Tiger Safari in India - Beyond Ranthambore and Kanha Safari



Tiger Safari is a must-do activity when you visit India. Who doesn't want to see the majestic Tigers on a Safari that too in their natural habitat? The first two tiger reserves which come to the mind of any traveler are Ranthambore National Park and Kanha National Park. Though these two tiger reserves give the highest chances of spotting the Tiger during the tiger safari, however, these two places have become extremely touristy and hence you might not fully enjoy the experience of watching the majestic tiger in the jungle safari.I have been to most of the Tiger reserves of India, however, I found Kanha & Ranthambore tiger reserves too touristy.

There are various Tiger Reserves in India which not only give a true feel of the raw jungle but also will give you a chance to see the majestic tiger with a much lesser number of tourists compared to Ranthambore National Park or Kanha National Park.

Here in this blog post, we will discuss those tiger national parks where you can truly enjoy the raw natural beauty of the jungle and get to see the majestic tigers.

When is the Best Time to Go?

After visiting almost all tiger reserves in India, from my experience, I can say that the best time is between March-Early May when it the temperature is hot in India. You must be wondering what happens during this hot season which makes the sighting of the tiger easier.

Well during the summer season most of the waterholes in the forests dry up and the tigers and other animals are forced to come out from the deep jungles towards the last remaining waterholes making it easier to spot tigers. During the months of October to February the tiger national park are generally full of foliage and long green grass after the rains and hence it becomes really difficult to spot the tigers.

Important Things to Follow when on a Tiger Safari at any Tiger National Park

  • The most important thing, remember not to litter the jungles. How it would feel if someone visits your house and throws garbage.
  • Wear earthy color clothes in hues of green ( not fluorescent) or brown. The animals don't like colors too much.
  • The Tigers have great sensory organs and hence wearing perfume or deodorants will act as a deterrent as they will easily smell you from distance and will go deep inside.
  • Remember you have gone into a jungle to see the tigers and animals and not a picnic hence don't talk too much and don't talk loudly at all.
  • Don't get down from your safari jeep. It's a big NO.
  • Don't wear flashy jewelry or accessories as the light reflected from it will give a clear signal to the animals to stay away from you
  • Use Camera Flash only when its absolutely necessary as after seeing a flash the animals might run away

Six Top Tiger Reserves to Visit 

After the implementation of Project Tiger, the population of tigers in India has seen a steady increase and the tiger population is currently estimated at 2226 in 2014.

The following are the top tiger reserves to go on a tiger safari in no particular order. Most of these tiger reserves in India get a lesser number of tourists hence chances of enjoying the jungle and sighting the tiger is high.





1. Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Corbett National Park is situated in the foothills of Himalaya in Uttarakhand. Corbett National Park deserves a special mention as Project Tiger in India was started from here. Not only this Corbett National Park has the highest density of Tigers in India. The Total number of Tigers as per last Tiger Census was 208 Tigers.

There are 4 Zones in Corbett National Park and you can enter from any zone for Tiger Safari.
The 4 Zones are Dhikala Zone , Jhirna Zone, Bijrani Zone and Durga Devi Zone.
 If you want to see large numbers of Flora and Fauna and increase the chances of Tiger sighting then head to Dhikala Zone. Dhikala Zone is most sought after zone and you have to book Tiger Safari at least a day in advance.

Insider Tip: Head to the Forest Entry Gate one day in advance and check with the Forest Guards about the movement of Tigers. They will be able to tell you accurately which zone you should go to increase the sighting of Tiger. Tigers are great walkers and they move on an average of 30 Kms per day and hence to increase the chances of seeing the Tiger you need to track its movement.

( Tiger Sighting at Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve)

How to Reach: Ramnagar is the place where you need to reach if you plan to visit Corbett National Park. Ramnagar town is well connected from all major cities. From Delhi the distance by road is 260kms and you can hire any car from Delhi to reach here. Ramnagar is also well connected by Railways. You can book Ranikhet Express, Corbett Link Express and Kathgodam Express that will take you directly to Ramnagar.

