8 Best Wildlife Safaris To Explore In India This Monsoon

Monsoons seem incomplete without engaging in adventures. Perfect for activities like trekking and water sports, the rainy season sets the mood for exploring the country’s diverse wildlife.

So, here’s a list of some of the best wildlife safaris you can take across the country.

1. Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka

Black panther and leopard at Kabini forest reserve.
A back panther and a leopard spotted at Kabini forest reserve. | Photo Credits: Shaaz Jung ( @shaazjung on Instagram)

The Nagarhole National Park offers an unforgettable experience for wildlife enthusiasts. Also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, the wildlife reserve sprawling over an area of 247 square miles is located between the Mysore plateau in Karnataka and the Nilgiri Mountains of Tamil Nadu. The Kabini river that flows close to the park, along with a wide variety of flora and fauna makes it a sought-after destination for wildlife lovers and photographers.

The national park is best known for spotting the majestic Bengal tigers and Asiatic elephants. Other animals like leopards, sloth bears, hyenas, wild gaurs, sambar deers, and so on along with a plethora of birds make it a paradise for bird watchers as well.

Canter safaris are conducted by the Forest Department twice daily for visitors, between 6 am and 6 pm.

Safari duration: 2 hours

Ticket price: Rs 250 to Rs 300

Photo Credits: Shaaz Jung ( @shaazjung on Instagram)

2. Bandipur National Park, Karnataka

Set amidst the picturesque mountains of the Western Ghats, the Bandipur National Park is located along the Mysore-Ooty highway in the Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. The national park which extends to an area of 872.24 sq km, shares its boundaries with three other national parks namely the Nagarahole National Park, Kerala’s Wildlife Sanctuary, and Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, to form an essential part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

Visitors can witness tigers and Asiatic elephants living in their natural habitats as well as several other endangered species of animals such as sloth bears, gaurs, Indian rock pythons, jackals, muggers, four-horned antelopes, etc. Both van and jeep safaris are available at the national park between 6 am to 6 pm.

Safari duration: 45 mins (bus safari), 2 to 3 hours (jeep safari)

Ticket price: Rs 350 per person for bus safari, Rs 3,000 per jeep

3. Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Karnataka

Sloth bears at Daroji Slothe Bear Sanctuary, Karnataka.
Sloth bears at Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Karnataka. Photo credits: Vikas SK (@i__am_vikas on Instagram)

Situated near the historic ruins of the Hampi, the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary was set up for the protection and conservation of the Indian sloth bears which are abundantly seen in the area. Located in the Ballari district of Karnataka, this unique sanctuary is spread over an area of 82.7 square km.

The rocky hillocks and thorny scrub forest of the sanctuary are not just home to the sloth bears, but also several other species of animals such as leopards, wild boars, pangolins, mongoose, hyenas, porcupines, and so on. Besides, there are around 100 species of birds and butterflies.

As the sloth bears are nocturnal animals, the sanctuary is open only from 4 pm to 6 pm. The sanctuary has a watch tower from where visitors can witness the free-roaming bears and animals. Also, there are safaris and guided tours available.

Safari duration: 2 hours

Ticket price: Rs 50 per person

Photo credits: Vikas SK (@i__am_vikas on Instagram)

4. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the northern part of Goa near Valpoi, shelters a long list of both rare and common species of animals ranging from the black panthers to Indian venomous snakes. Spread over a vast area of 208 sq km, the sanctuary was established in 1999 to protect the Bengal tigers in the area.

The semi-green and evergreen forests of the area also house several other species of wild animals like sloth bears, Indian gaurs, barking deers, sambar deers, leopards, ruddy mongoose, Asian palm civet, small Indian civet, jungle cats, mouse deer, wild boar, Indian hare, giant squirrel, flying squirrel, tigers, etc. Besides the sanctuary has several species of insects, plants, and birds.

One of the least-explored sanctuaries in India, the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is best visited during the monsoon months as there are several activities like white water rafting at the Mhadei river, trekking, and rock climbing to partake in. The sanctuary can be visited during the daytime and can also get help from professional guides.

