Where To Go For A Wildlife Safari In India

We are all used to losing the track of time while being stuck in traffic, waiting for a bus, or getting squeezed inside trains. Why not take a break from your daily life and commute to go on a ride of a different kind? A ride where you might get stuck among a herd of deers. Where there won’t be the chaos of deafening horns, but melodious impromptu mini-concerts of birds. This is exactly what awaits you on a wildlife safari. Now choosing the best wildlife safari in India can be a little confusing because our country is studded by many of them. Don’t worry we have cherry-picked those which are bound to give you the best safari experiences.

Best Places For A Wildlife Safari In India

  1. Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
  2. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand 
  3. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
  4. Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat
  5. Kaziranga National Park, Assam
  6. Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
  7. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
  8. Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Named after the historical marvel, Ranthambore Fort, this park spans over 1,334 square kilometers and is nothing short of a marvel itself. A heavenly combination of lush forests and panoramic meadows, this park continues to be home to one of the most prestigious animals on our planet, the Bengal Tigers. 

While they are indeed the crown jewel, joining the rest of the demographics are intriguing animals such as sloth bears, chital (spotted deer), serpent eagle, and more. Let’s not forget the 250+ kinds of birds that are spread across this park. A safari here would certainly bring back the memories of some of National Geographic’s best animal clippings. 

Nearest Airport: Sanganer Airport, Jaipur (about 180 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Sawai Madhopur Railway Station (14 km away)

Safari Zones: Altogether there are ten safari zones with each having its fair share of tiger sightings. But due to the presence of more lakes in zones 2 to 5, it is believed that these are the preferred zones to book for your safari. If you’re lucky you’d probably see tigers satiating their thirst by a waterhole (fingers crossed!).

Best time to visit: From October to March.

Information related to bookings: A safari can be booked here 90 to 120 days in advance. An option of VIP/Tatkal/Just in Time is also provided at a premium rate for same-day bookings. Ranthambore also offers jeep and canter safaris from the beginning of October to the end of June. 

Safari prices: The rate per person is INR 1,700 and for foreigners, it is INR 3,500 for jeep safaris. Canter safaris per person will cost INR 1,200 and INR 2,500 for foreigners.

Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Formed in 1936 as Hailey National Park, this one takes the spot for being the first national park in the entire country. It got its current name from Jim Corbett, the famous hunter who was the key person in establishing this park. Its 520.8 square kilometers comprises several hills, a beautiful lake, marshy lands, 580 kinds of birds, and more! 

One of the main attractions here is its huge population of Bengal tigers. The other residents include animals such as flying foxes, king cobras, elephants, and sambar deer. Keep your binoculars on you at all times so that even if you’re far away from the animals you get a closer peek at them.

Nearest Airport: Pantnagar Airport (around 81 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Ramnagar (12 km away)

Safari Zones: There are a total of eight zones here and while the chances of spotting a tiger are pretty much the same in all zones, the Dhikala zone takes the crown for having the most number of tiger sightings.

Best time to visit: From October to February.

Information related to bookings: Safaris can be booked 45 days in advance. The period changes to 90 days if you are a foreigner. Along with jeep and canter safaris, elephant safaris are also provided here but make sure to check their availability first.

Safari prices: For Indian residents, booking an entire jeep will cost INR 5,000 and INR 12,000 for foreigners. Canter safaris will cost INR 1,600 per person and INR 3,500 for foreigners.

Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

This national park is believed to have a deep connection with the legendary tale of Ramayana and gets its name from the Bandhavgarh fort which is situated within this park. The name “Bandhavgarh” simply translates to ‘Brother’s Fort’ and it is believed that this fort was presented by Lord Ram to his brother, Laxman, to be used for keeping a watch on Lanka. But some tales say that this fort was built by the rulers of the ancient Gond dynasty. Both stories are equally fascinating, just like the park which is a nature lover’s dream come true.

It encompasses 105 square kilometers of forests, meadows, swampy areas, over 250 kinds of birds, and more. Animals such as spotted deer, palm squirrel, gray mongoose, and sloth bear can be seen here. The major crowd-puller here is the Bengal tiger.