Where to Stay: The best place to Stay in Corbett National Park is Dhikala Tourist Lodge as it is inside the jungle. The Dhikala Tourist Lodge doesn't have much luxury however it provides you the best experience as you stay inside the Jungle. If you are planning to Stay here you need to book months in advance.

( A Tusker - Male Elephant )


2. Sundarban Tiger Reserve, West Bengal

Sundarban Tiger Reserve is a completely different experience compared to all other tiger national parks. Sundarban is known for man-eating tigers ( man-eaters) and here you will not go for Tiger safari in a jeep or vehicle but on a Boat.

Sundarban is the world's largest mangrove forest and is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger. The Royal Bengal Tigers which are found here are not only man-eaters but also are different from other Tigers found in India. The tigers in Sundarban can survive on salt water and can swim really well. They can hunt really well inside the swampy mangrove forest.

( Local People at Sundarban Tiger Reserve)

Sundarban forest is made up of 105 islands and has many estuaries, river channels, and creeks. It is the only mangrove forest in the world where Tigers are found. There are 79 tigers in Sundarban. Due to dense forest and since you can't get down on the land from your boat Tiger sighting is extremely difficult here. However, you must visit Sundarban for the experience.

Insider Tip: Keep an open mind while going to Sunderban and enjoy the scenic beauty rather than continuously looking for Tigers. As I said earlier getting to see a tiger in Sunderban is really tough
(I have been to Sunderban 5 times and never got a glimpse of the elusive Tiger).
Also, carry mosquito repellents ( cream or spray) which you can apply for yourself.

( Deer at Sundarban National Park)

How to Reach: If you are planning to plan your own trip to Sunderban, then I would suggest you should drop the plan immediately as for a first timer it is very difficult to plan and travel all alone there. Why ? because there are not many staying options in Sunderban and since you have to travel on a boat hence you need to find the right boat and the right boatman.

Visit West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation website and book a tour of 2D/1N or 3D/2N for Sunderban.

Where to Stay: One of the best option to stay in Sundarban is the Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge which is a part of West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation.

( Great Indian Monitor Lizard at Sundarban )


3. Bandhavgarh National Park , Madhya Pradesh

One of the best chances of seeing the Tiger in India is at Bandhavgarh National Park situated in Madhya Pradesh. I have been to Bandhavgarh twice and I have seen multiple tigers in both the occasion.
The Bandhavgarh National Park has more than 50 Tigers and has one of the highest density of Tigers in the central region of India. The park is spread over 100 square kilometers and that makes One Tiger every square kilometer which makes the sighting easier.

The Bandhavgarh National Park is also known as the land of the white tiger, however, white tigers don't exist in the wild anymore. The last white tiger which was seen at Bandhavgarh National Park was in the year 1951.

The Bandhavgarh National Park is full of flora and fauna and you can see lots of animals during your tiger safari inside the jungle.

( Entrance of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve)


Insider Tip: Don't miss to go to the Bandhavgarh Fort which is on a 600-meter cliff inside the jungle. You need to hire a car to reach there.

How To Reach: Bandhavgarh is well connected of all major cities of India. The nearest city is Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh which is approximately 4 hours drive by road. If you are taking a flight to Jabalpur then you need to hire a car to reach Bandhavgarh National Park.
If you are going by train then get down at Umaria or Katni. Umaria station is closer to Bandhavgarh and it just 45 mins ( 35 km) from Bandhavgarh. Katni is approximately 100 Kms and the time to reach Bandhavgarh will be approx 2 hours.

( Tiger at Bandhavgarh)

Where to Stay: Bandhavgarh has options to stay for all kinds of traveler. Check this link on  Tripadvisor site to get various options for staying in Bandhavgarh.


4. Periyar National Park, Kerala

If you are traveling down south of India mainly to the state of Kerala, then you must visit Periyar National Park for tiger safari. Periyar is located in the Thekkady district in Kerala.

Periyar National Park is one of the best protected Tiger reserves in the country. It is home to 38 Tigers as per the last census. The Periyar national park has also a lake inside and pilgrimage site for Hindus. If you are a bird lover then you can spot more than 266 species of birds in Periyar National Park along with the majestic tigers.

