Is it possible to do a Tiger Safari at the time of monsoons in India? A generally asked question, as hardly anyone knows that some parts of the national parks are closed during monsoon. And few parts are only open.
At the onset let me clarify here that most parts in many national parks are closed during the monsoons. The monsoon time is from July till September in most areas, and in few parks, specifically in the terrain belt and northeast India, the monsoon stretches till the month of October.
But why opt for a Safari in a monsoon?
The trees are healthier as well as happier and more productive at the time of monsoon. During this time in the forest, talk to the guides, listen to several fascinating stories of the foresters, and come out richer and contented with your tiger safari. The forest has a language, the trees live on a variant timescale, and people live in scientific backwaters when it comes to ecological problems.
What are the chances of Tiger sightings at the monsoon time?
Well, the most important thing that is to be made clear is, Tigers do not leave the parks during monsoon time and neither do they go to some other place. Tigers are territorial animals and they do not leave their territories, no matter even if it’s monsoons. National Parks is their dwelling. They still have to hunt to stay alive, do patrolling to protect their territories as well as to mate. So, the chances of Tiger sightings are still there even in monsoon season.
The chances of Tiger sightings in monsoon time are a little low for the below reasons:
1. Hardly any vehicles go for Tiger Safaris during monsoon; so the Tigers in those parts of the forests are not being tracked enough. For instance, during season time if 10 vehicles go in that area, then in monsoon times only 2 goes, thus reducing the sighting chances. During season time out of 10 if 5 vehicles saw Tigers, it indicates the movement of Tigers and the other vehicles can go there are sight the Tigers. But when only 2 vehicles go in, that automatically lessens the chances of Tiger sighting.
2. In India, our landscape is quite different as compared to Africa. The undergrowth is thick, whereas the Tiger is an elusive cat. He does not roam around in pride like Lions. So as he moves alone, it is difficult to sight him. Hence the thick undergrowth in monsoons makes it even tougher to sight Tigers. But what really assists sighting Tigers is the vehicles. The time when the vehicles doing safaris cross each other they exchange notes, as well as tell each other about various direct and indirect signs of Tiger sightings. This greatly helps in Tiger track.
Why does the forest department close Tiger safari in India at the time of monsoon?
Just because they want to avoid vehicles getting stuck in slush. One of the main reasons they also do it is, the forest needs to be given some time to recuperate.
Why were several parts opened for tourism for Tiger safari during monsoon?
Till some years back all the parts of the forest were shut down for tourism. But gradually the forest department realized that tourism is, in fact, good, and should be allowed in some parts of the forest even during the monsoon. Tourism keeps those elements away which can harm the forest and its inhabitants. During this time, mostly the poachers, as well as the cattle grazers, would move into the park. But the moment tourism starts in these areas in monsoons they stay away, as each and every activity inside, which is illegal, gets reported.
Which parks are open for Tiger safari in India at the time of monsoon?
The below areas in the popular parks are open for Tiger safaris even during the monsoon times.
1. Jhirna zone in Corbett National Park
2. The buffer zones of Tadoba national park
3. Buffer zone of Sarika National Park
4. Zone 6 to 10 in Ranthambhore National Park
5. The buffer zones of every national park in Madhya Pradesh
Hence, if the only time in the year that you have is from July till September then think about doing Tiger safari in India. The best thing is that there is no rush, whatsoever for booking of permits, and you even get them very effortlessly.