Posted by sharad vats on 19th August, 2017.
Before i answer the question on “How and when to book a Tiger Safari in India, it is important to know the background behind this question. Tiger is the most photographed animal on the planet. There isn’t another animal with such a powerful charisma that attracts people. I know many hundreds like me with a similar enthusiasm.
Love for Tigers has grown faster than what the national parks could handle in India. While the overall tourism in India has grown by about 5%, Tiger tourism has seen an increase of about 12-15% consistently over years. Main reason behind such numbers is the growing love of Indians towards their wildlife. With 1.3 billion Indians the number of Tiger lovers is not small by any margin. Let us not forget the nature and wildlife lovers from all over the world also coming to India to see the Tigers. Our apex court understood this and put in some strict regulations in 2012 to guide Tiger tourism.
Carrying capacity of the national parks was calculated subsequently. Wherever the number of vehicles going to the park were found to be high, they were curtailed. Lot of parks lost out close to 50% of the vehicles. Currently tourism happens in only about 20% area of the national parks. Balance 80% of the park is totally inviolate for any human activity.
Increase in Tiger population also leads to increase in Tiger tourism
It was in 2006 when Sariska National Park was declared to be bereft of Tigers. In 2008 Panna National park took the same route. This brought in a lot of attention towards the Tigers. The Government acted swiftly. Some major steps were taken to rehabilitate Tigers in these two parks. With increased attention and conservation measures Tigers once again roared in these two parks. People surged back to the national parks after hearing this news.
Besides India is the only Tiger country where the chances of sighting Tigers is certain. The enhanced awareness of the Tiger numbers over the last 6-7 years have further increased the Tiger tourism. Now the question How and when to book a Tiger Safari in India becomes extremely relevant.
How and when to book a Tiger Safari in India
One must book a Tiger Safari in India at-least 5-6 months before the travel date. Why so much before? Simple, because lot many parks allow the safari permits to be booked online 120 days before the safari date. And with limited safari permits they get booked very fast. If the safari has to be booked 120 days before you should be sure of your holiday even before. Hence i said 5-6 months. By this time you should have given all your identification details and deposits to your tour operator if you wish to see a Tiger in the wild. Some parks also allow booking 90 days as well.
Importance of the right Tour Operator for booking your safari
Booking so much in advance will also give your Tour Operator enough notice to plan your safaris in the right zones (provided he knows the right zones). Then knowing the right zones is not enough. It is also important for your tour operator to know the sighting history in those zones. The right zones can become wrong very fast without the world knowing it. How that happens requires another blog post. Hence book with someone who has his ears, and eyes in the national parks.
If you want full value for your hard earned money then it is worth finding out a tour operator to whom you are entrusting your money and efforts. He must know which Tiger parks yield better results in which months. It is a fact that none can guarantee Tiger sightings, but experience (of a tour operator) can provide you the best possible chances of sighting Tigers.
Do research on your tour operator and book soon.