Your suggestions for first timers in Forests/ National Parks

Shantanu Roy

Well-Known Member
Dear All

I have been fortunate enough to visit some great National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries/Tiger reserves of our country for the last few years. And always been mesmerized by the beauty of nature with occasional blessings in the form of sighting of fauna (that includes insects, to Big Cats to Elephants and so on) , avifauna and the Flora of course . The sounds of forests kept generating splendor in me and the fragrance of Mother Nature has been filling my heart whenever I am close to her.

Surprisingly, as a tourist to these places I also come across fellow tourists who are utterly disgusted with their forest experience (mostly first timers to forests). I am giving some examples through some reviews posted by tourists as I came across in some travel forums:-

A review on Kanha

Spent 4 days here in March 2013, going on 7 game drives (4 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, there was no game drives on wednesday afternoons). Our group went in 4 jeeps. No one in our group saw a tiger (ie. thus 0 tiger sightings out of 28 drives). We did see a sloth bear and a leopard. Those planning on coming should also be aware that at this time there are no "tiger shows" (in the past this was considered the best way to see a tiger however these have been eliminated at this time). So if you are looking to see a tiger in the wild, be aware that the chances of seeing one in Kanha are quite low. Good luck!

(This person probably has no idea that how rare is a leopard or sloth bear sighting in wild and how lucky he is.)

Another one

Seeing a Tiger is on my bucket list. And unfortunately after 3.5 days in Kanha, it is still on my bucket list. First, getting to Kanha from any of the nearest airports is ABSOLUTELY a headache. The roads (I use that term loosely) are in terrible condition and most are one lane dirt roads. We even crossed through a couple of streams/shallow rivers. If the Indian government wants more tourism, improving the roads or building a small airstrip nearby should be at the top of the list.
The naturalists/guides are just okay and a little difficult to understand. You are not allowed to go off road at all and are not allowed to use your mobile phone camera. Huh? The only way you will see a tiger is if it walks across the road in front of your jeep.


The last line is too good. God knows what else does this tourist want from the tiger. May be an item number or something???

One from Ranthambhore

The fact that our guide in the jeep had no gun should have told me that we unlikely to see a tiger!
The sheer number of jeeps and lorry/buses going up and down the well worn tracks would put any form of wildlife form showing its face - in fact we saw more entertaining things on the journey from our hotel through the town to the reserve.
I don't know of anyone who saw a tiger!!! You are better off going to Whipsnade Zoo or Woburn Safari park in the UK!


One more from RTR

Roads, connectivity is not good if you are travelling from jaipur.
We got route number 10, forget a tiger we could not locate any animal.
Very disappointing experience.



I can go on with examples like this but in most of the cases it’s us- the tourists, who ruins our own and sometimes each other’s experiences.

For example-you never know - the place where you are waiting for a sighting, may have had another tourist five minute earlier who was discussing his business loudly over his cell phone and thus have driven away all fauna from that area(I specially had this experience in Dooars, West Bengal).

However I strongly feel -with little bit of guidance and education from the experienced nature lovers of this forum, the newbies/first timers to national parks and sanctuaries will be able to do justice to their own and other fellow tourist’s experiences in the parks.

I would hence request all to please add to the list of Dos and Don’ts in the forests. In doing so, may I also request you to kindly also remember the aspects of ecology , conservation legality and ethics as well.

Here are few additions from my side:

1. Do wear clothes of color shades close to naturals.

2. Don’t litter the forest with your snack packets(specially plastic)

3. Don’t talk much. Do listen more.

4. Do talk in a low voice if needed.

5. Don’t wear strong perfumes.




Waiting for other nature lovers to kindly add on to the list….

Thanks

Shantanu Roy
 
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HighwayRanger

Well-Known Member
Thank you sir...will wait for your suggestions also.:)
I have been on safari only twice. Most of our drives are through public roads in the forests.

But with my limited experience, I agree with you. On one safari (Bandipur), we luckily got the seats next to the driver. It was a mini bus/van. There were some families, a couple on honeymoon (who were not interested in even looking outside) and a group of men who were talking about how in some other place they have seen this and that.
When my wife or I spot a bird, we tell the driver to stop and we take pictures. The others were impatient and asked the driver why he is stopping. They were giving us strange looks. As if we were delaying their trip. It was as if they thought that the driver will drive them straight to a place where tigers are assembled for them. They were not interested in anything else. Sad.
 

mousourik

Who Am I
Despite being a Bengali, in all of our three visits to the core areas of the forests, we had very bad experience of Bengali tourists - perhaps because this is the community that travel a lot, that too with poor knowledge of jungle etiquette. Unfortunately, these people will perhaps never educate themselves by going through such discussions.

They expect the jungles to be the same as the zoo minus the cage. And they pay more on visiting such areas than a zoo. Naturally, they have every right to complaint if wild animals don't stand in a queue. At Manas NP, a group of young Bengalis (having some girls in the group) wondered that they went there to enjoy vacation - so why wouldn't they enjoy a loud round of football or cricket?

If a hefty fine is not imposed on spot for such behaviour, this is never going to stop.
 

Shantanu Roy

Well-Known Member
I have been on safari only twice. Most of our drives are through public roads in the forests.