Nearest Airport: Jabalpur Airport (200 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Umaria railway station (35 km away)

Safari Zones: Tala Zone, Magadhi Zone, Khitauli Zone. Each zone will offer sightings of some exciting animals, but if you are looking for tigers, go to Tala and Magadhi.

Best time to visit: From October to June.

Information related to bookings: Jeep, canter, and elephant safaris are provided here.

Safari prices: Indian residents will have to shell out INR 8,500 for the entire jeep.

Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat

Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat

Another national park where you can look forward to a roaring good time. Also known as Sasan Gir, this park has played a huge role in protecting the dwindling population of the marvelous Asiatic Lions. Their count increased from just 20 in 1913 to 523 in 2015, which is an impressive jump in population. It is no surprise that these big cats are the pièce de résistance of this park.

The park goes on for a total of 1,412 square kilometers and is mostly carpeted with teak trees. The supporting cast to the lions in your safari experience are animals like the Gir fox, Asiatic wild ass, blackbuck, and several more. These are not the only inhabitants here; there are also 425 species of birds such as the changeable hawk eagle, Egyptian vulture, and palla’s fish eagle. 

Nearest Airport: Keshod Airport, Gujarat (70 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Veraval Junction railway station (45 km away)

Best time to visit: December to April

Information related to bookings: Only jeep safaris are available here and they have to be booked in advance. Same-day bookings cannot be done so make sure you plan well in advance.

Safari prices: Renting an entire jeep for the safari will cost INR 4,700 and foreigners will have to pay INR 13,800 for the same.

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

UNESCO only recognized this park as a World Heritage Site in 1985. But the Indian rhinoceros population has considered this park as their home for several decades and today around two-thirds of the entire rhinoceros population lives here. Call them magnificent creatures or military-grade unicorns, but know that these rhinos managed to steal the spotlight away from the global superstars, Royal Bengal tigers, who are also found here! 

Kaziranga’s landscape is a mix of marshy areas, thick forests, tall elephant grass, and rivers spread over 430 square kilometers. A huge number of easter swamp deer, elephants, and wild water buffaloes can be seen here. On top of this, Kaziranga has a staggering number of birds such as ferruginous duck, black-necked stork, and Blyth's kingfisher to name a few.

Nearest Airport: Jorhat Airport (about 114 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Furkating Junction (75 km away)

Safari Zones: There are a total of four zones here and all of them have their own differentiating factors when it comes to flora and fauna.

Best time to visit: From November to February.

Information related to bookings: Jeep and elephant safaris are provided here.

Safari prices: The rates vary depending on the zones. It costs around INR 3,700 to INR 4,800 for Indians and INR 7,500 to INR 8,500 for foreigners for jeep safaris. You will have to pay INR 1,450 for elephant safaris and the rates are INR 3,200 for foreigners.

Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

There are many reasons to include this one on our list. It is the largest national park (940 square kilometers) in Madhya Pradesh and it once belonged to the people of the Gond tribe; some of their descendants still reside here. Now the park is home to many other fascinating residents especially the renowned Bengal tiger and the mesmerizing barasingha, a very unique species of deer.

The Indian leopard, dhole, and Bengal fox are just some of the numerous animals one can spot here. It is believed that Rudyard Kipling, who is known around the globe for writing ‘The Jungle Book,’ used this national park as the setting for his story. We totally understand why he was so impressed with it. This gigantic park is so fascinating with its atmosphere, abundant meadows, dense forests, and around 300 varieties of birds that no matter who you are, you are bound to feel the immense strong sense of being an outsider here. A sense that is truly worth experiencing.

Nearest Airport: Jabalpur Airport (160 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Gondia railway station (145 km away)

Safari Zones: There are a total of four zones here- Kanha, Kisli, Mukki, and Sarhi.

Best time to visit: From March to May

Information related to bookings: Jeep and elephant safaris are provided here. Elephant safaris have to be booked at least 30 days in advance.

Safari prices: A 2-hour safari roughly costs INR 3500 for Indians and INR 5000 for other nationalities.

