There is nothing to beat the atmosphere change when spotting a tiger from up close in the wild. Irrespective of whether you get even a fleeting glimpse of the white flecks behind the ear of the majestic feline, the warning sounds of the jungle are enough to raise a few hairs.
Having said that, it is not an easy task to get close to a tiger in its natural habitat, but to give you the best chance, these ten prime tiger spots will give you a better shot at viewing one than anywhere else in the world.
Chitwan National Park, Nepal
The Chitwan National Park occupies a prime location in the Terai region, south of Kathmandu in Nepal. Apart from a healthy population of the one-horned rhino, Chitwan is home to a great number of Royal Bengal Tigers.
Tiger Safaris in Chitwan can be undertaken by elephant, jeep, and canoe in order to catch this elusive animal by surprise when patrolling its territory. Spread over 932 square kilometers, this is one of the best well-preserved tiger habitats in the world.
Tiger safari in Siberia
The remote forests of the Taiga region in far eastern Siberia are home to about 400 tigers that are among the rarest of rare cats in the world. A Siberian tiger safari is a unique and thrilling experience for those wildlife enthusiasts who can access these last remaining tough habitats.
Carefully crafted tiger safaris can be conducted in the Durminskoye Forest Reserve in the company of expert guides to allow you to get a glimpse of this elusive animal. For the best tracking, February is an excellent time to look for tigers as they are prone to wander out of the dense forest in search of food. The reserve is a two-hour drive from Khabarovsk, in southeast Russia.
Kanha National Park, India
Said to be the stomping ground of Mowgli, from the Jungle Book fame, Kanha National Park has a healthy population of the Royal Bengal Tigers. A safari in an open vehicle along the vast meadows of Kanha provide ample opportunities to spot the big cat.
The best time to visit Kanha is between the months of November and June when the tigers frequent the waterholes and makes it comfortable to sight these animals cooling themselves in the water.
Corbett National Park, India
The first and oldest National Park to be established in India and named after the legendary British hunter, Jim Corbett, this tiger reserve is spread over an area of 2241 square kilometers in the state of Uttarakhand in North India.
Corbett national park happens to be one of the few parks where visitors can stay deep inside the park which allows for quick and easy accessibility in case there is a sighting. Rich in biodiversity, Corbett is a great birding spot and nearly 500 plant species as well. The Ramganga river which flows through the park and the landscape characterized by a chain of hills form a spectacular background to the vast grasslands of Corbett.
Tadoba National Park, India
Another great place for a tiger safari is in Tadoba National Park in Central India. Visitors are allowed safaris in core areas of the park, near Tadoba lake, which is a favourite haunt of tigers, especially during the summer months.
Apart from the tiger, Tadoba is home to other mammals such as leopard, sloth bear, Indian bison, four horned antelope among others.
Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Bhutan
The Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is fast becoming a prominent place for tiger safaris in the kingdom of Bhutan. This is primarily because of its remote location in a vastly untouched human environment.
Tigers here are a bit difficult to spot, but spending a few days here can provide the best chances to see this elusive animal, providing your guide is well informed and trained to navigate in the tough terrain.
Bandhavgarh National Park, India
The world famous Bandhavgarh National Park is located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, in central India. Established in 1968, the park is said to have the highest density of tigers in the world.
Spread over the Vindhya mountains, Bandhavgarh’s varied topography and undulating forests makes a tiger safari here a magical experience. There are different zones in the park where visitors can enjoy a safari during morning and evening.
Satpura National Park, India
Nestled in the lap of the Satpura mountain range, this is another good place to spot tigers in the wild, though the park does not find mention in most travel brochures. Apart from the tiger, Satpura is the best place to see the Asian wild dog, or dhole.
Wildlife lovers can opt for game drives or canoe safaris on the Tawa reservoir. This is also one of the few National Parks in India where you can go for a walking safari for a unique wildlife experience. This 1200 square kilometres park has an estimated fifty tigers in this amazing and beautiful sanctuary.
Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, India
Sharing its borders with Bangladesh, the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is the largest mangrove forest in the world and has a population of nearly 500 tigers. This harsh terrain which is almost all under water during high tide, makes tiger spotting difficult in this park.
A safari in this landscape of tangled roots and branches is best done by boat and is a thrilling experience in itself. You may not be lucky enough to spot a tiger, but what you surely see are crocodiles and the rare Irrawaddy dolphin. The Sunderbans cover an area of over 10,000 sq km in the deltas of the three largest rivers of Asia namely, Brahmaputra, Meghna and the Ganges.
Kerinci Seblat National Park, Indonesia
With fewer than 200 individuals in the wild the Kerinci Seblat National Park is the last surviving habitat of the extremely endangered Sumatran Tiger. Other fascinating species to be found here are the clouded leopard, Sumatran rhinoceros, the Malay bear and the Malay tapir.
Tiger safaris can be enjoyed from the main entrance of the park at Sungai Penuh accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. There are over 200 bird species to be found here, apart from 4000 different plants.
Tiger watching, no matter in which part of the world, has an element of thrill and adventure attached to it. The locations chosen above, have all been carefully handpicked to provide the ultimate big cat photography and viewing excitement in all types of environments around the world. No other animal gets the pulse racing quite like coming across a tiger in the wild. So what are you waiting for? Ge set to embark on a trip of a lifetime.