Tour duration: 2 hours

Ticket price: Free

5. Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Glimpse of a bear at Ranthambore National Park
Glimpse of a bear at Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan | Photo credits: Aarzoo Khurana ( @aarzoo_khurana on Instagram)

Located near the city of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, the Ranthambore National Park is one of the prominent locations for wildlife tourism in the country. Noted for its solid tiger population, this national park is considered one of the ideal destinations for spotting and observing the majestic predator in its natural habitat.

The national park along with the Ranthambore fort and surrounding hills and valleys creates the perfect scenery for visitors. Other than the big cats, the park is also home to several different animals like leopards, striped hyenas, sambar deer, chital (Spotted deer), nilgai, gray langur, and crocodile.

Partially open during the monsoons, it also has safari facilities. The 6,7,8,9 and 10 zones of the park remain open throughout the year and include three tiger territories.

Safari duration: 3.5 hours

Ticket price: 1,700 per person

Photo credits: Aarzoo Khurana ( @aarzoo_khurana on Instagram)

6. Periyar National Park, Kerala

Spread across an area of 777 sq. km, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary in Thekkady, Kerala is known for being rich in biodiversity and stunning scenic beauty.

One of the most protected areas for tigers and elephants, this wildlife sanctuary is nestled in the mighty ranges of the Western Ghats and houses an exquisite collection of flora and fauna. A picturesque lake right in the middle of the sanctuary and the tropical evergreen forests covering the beautiful valleys of Periyar makes it a perfect destination for nature lovers.

Other than tigers and elephants several other species like sambar deers, gaurs, mouse deer, barking deer, Indian wild dogs, etc, and several bird species like darters, cormorant, kingfisher, the great Malabar hornbill and so on can also be spotted in the area. The visitors can enjoy the wilderness at the national park by taking a jeep safari, elephant safari, or by going for boat cruises on the lake.

Safari duration: From 5.30 am to 3.30 pm (Full day safari)

Ticket price: Rs 2,500/person (up to six people in a jeep).

7. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

A baby elephants at Jim Corbett National Park.
A baby elephants at Jim Corbett National Park | Photo credits: Aarzoo Khurana ( @aarzoo_khurana on Instagram)

Situated in the picturesque valley of Uttarakhand, the Jim Corbett National Park established in 1936, is India’s first tiger reserve. Named after the legendary naturalist and conservationist Jim Corbett, this wildlife sanctuary is set in the Himalayan foothills near Nainital.

Spread over an area of 1318.54 sq km, the park was established for the protection and conservation of Bengal tigers. Other animals like langurs, sloth bears, Asiatic black bears, Indian grey mongooses, jungle cats, elephants, wild boars, and different species of deer are also spotted in the region. Besides more than 600 bird species have been identified in the sanctuary.

Jeep and canter safaris are available for five different zones of the park.

Safari duration: 3.5 hours

Ticket price: Rs 5,000 per jeep (maximum 6 persons and 2 children between the age 5 to 12 years are allowed in one jeep)

Photo credits: Aarzoo Khurana ( @aarzoo_khurana on Instagram)

8. Tadoba National Park, Maharashtra

Tadoba National Park, also known as the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is situated in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. Established in 1955, the national park is spread over an area of 625.4 sq km and is divided into three separate forest ranges rich in flora and fauna.

An absolute haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts, the sanctuary is filled with thickets of teak and bamboo, rugged cliffs, marshlands, and lakes making it a haven for animals. Home to tigers, the park is also inhabited by other species like panthers, sloth bears, hyenas, jackals, deer, bison, and so on. It is also inhabited by a variety of reptiles including marsh crocodiles and the endangered Indian pythons. There are also hundreds of species of birds and butterflies ensuring an unmatched wildlife experience.

One can take jeep safaris that are available at the sanctuary.

Safari duration: 4 hours

Ticket price: Rs 5,500 per jeep (maximum 6 persons are allowed in one jeep)

Sources:

Periyar Tiger Reserve by Kerala Tourism.

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary by Thrillophilia.

Bandipur National Park by Thrillophilia.

Nagarahole Nationak Park by Karnataka Tourism.

Corbett National Park by Uttarakhand Tourism.

Edited by Yoshita Rao

Author: Aaron Ryan