We’re sure you are already aware, but we live in the land of one of the most famous books in the world: The Jungle Book. This epic tale, that has kept children and adults entertained and dreaming of life in the jungle for decades, was inspired by the beautiful creatures of the wild that also call India home. We think it would be a scandal for any Indian not to try and venture out into the wild and see some of these incredible creatures that feature in this book at least once!
There are approximately only 3,200 tigers left in the world; 100 years ago there were 100,000. 70% of that tiger population resides in India and we’re privileged to be part of a generation who can still see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, so we urge you to go out and do so if you can (or go again if you have been already)!
It’s not all lions, tigers and bears at these safari parks; you’ll get to see other incredible (and endangered) creatures such as elephants, rhinos, Asian lions and many others too. So, to help you out and kick-start your safari planning, we’ve listed some of the greatest National Parks in the world, that just so happen to be in India!
Bandavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
This safari park has one of the densest Bengal tiger populations in India making it very popular with travellers and animal lovers.
Best time to visit: March-May will give you your best chance of seeing a tiger in its natural habitat.
What else to do? Explore this beautiful state, there are many incredible places to visit and sights to see such as the Gwalior Temple or Taj-ul-Masajid.
Kanha Safari, Madhya Pradesh
For the truest Jungle Book experience, head to Kanha; this luscious green territory is the real-life inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s epic adventure. This rich environment will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on edge as you navigate your way through the jungle, like the explorers of days gone by.
Best Time to Visit: March to May to see the big cats and the park is closed from July to mid-October during monsoon season.
What else to do? Besides Bandavgarh National Park and Kanha there are other sights to see in Madhya Pradesh; it is densely populated with beautiful temples including Birla Mandir high in the hilltops.
Sunderbans, West Bengal
Spread over West Bengal and Bangladesh, over 200 Bengal tigers call this park home. The diverse and somewhat dangerous terrain means you’ll have a real adventure to look forward to. This safari also comes with a twist: don’t think you’ll be bouncing around in a 4×4 looking for these secretive creatures; you’ll be in canoes gliding down swampy waters through mangroves.
Best time to visit: November to March gives your best chance of seeing a tiger sun-bathing on the marshy banks of the swamps.
What else to do? Belur Math and the Victoria Memorial are two incredible structures that you can visit whilst in West Bengal, or if you want to take your travels further why not hop over to Bangladesh and explore another beautiful country.
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
This is India’s oldest tiger park, having opened in 1936 this reserve takes a lot of care in really preserving the natural habitat of its tigers. This does mean that your chances of seeing a tiger are less as none of the tigers will be tracker or baited. But don’t let that deter you, if you do see a tiger you will be part of an exclusive group and if you don’t see one, then you’re guaranteed to see some of the giant grey wild elephants that also call this park home!
Best Time to Visit: The best time to spot a tiger is March to May, but the park is open from November to June.
What else to do? Whilst in Uttarakhand why not take advantage of the amazing hikes that are available to you in the Northern region of India.
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat
You will find no tigers at the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, but don’t be disappointed as this wildlife park is home to wild lions! We recommend staying at least two days to make sure you see all the animals, including hyenas, black bucks and many more.
Best Time to Visit: Whilst December to March is considered to be the best time to visit Gir because of the agreeable climate, it is well-known that your best views of the wildlife will be from April to May (although it will be very hot!).
What else to do? Gujarat is a wildly diverse destination with so many things to do, find out more here in our Gujarat Tourism Guide, as well as more information about Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
This safari is great for seeing tigers, but in the warm desert climate you’ll also be able to see an array of different animals basking in the sun. Sloth bear and wild boars (amongst others) reside in this park that has been so popular to wildlife photographers from around the world for years.
Best Time to Visit: To see a tiger we recommend going between April and June, but remember this is also the hottest time of the year!
What else to do? Whilst you’re in Rajasthan, why not extend your trip and take in the incredible sights of the city of Jaipur.