India is home to a variety of animals such as the Bengal and Indochinese tigers, snow leopards, Indian elephants, and the rhinoceros, and many others. The region's diverse wildlife is preserved in numerous national parks, bio-reserves and wildlife sanctuaries across the country. If you enjoy wildlife, then India is the right place for you.
Before you go on a wildlife experience, you will need to choose which wildlife you want to encounter. Each national park in India has its own main attraction of animals. You will also need to know what you will need to pack, and some safety tips to ensure you get the best experience.
- There are more than 500 wildlife sanctuaries, 120 National Parks and 18 bio-reserves in India.
- National parks are open from October to June and closed during the monsoon season from mid-June to September.
- Ranthambhore National Park is a favorite destination for people looking to spot tigers. Some other places include Corbett National Park, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Tadoba National Park, and Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Keoladeo Ghana National Park is home to over 380 species of birds and animals. The best way to admire them is to rent a boat around the wetland. Bicycles are also available for touring the forest paths.
- Almost all the national parks offer jeep safari services for visitors to observe the wildlife.
India has a rich variety of wildlife
India is home to some endangered and rare species of wildlife animals and birds, the rarest being the Royal Bengal Tiger and Siberian Crane, which live in the diverse terrain of the country. The vast amounts of species are attracting wildlife enthusiasts from all around the globe.
There are more than 500 wildlife sanctuaries, 120 National Parks and 18 bio-reserves housing several species of animals and birds such as the great single-horned rhinoceros, the Indian elephants, Asiatic lions, species of deer, and other attractive birds.
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Best time to do wildlife watching in India
Parks are usually open from October to June, as the monsoon season is from mid-June until October.
A few parks, such as Nagarhole in south India remain open all year round, while those in central India including Kanha are closed to the public during the monsoon. In north-east India, Kaziranga is open for just a short season from November to April.
Popular national parks with wildlife experiences in India
There are more than 120 national parks in India which are spread all over the country. Some are larger and more accessible than others. These parks are all popular with visitors and offer a diverse variety of flora and fauna.
Here are some of the most famous national parks in India.
|National Parks||Attractions||Safaris available||Opening period|
|Ranthambhore National Park||Tigers, bears, leopards, jackals, elephants, striped hyena, bison, monkeys, deer, and snakes.||Open safaris on a 6-seater Four-Wheel Drive Gypsy or a 20-seater Canter.||October to June|
|Keoladeo Ghana National Park||Basking python, rare Siberian cranes, nilgai, golden jackal, striped hyena, fishing cat, jungle cat, sambar, blackbuck, and wild boar||Horse carriage ride, jeep ride, and cycle rickshaw ride.||Throughout the year|
|Jim Corbett National Park||Tigers, deer, leopards, jackals, red foxes, black bear, sloth bear, and monkeys||Jeep and Canter safaris||November to June|
|Bandhavgarh National Park||Home to over 45 tigers, as well as the Asiatic jackals, sloth bears, foxes, gray mongoose, rattles, jungle cats, deer, wild boars, chinkara, nilgai, striped hyenas, and leopards||Jeep safaris||October to June|
|Kaziranga National Park||Rhinoceros, tiger, elephant, wild buffalo and swamp deer. It is also a shelter to bears, leopards and several species of local and migratory birds||Elephant and jeep safaris||November to April|
|Kanha Tiger Reserve National Park||Tigers, elephants, jackals, leopards, striped hyenas, monkeys, and several varieties of deer including blackbuck, swamp deer, chital, and sambhar||Jeep safaris||November to June|
|Tadoba National Park||Panthers, tigers, striped hyenas, sloth bears, wild dogs, jackals, barking deer, bison, sambar, and the marsh crocodile. It is also rich in flora and fauna||Open top gypsy safaris||October to June|
|Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary||Tigers, leopards, dholes, jungle cats, sloth bears, hyenas, jackals, wolves, gaur, and sambar. There is also a variety of butterflies, amphibians, and reptiles||Jeep safaris||October to June|
Ranthambhore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is located in Rajasthan and is one of the largest national parks in North India. Inside the park is a formidable fort that was built in the 10th century. The park itself is characterized by rocky plains and steep cliffs.