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra

Another entry on our list whose name is deeply rooted in history. The land of this reserve was the residence of the Gond tribe and many of them were followers of "Taru" or "Tadoba," a mystical god. The other part of the reserve's name is taken after the Andhari river that flows through the forest area. This reserve is formed of Tadoba National Park and the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary which together covers a total area of 625 square kilometers. 

Spend some time amidst its thick forests where the mobile network can’t reach you, but the soul of the jungle does. Put your daily life on pause and watch the animal kingdom go about theirs. Wild pigs, chitals, and sambar deers are just a few of the locals that you can spot here. But this is Maharashtra's biggest national park and it is bound to surprise you with its abundant amount of animals on your every visit.

Nearest Airport: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (140 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Chandrapur Railway Station ( 45 km away)

Safari Zones: There are three zones here. Tadoba, Moharli and Kolsa

Best time to visit: From April to June.

Information related to bookings: Canter and jeep safaris are available here.

Safari prices: The rates depend on how many days in advance you are booking. It is INR 4,575 on the weekdays and INR 5,575 on the weekends if you are booking 4-59 days in advance. If you are booking just 1-3 days before the safari, you’ll have to shell out INR 7,575.

Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

This is a special one. While it carries all the characteristics of a national park, it is also the world’s largest delta, which means that all the exploring of this park is done mostly by boat.
Being on a boat while it pushes through the water, which itself is home to an entire society of animals, is an experience like no other. 

You will be surrounded by walls of mangroves and there are so many waterways that are connected and some just fizzle out. It is like a whole different world that is spread over 1330.10 square kilometers and is ruled by animals on land, in the sky, and underwater.

The thrill that one feels here is breathtaking, which only gets better and better by watching Royal Bengal Tigers and other striking creatures like the Indian grey mongoose, crocodile, rhesus monkey, and around 248 bird species as they go about their daily schedule. The park is aptly named, Sundarbans, which translates to “beautiful forests” in its regional language, and also because of the abundant Sundari trees present here.

Nearest Airport: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (120 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Canning Railway Station (29 km away)

Best time to visit: From November to March

Information related to bookings: Only boat safaris are available here.

FAQs

Which Place Is The Best For Tiger Sightings In India?

Ranthambore, Tadoba, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, and Jim Corbett National Parks are considered to be the places where the chances of tiger sightings are the highest.

Is Night Safari Allowed In India?

In 2021, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, and Pench National Parks started providing night safaris. But the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) later passed an order which put an end to it. This was done because the vehicles’ noise and their headlights disturbed the animals at night. As of now, there are no major parks and sanctuaries which allow night safaris.

What Month Is Best For A Safari?

The answer to this question differs from park to park. But the summer months are considered to be the ideal time to go on safaris. Because during this period, the animals come out of their hiding places to beat the heat and find waterholes. Also, some of the vegetation dries up during the season. These reasons make it easier for visitors to spot animals. Keep in mind that many parks remain closed from June to September (monsoon season).

How Much Should Be My Budget For A Safari?

Again, the answer to this one will differ from park to park. But one can assume that it will cost around INR 5,000 for a jeep safari if you are an Indian resident and INR 14,000 if you are a foreigner. These rates are for the entire jeep. The per-person rate for a canter safari is around INR 1,600 for Indians and INR 3,500 for foreigners.

What Clothes Are Best For Safari?

Make sure your clothes cover as much of your body as possible because they will protect you from insect bites, harsh weather, and sun. Avoid wearing white or any other light and bright-colored clothes because dust and dirt will quickly show up on them. Don't wear black clothes as they will attract heat. Do not wear strong perfume and always carry your hat.

Which Is The Largest National Park In India?

Covering a mindblowing area of 4,400 square kilometers, the Hemis National Park sits at the top spot of the list of the largest national parks in India.

What Age Is Best For Safari?

Anyone aged five years and above can enjoy and understand the whole experience of being on a safari. The parks can have age restrictions of their own, so enquire about it while making the booking. For example, some parks won’t allow kids under 12 years of age on a safari.