Although no two days are ever the same while on safari in India there is a reassuring rhythm to park life. There are no camps or lodges actually within India’s national parks and you enter and exit them within defined times, generally sunrise and sunset. Morning and/or afternoon ‘game drives’ are arranged for you, a list of names submitted to the park authorities and zones or basic routes are allotted by them to disperse vehicles throughout the reserve.
Your early morning wake-up call usually comes with a welcome cup of ‘bed tea’ (or coffee) delivered to your door in the cold of dawn. Once dressed in plenty of layers of clothing it’s time to meet your naturalist and take your open jeep safari the jungle in search of tiger and other wildlife. As the sun rises, at the park entry gate you will be joined by a mandatory Forest Department guide who will help to spot wildlife, keep you safe and make sure you obey the rules. To limit vehicle numbers sometimes only shared jeeps are permitted entry into the parks.
When the time is right you will stop for a picnic breakfast – and peel off a few layers of clothing – before seeking out more wildlife viewing opportunities up until midday. Over the next few hours back at camp there’s time for a light lunch, to freshen up and a take nap, do some bird watching or explore the area around your camp on foot.
In the late afternoon there’s the chance to return by jeep to the park until sunset. As darkness falls oil lamps light the way home and it’s soon time for drinks and stories of the day’s events around the camp fire before dinner and finally retiring early to bed.
Posted by: Andrea Hulme