was last modified: 09-26-2016, 09:39 PM by Pckts )

Great stuff per usual @Shardul 

In regards to C. India and seeing multiple parks.
If I were to do a 7 day safari, would I be able to visit Tadoba, kahna and Pench during the same trip?

Also, would I be able to add bandhavgarh and maybe remove one other reserve?

I apologize in advance for the million questions I will be asking.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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India sanjay Offline
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#6

Excellent detail information @Shardul 
It seems like you know lot about India's tiger reserve and national park.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#7

Another good app for anyone interested is called "wild trails of india"
It has the distance to each reserve from the nearest airport, what sightings and where, wildlife tour operators and more.


Shaji had said to me that Ranthambhore and Kahna actually are hit and miss with sightings which kind of stalled my aspirations but now hearing you say we could mix Ranth with Corbett that may be a serious contender.

Let me ask you this, I know each place has it's own beauty but if you were me, this is your first time going, you want to see Tigers first and foremost then everything else, which option do you recommend?
Other considerations are accommodations, scenery and not too packed to where I'm in the back of a long line?
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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United States Pckts Offline
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#8

I just got some nice Info from Kanwar



He said

"One of the easiest places in India to see tigers is Ranthambore but, i personally don't like that park much anymore due to political interference by local politicians and administrators.
next is Tadoba - Maharashtra. With Nagpur being the closest airport but, not the best habitat
Central India is probably the best option....
Corbett is the hardest to get bookings / accommodation but, remains my fav park in india....."


I said that I was thinking about 7 day safari

"OK - 7 days you can barely cover 2 parks in Central India..."

I asked about Ranth to Corbett but he said you would have to do 2 days of traveling to get from one to another without any wildlife sightings really so I think thats out.



So my option is this I think..


"you can do Tadoba + Pench + Kanha and if you prefer then Bandhavgarh + Kanha + Pench: best combo

can you do 9-10 days.. you are bound to have a good trip"


I asked about Bandhavgarh

"Bandhavgarh was great till 2010 but, then kind of died and been good this year but, rules are too strict as you can't stay long at a sighting

april + may would be the best although very hot"


he also said

"Tadoba has had the most amazing tiger sightings this year... cubs everywhere.. i went 3 times
*This image is copyright of its original author
3 sets of tigresses with cubs
yes 10 days you can just about cover these three parks
you can even do Bandhavgarh - start there by flying to Jabalpur from Mumbai and then 3 days BGNP, 3 days in Kanha & 3 days in Pench (closest to Nagpur airport)"

"or Tadoba x 3 days + Kanha + BGNP and then fly from Jabalpur to Mumbai or Delhi and fly out"




So I think that either tadoba, kahnathen bgnp or tadoba, kahna then pench are my two most reasonable options.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Shardul Offline
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#9

Thanks @Pckts and @sanjay 

From what you described, the best option seems to be the central indian reserves. I would suggest Kanha, Pench, Tadoba and if possible, Satpura.

The only reason I mentioned Corbett+ Ranthambhore is because they are very different from each other, unlike the Central reserves which are all similar in terms of wildlife and scenery. Corbett to Ranthambhore is actually only 11 hours drive, not 2 days and you are bound to see tigers in at least one of them. Both are 6-7 hours from delhi, but in opposite directions, sadly. With Corbett, you can include Rajaji as it is nearby, another beautiful Terai habitat. If you take Delhi to Jaipur flight, it should be shorter. The great thing about Ranthambhore is that it is very well connected by road, air and railway. The sawai madhopur railway station is only 15 km from the Ranthambhore gate.


I mentioned 4 safaris for each reserve, so that is 2 days of safaris for each reserve. I would say you should do 3 days in Kanha, 1 in Pench, 2 in Tadoba and 1 in Satpura. Satpura is a nice place with very low visitors, tiger sightings are low but the park is isolated and beautiful does not face the tourism pressure like the more well known parks do. It will give you more of a jungle feeling. Plus I have heard you can do foot safari there, although not in the core area, I would assume.

To get to the central reserves you'll need to catch a flight to nagpur from mumbai, then will have to travel mostly by road. Although the distances between the parks are not a lot, the roads are not in great condition and traffic is slow moving, so in the end you might end up spending the same amount of time travelling between the central reserves as much you would do between corbett and ranthambhore.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#10

What about booking in Corbett, have you also heard of it being difficult to do so? @Shardul
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Shardul Offline
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#11

@Pckts  I think it depends on your agency. Most western tourists assign an agency to do all the bookings for them, since it can be very confusing to arrange safari bookings even for Indians. Your wildlife agency should take care of all your safaris, travel arrangements between the parks and accommodation. I only know of one called WildWorldIndia, you might need to search for some more agencies in the US that arrange wildlife trips to India.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#12

Thanks @Shardul 
You have been beyond helpful yet again, I really do appreciate it.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Shardul Offline
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#13

Thanks @Pckts . This is what the forum is all about. We should be able to help each other out in any way possible. I really hope more of our forum members decide to explore the wild world like you, considering we are all so passionate about wildlife here.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#14

I have put in an inquiry to wildworldindia and blueplanetwild so far. Any other recommendations would be greatly appreciated
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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United States Pckts Offline
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#15

So far I've gotten a little info and what I have gotten thus far is this...

I could do Tadoba, Bandhavgarh and Kahna in secession, one day on elephant back, a trip to the taj mahal, meals and board and If I can find another couple the cost would be around $2,500.00 usd a person, pretty good I think for a 12 day safari. 

The best time to go would be March.
Any one looking to go to India in March 2018? haha
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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