India - a wildlife destination?
When it comes to travel in India most would imagine colorful bazaars of loudly haggling street vendors, historic monuments and hypnotic spiritual rituals. True, India can deliver on all those fronts, but delve deeper into its exotic natural history and you’ll discover a wealth of wildlife just waiting to be encountered. Here’s our top pick of the best wildlife experiences the country has to offer...
Tracking tigers in Ranthambore National Park
Located in Rajasthan in Northern India, Ranthambore National Park derives its name from the 10th century fortress which lies within, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although the park hosts a huge array of wildlife, it is most famous for its Bengal tiger population and is arguably the finest habitat in the world to watch tigers in the wild. The tigers here are active during the day and lack any fear of safari vehicles making for some exciting encounters. What’s more, the Mughal ruins and crumbling palaces hidden among the ancient hills and shimmering forests frame the beasts magnificently, creating some stunning photographic opportunities.
Luxury and leopards at Jawai
Jawai Leopard Camp sits in a landscape of towering granite formations, caves, kopjes, Anogeissus scrub and winding sand riverbeds, beautiful in its uniqueness. Pioneering a new path in Indian eco-tourism, Jawai stands as a model for luxury escapism and big cat conservation.
The land here is not a wilderness as such but the domain of the Rabari Herdsmen who have shared this area with the leopard population for centuries. Working
in collaboration with the Rabari, camp owners Jaisal and Anjali Singh manage any human/wildlife conflict and endorse the organic and continuing link
between local culture and wildlife. With top of the range 4x4 vehicles and expert guides on hand to provide morning and evening game drives, guests
are virtually guaranteed to spot the elusive leopard, (and so much more!) – an arresting sight against the dramatic landscape. Read more about Jawai.
Step into The Jungle Book - Kanha National Park
Rudyard Kipling is revered as the godfather of colonial jungle days and the setting for his magical childhood classic, the Kanha Tiger Reserve, is one of India's most iconic wildlife destinations. Although home to Indian Wolf, ‘Baloo’ the sloth bear, leopard and even the elusive Indian pangolin, it is best known for its thriving tiger population. The park is home to the highest density of tigers in India proving that Shere Kahn, the king of the jungle, really does reign on! The Park's landmark achievement is the preservation of the rare hardground Swamp Deer (Barasingha), saving it from near extinction, and stringent conservation programs for the overall protection of the Park's fauna and flora make Kanha one of the most well maintained National Parks in Asia.
Find the species you didn’t know existed outside of Africa
Kaziranga National Park in the northeast region of Assam boasts Asian elephant, buffalo and the largest population of prehistoric looking one-horned rhinoceros on earth. Meanwhile Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat hosts the last wild Asiatic lions in the world; hyena & wild dog roam Pench National Park; Bandhavgarh is home to leopard, jackal, mongoose and civet; and even the Indian pangolin can be found in Kanha National Park. Think you’ve ‘done’ safaris? Think again…
Become a twitcher in Jim Corbett National Park
India offers some of the best birding in the world due largely to its habitat diversity. This does mean you will need to travel to different parts of the country to see the specific habitat-adapted species but Corbett National Park is a good place to start. Named after legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett, the park was India's first having been established in 1936. It hosts some 650 species of resident and migratory birds with more than 50 species of raptors alone. Among the star studded cast are Plum-headed parakeets, magpie-robins, bulbuls, chestnut-headed bee-eaters, dollarbirds, great hornbills and the stunning paradise flycatchers. As a bonus you may also spot tiger, elephant, leopard, otter and the endemic fish eating crocodile.
Read More: An Indian Safari – Wildlife and Nature
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