Best time to visit India for tigers and advice on India climate
Best time to vist India for tigers - Most people after their initial research on Indian tiger sanctuaries will discover that the time NOT to visit India for tigers is July to September; when the majority of India's national parks are closed due to the Monsoon. Although I do recall a particularly exciting monsoon visit to Tadoba national park in 2009, when we were blessed with incredible tiger sightings and the bonus of a close encounter with a Sloth Bear - Tadoba is also now essentially shut during the monsoon.
So that means we can visit any month from October to June? No, there is much more to the Indian climate than that, and it is neccessary to have travelled to India every month of the year - as we at Wildlife Trails have since 1997 - to understand and give personal advice on key issues sich as temperature, personal comfort, lighting for your photographs, increase or decrease of wildlife encounters, overcrowding of tiger sanctuaries during major holidays and festivals, best time for birds (already covered in the previous blog), best time for tigers and other factors which will allow us to micro-manage your dream wildlife tour of India.
So lets start with best possible time for see multiple tigers in India. For photographers and wildlife enthusiasts with plenty of African safari experience it will come as no surprise that tiger encounters increase during the dry season (April to June). The simple equation of significantly reduced water bodies, reduced foliage and the need for both the tiger's prey and the tigers themselves to 'live, play and kill' close to these water holes produces the most high energy (only in spurts, due to the heat) and dramatic tiger photography of any time of the year. Many of our Wildlife Trails clients have observed tigers killing thirsty langurs, or spotted dear and even the usually alert Indian Jackals have fallen prey to the striped king; as a combination of excessive heat and thirst dulled their senses. However, this is also the time of year that the sun is at its strongest, the heat at its most fierce and however much tinkering you do with photoshop after your Indian tiger safari, you will still get that bleached look in your photos; unless your tiger sightings were at the very start or end of the day.
So we have a very different candidate for the best time to see tigers in India and that is the months of November to February. Surely the best time to visit this magnificent country, with unbelievable light on your morning and late afternoon safaris and a huge influx of migratory birds, bringing colour and sound to the parks. Everything in the tiger sanctuaries is still green and lush and food and water is plentiful for all wildlife. However with our focus on micro-managing all our bespoke tiger safaris in India, we would avoid the very busy Christmas period and possibly the early part of January, due to the very cold and sometimes foggy conditions which aflict the central Indian tiger sanctuaries, which can disrupt train and air services and impact on your photographic opportunities.
Finally, if this is going to be your dream tiger safari to India you really need to deepen your research and consider other factors which may impact your enjoyment and appreciation of this beautiful country and its wildlife. Of course, no wildlife holiday can be perfect, but consider avoiding travel to India during the hugely popular Diwali and Holi festivals in October/November and March respectively (2-3 days, exact dates vary year to year). Contact a company like Wildlife Trails who has personally reccied all of the tiger sanctuaries at different times of year and ensure that you visit India at the best time to see tigers for you!