Apart from tigers, visitors can also spot other animals such as bears, leopards, jackals, elephants, striped hyena, bison, monkeys and several types of deer. The park is also renowned for being home to different varieties of snakes.
There are 2 types of vehicles you can choose to go with for your safari; the 4-Wheel Drive Gypsy which is a 6-seater, or the Canter which seats 20 people.
For wildlife photography enthusiasts, the open Gypsy allows you to look at the wildlife at eye-level and is able to traverse narrow, winding trails, which increases the odds of spotting a tiger.
However, 20-seater Canter is a more practical way to explore. Sighting tigers are mostly driven by luck, but the chances of spotting leopards, tigers and other wildlife increase greatly near the three lakes.
- Open: October to June
- Note: Walking is strictly prohibited. Only jeeps hired from the Project Tiger Office. Extra charges for photography.
- Address: Sawai Madhopur district. 180 km (112 miles) SE of Jaipur.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the Keoladeo National Park is recognized as one of Asia's finest birding areas, with over 380 resident and migrant species. Woodlands, swamps, and wet grasslands cover a large part of the park, which has an area of 11 square miles
The park is home to over 380 species of birds and animals such as the basking python, painted storks, deer, nilgai, golden jackal, striped hyaenas, fishing cat, jungle cat, sambar, blackbuck, and wild boar.
During the winter season, about 200 species of migratory birds arrive every year from Afghanistan, Turkey, China, and Siberia. The park is known as the breeding ground for the rare and elusive to spot Siberian crane.
To enjoy a bird watching experience, you can get around the park by walking, renting a bicycle, renting a rickshaw, or renting a horse carriage.
- Open: Throughout the year
- Note: Bicycles, cycle-rickshaws available. Extra charges for photography.
- Address: Bharatpur district. 185 km (115 miles) E of Jabalpur.
Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park is India's first national park. The park is divided into four separate zones, known as Durgadevi, Dhikala, Jhirna, and Bijrani, which covers an area of 1318.54 square kilometers.
The park is a favorite destination for people looking to spot tigers. Other animals to be seen include several species of deer, leopards, jackals, red foxes, black bear, sloth bear, and monkeys.
Jeep Safaris to the Durgadevi, Dhikala, Jhirna, and Bijrani Zones of the Corbett Tiger Reserve offer visitors a memorable experience to view wildlife and avifauna in its natural habitat.
Canter safaris provide you with a much joyful 5-hour ride inside the Dhikala Zone, which offers you a chance to explore the unbeatable wildlife. The extreme safari experience maximizes the chance of sighting the Royal Bengal Tiger in their natural habitats.
- Open: November to June
- Note: Walking is strictly prohibited. Extra charges for photography.
- Address: Nainital District, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park has the highest number of Royal Bengal Tigers and is the well-renowned tiger reserve in the world.
The park features dense green valleys and rocky hill terrain, with an ancient fort built on an 800-meter high cliff. The Bandhavgarh National Park consists of mixed vegetation ranging from tall grasslands to thick sal forest.
The park is home to over 22 species of mammals as well as 250 species of birds. It is among the best national parks in India. The park houses animals such as the tigers, Asiatic jackals, sloth bears, foxes, gray mongoose, rattles, jungle cats, deer, wild boars, chinkara, nilgai, striped hyenas, and even leopards.
Jeep Safari is the best way to explore the flora and fauna of Bandhavgarh National Park. Jeep safaris keep one engrossed for the adventure and provide the flexibility to explore places which are difficult to travel via any other mode of transportation.
Most visitors head for Tala and Magadhi Zones of the National Park, which has some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Bandhavgarh.
