This wildlife travel guide is meant to be like a trailer for the new Attenborough series. Because we also have individual travel guides for more specific wildlife holidays, such as our safaris, bear watching and whale watching.
Tiger safari holidays guide
I am a grown man, and have travelled all over Africa. But, the first time I saw a tiger in the wilds of India, I cried.
The tiger is both revered and feared. Elusive and exalted. It is the national symbol of India and yet it is, ironically, royalty, be it Mughals, Maharajas or British who were responsible for wiping out vast numbers of its tiger population. Hunting tigers became the favourite pastime of the rich and regal as far back as the late 1800s. The magnificence of the tiger has always been central to literature too, from Winnie the Pooh to William Blake. And yet, when Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book in 1897, there were 10,000 wild tigers on the Indian subcontinent. Today there are just over 3,000 worldwide, the shrinking population due also to diminishing habitats caused by deforestation and development. There are now six subspecies remaining in the world: the Bengal tiger, Siberian tiger, South China tiger, Indochinese tiger, Malayan tiger and the Sumatran tiger. You can see most of them on a tiger safari in India but also in Bangladesh, Butan, Nepal and Siberia. The impact of seeing a tiger is a highly emotional one, touching the psyche in multi-dimensional ways - discovering something precious you feared was lost, being transported back to your childhood dreams, witnessing poetry in motion or, for some, simply a deeply spiritual moment. Read more about watching the most captivating big cat of all in our tiger safaris travel guide.
Our Tiger safari Holidays
Is a tiger safari for you?
Do go and see tigers in the wild if…
Don’t go and watch tigers in the wild if…
If you'd like to chat about Tiger safari or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
what does a tiger safari entail?
The majority of tiger safaris take place in India in their national parks and tiger reserves, all now protected since 1971 when the new prime minister, Indira Gandhi went on a mission to stop the devastating demise of tigers by setting up Project Tiger, which still exists today, but is more commonly known as the National Tiger Conservation Authority. Tiger safaris have, therefore, become fairly bureaucratic, which is why you need to book well in advance and use an experienced operator to ensure you get the best possible experience out of what will be, for most people, a long awaited dream come true.
And when that dream becomes reality, you will need to spend at least four or five days in tiger watching landscapes to allow for a sighting. Ideally you will be staying in a lodge, in the immediate environs of the tiger reserve so that you can start your game drive early.
In India, tiger safaris generally take place in an open jeep, a minibus known as a canter or, less common nowadays, on the back of an elephant. Known as tiger shows, these are controversial, as discussed on our Responsible Tourism page. These treks do bring in tourists and income for the parks and arguably helps tiger conservation. At however Responsible Travel we do not support any elephant trekking. Read our guide on elephant trekking here.
In any case, you get much better interpretation and wildlife knowledge from a guide on a jeep tour, as elephant guides are ‘mahouts’ or elephant trainers, where the focus is on controlling the elephant rather than promoting the environment. An ideal number of people in your jeep is four, keeping the noise impact to a minimum and also ensuring you comfort on the game drive. In more remote tiger habitats, such as in Nepal, Bhutan and Siberia, exploring by foot is more common.
More about Tiger safari
There are several places in the world where this elusive and endangered creature still roams, including Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and even Siberia.
No matter what time of year you choose, it is worth remembering that it's always the tiger who calls the shots about making an appearance.
People travel a long way to see tigers, and it is definitely worth the trip when you do, but it makes good sense to pick a trip that has plenty of other activities alongside the tiger safari.
At Responsible Travel we are lucky to work with some of the world’s most dedicated conservationists, leader guides, naturalists and scientists when it comes to tigers.
Read about the issues affecting tigers today, from habitat loss to poaching and learn how responsible tourism is playing its part in conservation.
Dig a little deeper into the detail of travelling to see tigers in the wild, and find out what tiger safaris entail, so you can plan and prepare with confidence.
Beautiful landscapes, a growing population of tigers and the atmospheric Ranthambore Fort presiding over all make Ranthambore National Park a must-visit for wildlife lovers.
Pench National Park is not one of India’s best known parks and won’t always deliver tiger sightigs, but that has the advantage of keeping visitor numbers low.
Big, wild and beautiful, Kanha National Park is home to around 100 Bengal tigers, plus an abundance of other fascinating wildlife and birdlife.