You can also take a boat cruise in Periyar National Park as it gives the best sighting of animals namely elephants and deer who come near the water body. A typical boat cruise stretches for 30 minutes and it is advisable to take a boat cruise around 9-10am when the chances of sighting the animals are highest on a boat cruise.

( Periyar Boat Safari)


Insider Tip: Periyar National Park stays open all throughout the year. Avoid Sundays has it is heavily frequented by local people. Also along with normal Jeep safari take the boat safari at Periyar.

( Tiger at Periyar Tiger Safari)


How to Reach: If you plan to take a flight then take a flight to Madurai Airport in Tamil Nadu or Kochi Airport in Kerala. Periyar National Park is approximately 130 km from Madurai and 190 Kilometers from Kochi. You need to hire a car from the airport to reach Periyar.
By train get down at Kottayam railway station which is approx 114 kilometers and the road to Periyar is beautiful. You will truly enjoy the drive to Periyar National Park.

( Periyar Tiger Reserve Entrance )


Where to Stay: As I said earlier the best way to enjoy a tiger safari is to stay inside the jungle where you can hear the sounds of the animals at night. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has three hotels inside the park and staying in any one of these is absolutely a safe bet.


5. Pench Tiger Reserve, Border of Maharastra & Madhya Pradesh

Pench Tiger reserve spreads across the borders of the states of Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh. It is nestled in the southern region of the Satpura range.
It is estimated that the total number of tigers in Pench Tiger Reserve is approximately 53.

This is the tiger reserve which encouraged Rudyard Kipling to write the famous book -" The Jungle Book". You can truly get transformed to the land of Mowgli in Pench Tiger Reserve.

Insider Tip: The most important thing is to decide and book the safari from the right safari gate.
If you book from a safari gate which is not near where you are staying then you might have to travel for 20 Kms - 100 Kms as there are various gates to enter for the tiger safari.

( A Tiger Crossing the Road at Pench Tiger Reserve )

How to Reach: Pench can be reached via Jabalpur or Nagpur. If you are entering Pench by air then suggest you take a flight to Nagpur Airport as the distance to Pench is approx 110 km and will take 2 hours to reach whereas from Jabalpur Airport the distance is 215 Kms and will take 4 hours. Nagpur Airport has connectivity from all major cities.
By train, the nearest city is Nagpur and Jabalpur. While booking the train you need to book tickets to Nagpur Railway station or Jabalpur Railway Station. From the station, you can book cars to reach Pench.

Where to Stay: There are various options to stay in Pench. Book your stay depending on the Safari Gate and the Station/Airport from where you will be arriving at Pench. There are few private properties which allow staying on Tree Houses however this is not for budget travelers. A quick search on various booking sites will give you lots of options basis your budget.

6. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve , Maharastra

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is situated in Chandrapur district of Maharastra which is situated in the northern side of Maharastra.
It is estimated that there are 66-74 Tigers in the Tadoba Andhari Tider Reserve.

The tiger reserve is named after God Tadoba who is a local tribal deity. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve was declared as a tiger reserve in the year 1993. There are a variety of fauna from bears to hyenas and of course the Tiger in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

( Tiger at Tadoba Tiger Reserve )


Insider Tip: Choose Moharli Zone for Tiger Safari as it has the highest number of staying options and tiger sightings are also higher in this Zone. Also before booking a hotel confirm from the hotel the distance between the Safari-gate and the hotel.

How to Reach: For those who want to travel by train, Chandrapur is the nearest railway station. If your train doesn't go to Chandrapur take a train to Nagpur station and from there you can hire a car to Tadoba.
Moharli Gate which I have recommended for Safari is approx 30 Km from Chandrapur and 140 Km from Nagpur.

Where to Stay: The Government stay option at Moharli one is the best one. You can check the property and book the rooms from the official site. Apart from this, there are various other private staying options which you can book.


Hope you have a great Tiger sighting at Tiger Safari and share your pictures with Shoestring Travel and if you have any tips or interesting story to share kindly comment below.

Till then ciao ... Happy Hunting with your Eyes and Camera...




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