- Open: October to June
- Note: Walking is strictly prohibited. Jeep safaris are available. Extra charges for photography.
- Address: Shahdol district. 237 km (147 miles) SE of Khajuraho.
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park covers an area of 378 square kilometers and mostly consists of swamp and grasslands. UNESCO declared it to be a World Heritage Site, due to it residing in an Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot, making it one of the most diverse national parks of India.
This park has the largest population of the one-horned rhinoceros in the world and is the perfect place to spot a few other wild animals such as the tigers, elephants, wild buffaloes, and swamp deers.
The park also offers shelter to bears, leopards, and several species of local and migratory birds.
Park safari is one of the main attractions and activities for tourists. One can enjoy elephant and jeep safaris to explore the treasure of wildlife.
The best way to travel inside the park is elephant ride, where you will come across vegetation like alluvial savannah woodlands, tropical semi-evergreen, and tropical moist mixed deciduous forests.
Jeep safari offers a wonderful ride where one can explore the wildlife.
- Open: November to April
- Note: Elephant and jeep safaris are available. Extra charges for photography.
- Address: Kanchanjuri, Assam
Kanha Tiger Reserve National Park
Kanha Tiger Reserve National Park is sprawled across more than 1,945 sq km, one of the first tiger reserves to work for Project Tiger. It is rich in lush sal and bamboo forests, lakes, streams, and open grasslands.
Aside from tigers, tourists can spot a wide variety of animals here such as elephants, jackals, leopards, striped hyenas, monkeys, and several varieties of deer including the blackbuck, swamp deer, chital, and sambhar.
Kanha National Park offers options like jeep safari, elephant safari, and nature trails, as well as cycling trails for the tourists to begin their trip into the forest. Open jeep safaris are the best way to observe wildlife due to the thick lush green forest of Kanha National Park.
Safaris conducted by wildlife expert can be enjoyed twice in a day either early morning or late afternoon. You can enjoy the jeep safari in Kanha from sunrise till 11:00 am and sunset in the late afternoon, one of the best times to capture the beautiful scenery.
- Open: November to June
- Note: Walking is strictly prohibited. Jeep safaris are available. Compulsory guides. Extra charges for photography.
- Address: Mandla district. 196 km (122 miles) SE of Jabalpur.
Tadoba National Park
Tadoba National Park is one of India's 47 project tiger reserves existing in India. It is situated in the core of a reserved forest and spread in the area of 1727 square kilometers. The park is overshadowed by teak and bamboo, with a landscape of rugged cliffs, marshlands, and lakes.
Being one of the largest and oldest national parks, the park has an endless treasure trove of a large number of species of trees and plants, and wildlife like panthers, tigers, hyenas, sloth bears, wild dogs, jackals, barking deer, bison, sambar, and herds of deer.
Open top jeeps can be hired for safaris. The safari allows you to explore the rich wildlife of the park and spot animals such as the jungle cats, hyenas, wild bears, and cheetahs.
The park is also home to over 180 species of birds including endangered species of water birds. You can also spot migratory ducks and marsh crocodiles around Tadoba Lake.
- Open: October to June
- Note: Jeep safaris are available. Extra charges for photography.
- Address: Chandrapur, Maharashtra
Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary
Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as the Green Oasis of Vidharba is located in the Bhandara district in the northeastern corner of Maharashtra. The sanctuary covers an area of over 150 square kilometers that links southern and central forested areas like the Tadoba-Andhari and Kanha Tiger Reserves.
The lush green mountains, dales, and vales in the sanctuary make it the ideal location for various wild animals. Tigers, leopards, dholes, jungle cats, sloth bears, hyenas, jackals, wolves, and herbivores like gaur and sambar have made this their home.
The Wildlife Sanctuary offers the chance of getting up close with the wildlife with the facility of safari rides. The Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary has two zones which are the Chorkhamara Zone and Umarzai Zone and two gates which are Pitezari Gate and Jambhadi Gate. The gates offer vehicles to explore a certain perimeter of the sanctuary.