But with my limited experience, I agree with you. On one safari (Bandipur), we luckily got the seats next to the driver. It was a mini bus/van. There were some families, a couple on honeymoon (who were not interested in even looking outside) and a group of men who were talking about how in some other place they have seen this and that.
When my wife or I spot a bird, we tell the driver to stop and we take pictures. The others were impatient and asked the driver why he is stopping. They were giving us strange looks. As if we were delaying their trip. It was as if they thought that the driver will drive them straight to a place where tigers are assembled for them. They were not interested in anything else. Sad.
@HighwayRanger
Peter Sir,
I have experienced these kind of nasty looks several times.
For these cases I would request the tourists to land up in a place where you know what to expect. Before coming to a forest please ask yourself whether you really want to feel the forest or something else is your priority. In the later case we should refrain from going to such places and if by accident we are there, the best we can do is to show some patience and tolerance towards the fellow travelers who are there to feel the forest with all there senses.

So from the above we can get the following suggestions for the first timers :
  • Before you land up there, study little about the park you are visiting and have some idea about what you are getting into.
  • Be patient and tolerant about fellow tourists who wants to spend an extra minute to feel the nature, or get a special frame.
Regards

Shantanu Roy
 

adsatinder

explorer
How to make noisy tourists to alert tourists ?
Just show them clip on mobile that Tiger can attack them if they do so.
No Joke !

Tiger Attacking Video on Safari Jeep:


Attack on Elephant Riders:

Bikers trapped:
 
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Shantanu Roy

Well-Known Member
Despite being a Bengali, in all of our three visits to the core areas of the forests, we had very bad experience of Bengali tourists - perhaps because this is the community that travel a lot, that too with poor knowledge of jungle etiquette. Unfortunately, these people will perhaps never educate themselves by going through such discussions.

They expect the jungles to be the same as the zoo minus the cage. And they pay more on visiting such areas than a zoo. Naturally, they have every right to complaint if wild animals don't stand in a queue. At Manas NP, a group of young Bengalis (having some girls in the group) wondered that they went there to enjoy vacation - so why wouldn't they enjoy a loud round of football or cricket?

If a hefty fine is not imposed on spot for such behaviour, this is never going to stop.
@mousourik
Dear Soumitra da
My experience in the forests of eastern India is not much different from that of yours.But I strongly believe that with the right kind of education to these picnic parties,we can make the forests a better place for the people who love nature.
My objective of creating this thread is to create a repertoire of educational guidelines to first timers , so that they do it right the first time and then every time.
I would hence request your valued input in the form of bullet point suggestions to newbies or not so frequent foresters to make the situation better.

Regards
Shantanu Roy
 
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DKay

Super User
Poor people, I can imagine them coming with very high expectations but when they fail to spot a tiger they end up being disappointed. A true nature lover would end up enjoying the sounds and the sights of other animals and birds even if they dont see a tiger.

Not sure about the other Tiger reserves, but yes, Ranthambhore can be a harrowing experience for most. First, the safari booking isnt easy, you always pay a premium. Second, even though you may sight a tiger but you would end up jostling for space if you are in one of the prime zones like no3. Its literally a circus out there. Third and not the last, once your guide has shown you the tiger, he will literally beg you for a tip, never a nice feeling that is.

But still, a lot of the regulars keep coming back to Ranthambhore because its a beautifull place and the chances of sighting a tiger are very high. The legendary GD Sir, when he visited Ranthambhore for the first time, did almost 10 back to back safari's in almost all the zones, but he had no tiger sightings. Because he was a true nature lover, he kept coming back and later on had an awesome sightings and many tales to tell.

Now, my suggestion to first timers will be as follows

1. Go with the mindset of enjoying the nature and not just for watching a tiger. If you see a tiger, consider that as a bonus.

2. Its usually a 3.5 hrs safari in most of the parks. What we usually do is, first we run through the entire allocated zone at a brisk speed and then later slowly cover the whole zone looking around. So my suggestion will be, dont let your driver stop at a place for long, tell him to keep moving and keep looking. Most amazing things in the jungle happen when totally unexpected.

3. The following formula for tiger sighting mostly works for us. For afternoon safari, try and book a zone where the tiger has been spotted in the morning. This is because, during the day, the tiger would most probably plonk itself at one place and not move till late in the evening, when its cooler.

4. Extreme weather, especially in Rajasthan can be a killer in the jungle. Keep yourself adequately covered during winters and adequately hydrated in summers.

5. Always have a camera with you, the bigger the zoom, the better it is. ALWAYS have your camera ready, as mentioned earlier, most interesting things will happen when you do not expect them at all.

Will keep on adding if I think of anymore. Till then, happy sightings!!
 

Shantanu Roy

Well-Known Member
How to make noisy tourists to alert tourists ?
Just show them clip on mobile that Tiger can attack them if they do so.
No Joke !

Tiger Attacking Video on Safari Jeep:

Ha ha :lol:Satinder sir ....that would be really helpful I guess.
In line with the requirement of the thread , may I then include the following point to my list?
  • Do watch some wildlife encounter videos:shock:, specially of that park (where you are going) if available, to get some idea on what may happen during your Safari if you do not act sensibly .
 
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