Wildlife safaris are like no other vacation experience. Unfortunately, many tourists are ignorant of the etiquette of the jungles and end up disturbing the wildlife, spoiling the environment, and creating hazards for both themselves and the animals. Also, their ignorance of the sanctuary and accommodation options prevents them from getting the maximum enjoyment from their jungle safari vacation. Some useful tips for getting the most out of your safari:
Plan Your Trip With the Seasons
In India, most people prefer to visit during the winter because it is far more comfortable; however, the chances of spotting the animals are far better in the summer, because the normally dense vegetation dries up. Most sanctuaries are closed during the monsoon, as moving around becomes extremely hazardous and the forests need to regenerate. Tadoba Tiger Reserve, however, is among the very few that are accessible even during the rainy season, though with restrictions.
Book Accommodation Early and Travel Lightly
Book online or go through your travel agent as early as possible, as the accommodation at most sanctuaries is fairly limited. While the plush Tadoba National Park resorts give you all the comforts, there are also modest hotels for those on a budget. It is important to stay near the gate through which you plan to enter the park, otherwise you will end up wasting a lot of time and money. Pack lightly but wisely; make sure your clothes and shoes are comfortable and that you have the essential medicines and insect repellant.
Do Not Leave the Safari Vehicle
Even though it may not be apparent, wildlife sanctuaries can be dangerous places, and it is very important for you to follow the instructions of your guide. Never force him to go into areas that he does not recommend or try to alight from the vehicle for a better view of the animals, as this can only invite trouble. Remember, the animals are not tame and however docile they may seem, they can inflict severe injury or even cause fatalities. Never stray into the forest without your guide. Do the morning trip when the creatures are more dynamic, before it gets truly hot – you will likely spot tigers, various deer, bears, wild hog, monkeys, a few hawks, and other outlandish bright-winged animals. Bring a drink with you and a scarf around the mouth – you will get dusty. Bring a camera with a decent zoom, as I just had a cell phone and passed up a wonderful opportunity for loads of great photographs.
Do Not Litter, Disturb Your Surroundings, or Feed the Animals
Forests are more inviting when they are pristine, and you should consciously remember not to cause any harm to the environment by littering. Any garbage or uneaten food should never be left behind, as it can be hazardous to animals. Never make any attempt to feed the animals, as wild animals are liable to mistake you for food instead. Do not attempt to swim or take a bath at the watering holes; they may have more surprises than you could ever imagine. Do not use bright spotlights to look for animals after sundown, or even try to photograph using the flash, as animals can feel threatened by this.
The sole reason why we have to travel to see wild animals in their natural habitats is that we have indiscriminately spoiled their natural environments and decimated their population. The only way we can ensure that we and our future generations still get to observe them is by behaving responsibly.
Author Bio: Bill Williams is a wildlife photographer and travel blogger. He has recently visited the Tadoba National Park and loves writing about his travels on his blog. He recommends booking a room in one of the reputed resorts and hotels at Tadoba National Park well in advance, if you are planning a Tadoba Tiger Reserve vacation.