Now this an interesting word that I hear quite often from my urban friends. Tiger Safari!
“I want to do a tiger safari, where should I go?”
I will answer only the first part in this blog.. Tiger Safari.
Tiger safari seems to have its origins somewhere in zoos or enclosed camps like in Thailand or to some extent places like Borivali National Park, Mumbai. These are places where drugged, abused or injured tiger are made prisoner for our sadistic pleasures under garb of extending their lives. Keeping world’s biggest cat imprisoned in cage seems to give us humans a false sense of pride of domination. Observing these stripped cats inside a man-made enclosure while we are eating popcorn seated comfortably inside a secured van makes me feel sick. Seeing a tiger in wild is no theatre act. It is nature,it’s wild,it’s spirit runs free..
Coming back to point.. Tiger safari!
In natural world their is nothing called as tiger safari. Utmost it can be called a jungle safari. Seeing tiger in wild during jungle safari is matter of chance. All advertisements of travel companies claiming guarantee to showcasing a tiger in wild is biggest CON in wildlife tourism. To see a tiger lot of factors are involved, it is a game of probabilities. Some of critical factors are season of the year, weather, number of tigers in park, size of park, terrain, prey base, watering holes etc.
I have had my own share of luck with tiger sightings. I have done jungle safaris where I spotted tigers almost every safari and on other end the worst has been 8 safaris with no tiger sighting. These 8 safaris made me feel like I was the only cursed person on earth. However with time, I have started enjoying playing this game of probabilities. My heart sinks with every dry safari but like addict I go for next safari and on and on…. To sight tiger you have to be patient and hear nature talk to you. It’s during these conversations with nature while waiting for a tiger, I have realised nature is purest form of God. Jungle is a much bigger concepts than we can imagine. It is when you get addicted to these conversations with whistling winds, rustling leaves, howling jackals and chirping bird, you start realising you are part of system and start enjoying jungle as whole.
Waiting time.. syncing in with nature.. in conversation with nature while the driver is asleep 🙂
My recent visit to Ranthambore is a testimony to my addiction to natural beauty of jungles. When we reached Zone 3 in Ranthambore National Park we were appraised of the fact that chances of No-Show are high. I was adamant to visit zone 3 and insisted that I wanted to go in Zone 3 cause of lakes, palaces, forts and historic hunting grounds inside forest. The feel inside was very different. Trust me it was heaven, no tiger sighting yet heaven.
So next time when you have to visit jungle, go with open mind to see the jungle as whole. Tiger would be icing on cake. Enjoy conversation with other wonderful denizens. Jungles have a lot to offer all we need is to have open mind. As for sporting tiger in wild during jungle safari what you really need to increase probability is:
- Opinion/Advise of expert of jungle to do the planning
- Excellent tracker during safari
- Good driver to take you through the forest during safari
- Safari vehicle in good condition
- Little bit of luck and some prayers
- Last but not least wishes of “His Highness Stripped Cat of India”
Get the above 6 right, you will have your jungle safari converted to Wild Tiger Safari!