Best Time of Year to See Tigers in India?
This particular question gets asked very frequently so here is a little article which will help you to decide when to visit India for Tiger Photography Safaris or Tiger Spotting in general.
All of the Indian tiger reserves are usually closed for tourism between mid June and September due to Mansoon season (4 months of year when majority of rainfall takes place and the Tiger reserves become mostly inaccessible)
When the parks open in October, the parks are lush green and full of vegetation, which is great photographic opportunity. However, nature is complex and every opportunity brings own set of challenges.
When to go Tiger Spotting in India ?
Tiger Spotting in November, December, January & February:
Post monsoon, the vegetation becomes thick and it becomes a little bit tricky to track ellusive tigers and leopards as they can easily hide behind thick leaves. Soon after mansoon, there would be plenty of water sources for the animals, so they don’t need to come to wonder in search of water.
November, December, January & February:- The central Indian weather gets cold at night and for most western tourists, its quite pleasant daytime temprature of about 25-28 degrees © which means they can escape the bitterly cold North American or Europen weather and make most of the Indian sunshine.
The chances of Tiger sightings are also good. We arrange for total 16 game drives in Tadoba, Kanha,Pench and Bandhavgarh (8 game drives in each park) which increases your chances of tiger sightings.Remember its not all about tigers, there are leopards, sloth bears, wildl dogs, bisons, several species of antilopes, hundreds of birds (hornbills, vultures, parakets etc) crocodiles, mungoose. During these months, the chances of sighting a tiger may be up to 80% but this season is best in term of avoiding the hot summer months.
What to wear: Thick jackets and warm boots are advised as the early morning temperature may be nearly zero degrees at times, rising quickly to comfortable mid 20s.
When to go to India for Tiger Photography?
Tiger Spotting in March, April, May & June:
This is the summer time for central India. The vegitation which was lush green and thick starts to disappear, which means we can see up to far distance in the forest and spotting wild animals becomes whole lot easier. Moreover ,since all the waterhole starts to dry up, the wild animals tend to gather at the waterholes to quench their thurst in the scortching summer heat. The daytime tempratures may well reach up to 45c. What amazes us that even in this heat , it feels much cooler inside the the jungles.
This is the time ideal for any serious wildlife photographer to photograph these big cats. We always carry plenty of mineral water, cold drinks and snacks to keep our guests cool and well fed in the parks. During these months, the morning tiger safaris start at 5AM and finishes by 9.30 AM. Afternoon safaris start at 3.30PM and finiehs by 7pm. We also take sun protection seriously and use high SPF suncreams. Our carefuly chosen luxury accomodation have beautiful pool in the natural settings and after each safari you can reward yourself with swimming in the outdoors pool.
This season is best for tiger sightings and the chances of sighting Tigers/Leopards are up to 95%. Towards the end of May or beginning of June, there may be odd few pre-monsoon showers (light rain) which is a welcome relief. The sky becomes drammatic and the peacocks do their usual full glory dance, which is very spectatular and something not to be missed!
What to wear: Hats, Sunglasses and light cotton clothing is highly recommended. It is also recommended to keep yourself well hydrated.
So what time of the year should be avoided for Tiger Safaris?
Its best to avoid Indian school holidays as well as popular public holidays (bank holidays, as they are known in the United Kingdom).
It can get busy inside the national parks during the Indian holidays of Diwali, Christmas holidays, New Year, Holi, Independence day and Republic days (especially long weekends) etc.
We prepare your itinerary in such a way , that allows you more intimate experience with nature as well as with wildlife for photography. Wildlife Photography requires a steady platform to shoot, for that reason we provide whole row of seat to each photographer.
Very limited number of vehicles are allowed each day, and the entry permits for national parks are very popular among local as well as foreign tourists, so sell out well in advance, if you are interested in shooting wild tigers in their natural habitat, get in touch as soon as you can. (we will need your names, passport numbers, and ages so that the entry permits can be booked for you well in advance)
Kanha National park, Bandhavgarh National Park and Pench National park remains closed for public every Wednesday afternoon.
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve remains closed every Tuesday (Although buffer areas remain open for safaris and provide good tiger sighting opportunities)
What do I do next? Contact us so that we can arrange a photographic tiger safari for you.