The vehicles are not allowed to interchange the zones and overtake any of the vehicles involved in the safari tour. Once done with the safari, the vehicles have to follow the same route and gate they used for entering the particular region of the sanctuary for the non-disturbance of the wildlife.
- Open: October to June
- Note: Safaris are available. Extra charges for photography.
- Address: Bhandara, Maharashtra
How to choose a wildlife experience
Due to the many options available, it may be difficult and confusing to choose the right wildlife experience for you.
To get the perfect wildlife experience, it will require a detailed plan to ensure that you will get the best out of the experience.
Choose the wildlife you want to encounter with
There is a lot of wildlife for you to choose, ranging from the Royal Bengal Tigers of Ranthambore to the endangered single-horned rhinoceros of Kaziranga. You should select what interests you.
Tigers are most common at Ranthambhore National Park, Jim Corbett National Park, and Kanha Tiger Reserve National Park, while Keoladeo Ghana National Park is the perfect place to watch exotic migratory birds.
What experience you are looking for
Different experiences are being offered by each of the national parks in India. If you are looking for a boat ride, you can experience one at the Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Morning and evening boat rides on the lakes offer close access to the different birds' nesting sites, and are extremely rewarding for photography.
Jeep safaris are available in almost all the national parks in India. Each park offers different animals for you to encounter.
If you are looking for an animal ride, Kaziranga National Park and Kanha Tiger Reserve National Park offer elephant safaris, and Desert National Park in Jaisalmer offer camel safaris into the desert.
Which city you plan to visit
If you are planning to visit the Golden Triangle, we recommend that you visit Ranthambore National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park. These parks are located in Rajasthan and can be easily added as an excursion from your trip in Agra or Delhi.
If you are visiting Mumbai, you can opt to go to the Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary or Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra. If you are visiting Jabalpur, we recommend you to visit Kanha Tiger Reserve National Park or Bandhavgarh National Park.
Wildlife conservation in India
India is home to a number of varied species of flora and fauna. Heavy measures are taken from time to time to conserve wildlife in India.
Several animals and birds are on the verge of extinction because of excessive poaching, illegal trading, loss of habitat, pollution, and deforestation.
One of the biggest challenges that the government, environmentalists, and private organizations are facing in India is to put a full stop on the killing and trading of animals.
The government of India, forest officials, and many wildlife conservation bodies are leaving no stone unturned to safeguard the animals from extinction.
The natural schemes and programs initiated by the government of India like Project Tiger, Nature Camps and Resorts, and Jungle Lodges and Resorts have been planned to encourage wildlife alertness to the people. These plans help not only in conserving our nature but also promote eco-tourism in India.
Tips for having a wildlife experience
India's national parks are gateways to nature, adventure, and discovery. The chance to observe wildlife as they go about their natural lives is one of the most fascinating experiences that national parks offer.
To make the best out of the wildlife experience, here are some helpful tips that you can follow.
Respect the animals
You should never get close enough to alter an animal's behavior. If you are on a safari, remember to turn your phone to silent, switch off the sounds on your camera, keep your voice low, and stay in the vehicle.
You should be aware of your surroundings and while animals may be present, they could pose a threat in their environment. Never feed wild animals. Stay safe and remain in the vehicles.
Keep a safe distance from animals and listen to the National Park guide's advice at all times.
What to pack
When going on a safari, the thing to remember is to pack light.
You should bring with you a waterproof jacket if possible, in case it rains. Bring a power bank or some spare batteries for your electronic devices.
Bring a pair of binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to enable you to have a better view and take photos of the wildlife you encounter.
Wear a hat and sunglasses as the weather can get very hot. Also take with you any personal medication, insect repellent, and sun-screen.
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Are you wanting an adventure and a close encounter with wildlife? Asia Highlights can help you plan an exhilarating outdoor experience in India. Contact us, to help you tailor-make a memorable wildlife tour.
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