How to plan your Indian Wildlife Safari during Monsoon (Rainy Season)?
This article talks about how to plan your Indian wildlife safari during monsoon with clear details. Which are open, where, when and how to plan.
The monsoon season runs usually from mid-June until mid to end of September with being very heavy downpours during August. All of the North Indian and Central Indian parks will be shut with a very few partially open and this starts from July 1st and lasts until September end.
This is done mainly as most of the safari roads are mud roads and makes it tough for these safari gypsies to navigate those wet mud roads because of slush. Another reason given is that it’s breeding time for tigers which doesn’t seem right. Whatever the reason is, all of these parks are shut (except a few buffer zones which are partially open) from July 1 until September end.
Unfortunately, it’s the summer holidays time for people who are studying in international syllabus in India, holidays for schools in certain parts of india and also holidays in all of the Western World and for all these people not able to visit a national park, not get to see a Tiger or a leopard or even elephants is really disheartening.
Which Parks are open in Monsoon?
Fortunately, there are very popular parks in the south which are open round the year including during the monsoon period!! I am listing them below in the order of popularity
Nagarhole Kabini – Approx 240 kms south of Bangalore [takes approx 5 hours] & 70 kms south of Mysore [Approx. 1 hour] and good roads. Famous for big cats – tigers, leopards, and also known for its black panther sightings. Also elephants, dholes (wild dogs), sloth bears, all kinds of deer, mongoose, etc
Bandipur – approx 230 kms south of Bangalore [takes approx 5 hours] & 70 kms south of Mysore [Approx. 1 hour] and good roads.. Again famous for big cats – tigers, leopards. Also elephants, dholes (wild dogs), sloth bears, all kinds of deer, mongoose, etc. This is, in fact, adjacent to Kabini.
Nagarhole Coorg – the same Nagarhole park but it’s the northern part while the southern part is called Kabini. It’s approx the same distance from Bangalore [240 kms] or Mysore [70 kms], and roads are good. Get to see the same kinds of animals and birds as in say, Kabini or Bandipur [sans the Black Panther]. They are tigers, leopards. Also elephants, dholes (wild dogs), sloth bears, all kinds of deer, mongoose, etc.
Bhadra is approx 280 kms north-west of Bangalore (approx. 4.5 hours) and very good roads. Bhadra park is a dense forest on the river Bhadra and is a mixture of deciduous and evergreen forests. Bhadra has a similar kind of animals mainly tigers, leopards. Also elephants, dholes (wild dogs), sloth bears, all kinds of deer, mongoose, etc. But it is famous for lots of different kinds of birds and mainly river terns
BR Hills or what is called Biligiri Ranga Hills Tiger Reserve. This is approx 200 kms south of Bangalore (4 hours drive) and approx. 90 kms from Mysore. Similar kind of animals and birds you get to see here, tigers, leopards. Also elephants, dholes (wild dogs), sloth bears, all kinds of deer, mongoose, etc.
Why should I do a safari when it rains?
Most people prefer doing a safari in the dry season and mostly summer as sightings are good which is true but their assumptions about sightings during monsoon is entirely wrong.
- Monsoon doesn’t mean that it rains here in south Indian parks 24 hours a day but mostly in the afternoons and late evenings or early mornings but safari happens from 6 am to 9 am and 3 pm until 6 pm and chances are that it might not rain during those times and actually animals get out to get that sunshine during these hours
- Also, big cats (tigers, leopards) come out more often than not, to mark their territories as rain washes out their urine smell which is used for territory marking.
- Also, due to long grass, you will see more big cats come out to open and walk on the roads which are an amazing experience to follow them on the roads as well as to photograph
- Also, the best time to photograph animals, especially big cats with the lush green background which you don’t get during the dry season.
- If you are behind elephants, monsoon is the best season as they love to wet soak in the rains and you will see them all around happy and cheerful
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