Asia’s Big Cats
From stunning tigers to enigmatic snow leopards, Asia is home to some of the world’s most spectacular big cats.
Encounter Asia’s Big Cats on Safari
While the tiger may steal the limelight and be at the top of many a wildlife bucket list there are plenty of other rare and threatened species to discover in Asia. The world’s largest continent, Asia is home to a rich diversity of wildlife as varied and fascinating as its many cultures and landscapes.
Compared to African safaris, wildlife viewing in Asia presents more of a challenge in terms of patience and tracking skills. However, the extra effort is absolutely worth it when you consider the rewards. And with an experienced guide, meaningful big cat encounters are likely to come your way.
Tigers, leopards and snow leopards live in a diverse range of Asian habitats, stretching from ancient granite rocks to awesome mountain ranges perennially covered in snow. Our skill and local knowledge means you’ll leave Asia with plenty of unforgettable memories.
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- Tiger safaris in wild Rajasthan
- Tracking leopard on the rocky outcrops of Rajasthan
- Spot snow leopards in the mountains of Ladakh
Highlights of Big Cat Safaris
Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.
BEST TIME TO SEE BIG CATS IN ASIA
Avoid the monsoon season in big cat countries like India, Sri Lanka and Nepal by planning your safari between October and April.
As well as more pleasant weather conditions for exploring in, sticking to the dry season means prey is forced to congregate around the limited water sources in the parks. And when there’s prey, tigers and leopards won’t be far either.
The mid-winter months from January to March are the best time to see snow leopards high in the mountains of Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas.
This is because prey such as bharal (blue sheep) descend from the highest peaks to warmer valleys when the snow starts to melt, followed by hungry snow leopards. The big cat’s concentration in smaller, almost snow-free elevations gives guides and trackers much better access to search for the elusive cat.
Days are extremely cold while nighttime temperatures can drop below -25°C. You’ll usually stay in a small lodge or village house to keep warm at night, and we will give you a suggested list of items to take and wear on your trip.
BEST TIME TO SEE BIG CATS IN ASIA
Top Parks & Areas To See Big Cats
- Strike out on a walking safari
- Enjoy a traditional safari experience
- Take in the rugged hills of Satpura
- Combine Satpura with Tadoba for tiger fix
- One of the best for tiger safaris
- Ornithologist’s paradise
- Once private hunting gounds of the maharajas of Jaipur
- Visit India’s largest tiger reserve
- Inspiration for Kipling’s Jungle Book
- Gorgeous mix of river valleys and rocky escarpments
- Lovely small owner run lodges
- Home to Tadoba Tiger Reserve
- Traditional safari experience
- Naturalist heaven: butterflies to big cats
- Spot wild Asian elephants
- Unspoilt rich forest
- Leopard and sloth bear safari
- Stay in a jungle camp
- Rustic, simple and vast open spaces
- Head to the mountains in search of the snow leopard
- Stay in gorgeous villages houses
- Strike out with a luxury mobile camp
- Walking with elephants in the jungle
- Good populations of rhino, sloth bear and wild boar
- Explore the park on foot, by boat or on elephant back
- Track tiger in the sal forests of the Terai Lowlands
- Forts, festivals, tigers and the Taj Mahal
- Explore ancient royal palaces and grand fortresses
- Discover vast deserts and luxurious camps
- Tigers, birds and wildlife in protected sanctuaries
“And then there was the small matter of the snow leopard, whose terrible beauty is the very stuff of human longing. Its uncompromising yellow eyes, wired into the depths of its unfathomable spirit, gaze out from the cover of innumerable editions. It is, i think, the animal i would most like to be eaten by.– PETER MATTHIESSEN
Our Favourite Camps & Lodges
Shergarh is small tented camp not far from Kanha’s Mukki Gate owned and run by experienced naturalist Jehan and his English wife, Katie.Learn More
This small luxury tented camp at Pench National Park opened in 2014 and went straight on to Conde Nast’s Hot List.Learn More
Reni Pani is a small lodge is superb for wildlife enthusiasts and avid conservationists. Located in the buffer zone of Satpura Tiger Reserve.Learn More
Surrounded by miles of desert scrub this glorious tented camp is a marvellous place to experience desert life in absolute comfort.Learn More
A 1920’s style safari camp dedicated to conservation. A stay at Sher Bagh will always be one of comfort; it’s a great place to simply relax and enjoy the countryside.Learn More
Situated in Chitwan’s buffer zone near the Rapti river, Tharu Lodge is owned and managed by the famous Tiger Tops group who set up the first camp in the jungle.Learn More
The accommodation at Karnali Lodge is fairly simple but what you will find here is some great staff who will arrange a personalised wildlife programme.Learn More
The wildlife experiences will be tailored to suit you but, if at any time you want to dip out of safaris, this is the perfect place to simply relax.Learn More
If you like your accommodation secluded, natural, rustic and quirky you will love Tree House Hideaway. All the tree houses have been made by local staff.Learn More
The more elusive, the bigger the reward
The big cat species in Asia are rare, threatened, and can be incredibly hard to spot without the right guidance.
Catching a glimpse of a tiger, leopard or snow leopard is all the more exciting considering that these creatures are champions of camouflage and painfully shy. Have patience, and the safari rewards will be better than you ever dreamed.
Track majestic tigers
Few experiences are as exhilarating as tracking tigers in their natural habitat. A sighting of this powerful beast is sure to be something that will stay with you forever.
Tigers have been through incredibly hard times, with numbers dropping by more that 95% since the beginning of the 20th century. But for the first time in conservation history, the numbers are slowly starting to go in the right direction. Choosing intelligently guided safaris and small camps run by passionate conservationists gets you away from the crowds and gives you the best possible tiger safari.
Encounter Indian leopards
Stealthy and agile, the Indian leopard often shares its territory with tigers but is more widely spread, perhaps due to its ability to adapt to a variety of habitats.
In Satpura and Rajasthan, leopards make their home among giant rocky outcrops. While they can run at over 50km per hour and jump up to 3m feet high, you’re most likely to see one stretched out on sun-warmed rocks, or perhaps even a mother playing with her cubs in the golden light of late afternoon.
Spot Himalayan snow leopards
Of all the world’s wild cats, the snow leopard must be the most enigmatic. It’s known as the Ghost of the Himalaya as a result of its solitary nature, and also renowned for its stunning beauty.
Found only in the remote mountainous areas of Central Asia, the snow leopard is one of the most endangered species on earth. Tracking them can be tricky, but with the help of our expert guides, the mountains in the former Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh are one of the best places in the world to see them.
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