Jungle safari – Bandipur Tiger Reserve

Sitting by the first window of the ‘canter‘ my eyes were continuously scanning the jungle through the windshield in front of me and the window on my left, looking for any signs of the elusive big cat which had been supposedly sighted in the area the same morning. Except for random glances out of the side-window towards the sparsely vegetated hillocks far away, which hardly made me feel I was in a ‘tiger reserve’, my eyes have been fixed right ahead for quite sometime now with no luck.

wild boars in bandipur forest

Wild boars grazing

Apart from crossing a few playful squeakers and their busy parents we were yet to come across any wildlife when suddenly, the sleepy driver hit the brake hard and pointed to his right.

Two peacocks!

Presumably a mother – child duo, enjoying the early morning sun. Confused about whether to click them or just watch them in their own backyard, by the time I finally pointed my camera in the right direction, the younger one had already escaped in the bushes and the other one was on its way. All thanks to the cacophonous lot present in our bus. Old and young alike, they got so excited even before they actually saw the peacocks that had it been an open vehicle like a jeep and not a bus they could easily have thrown themselves out of the vehicle.

peacocks bandipur tiger reserve

One of the two peacocks

Ten minutes or so into the safari and the jungle finally started to get thicker and greener. The joyful chirping of birds complimented it perfectly. As we went deeper and deeper into the jungle the air seemed to feel more fresh and the surroundings more calm, the calmness only broken by the occasional Chital’s call from somewhere deep within the jungle my sight could not  take me to.

Deep and green forests of Bandipur tiger reserve

Deep and green forests of Bandipur

Negotiating muddy trails between low-hanging canopies we went from one part of the forest to another and this being my first ever jungle safari, I was enjoying everything about it. Jungle safari in Bandipur tiger reserve had been in the cards since long and I was happy that finally the lazy me made it here.

Some more driving through the ups and down of the trail and while on our way to one of the many waterholes in search of the big cat or at-least any sign of it, the sleepy driver again stopped the vehicle abruptly and slowly raised his hands to his right.

A herd of Chitals and their fawns!

The group was lazing around carelessly until people in our bus again decided to get noisy and over-excited ultimately scaring away the poor souls into the jungle.

A herd of Chitals in bandipur

A herd of Chitals

It had been almost an hour since we started and we were almost done with the safari, taking the trail back towards the main gate of the park when our dear driver stopped the vehicle yet again and this time pointed to the left. In a flash everyone again jumped up from their seats and to the left side windows.

safari trails bandipur

Safari trail

A herd of Gaurs, the Indian bison!

Thankfully this lot was significantly away from our vehicle so the shouting and excitement did not scare them away unlike the previous encounters.

Herd of Gaurs in bandipur forest

A herd of Gaurs

At the end of it even though most of the people in the bus seemed unhappy or at-least not satisfied, probably because they could not see the tiger they wanted to, I for one was just fine with it because I had not come here just to ‘see’ the big cat in the first place. I had come to see how the jungle looks and feels from the inside, to see the inhabitants of the jungle in their natural home and doing their own thing, which I did. So I was perfectly fine (even though I surely would have loved the safari continued for a little longer). And about seeing the big cat?

Well this was just my first safari 😉 .

Key takeaways:

**You can book safari tickets online from the official website (http://www.bandipurtigerreserve.in/) for Rs.300/- (for the bus).
**If you are staying in one of their jungle lodges, the safari tickets would cost you Rs.100/- (for the bus).
**The buses twin seat buses which means what you get to see depends on whether or not you get the window seat.
**If possible, it’s always better to stay overnight in one of the resorts in order to experience rather than going just for the safari.

Have you been to a jungle safari in Bandipur or in any other national park? What did you like the most about it?

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25 thoughts on “Jungle safari – Bandipur Tiger Reserve

  1. I like the lush green fields of your photos 🙂 Do they not have the gypsy jeeps? Before I booked my safari excursions at Ranthambhore, my former colleague from Delhi strongly advised against the canter because passengers can get really loud inside and due to the larger size of the vehicle, I would not have had the opportunity to go on some trails as easily as as the gypsy jeeps to spot some tigers. Cheers.

    • Thanks Kat!

      They did have gypsys Kat but it being an weekend, none were available. However, I never knew that even on a safari-bus, the people can get so loud.

      In all probability, this is only true for us Indians.

      Ranthambore and Kanha are on of the best forest reserves in India according to me, the best for wild-life spotting.


    • Bandhav Gargh, the name itself sounds very intriguing 😉

      I so want to experience the haunted fort there. Hopefully will do both of them, sometime soon.

      By the way, luck has a lot to do when it comes to tiger-sighting according to me. To give you an example, I know people who have done multiple safaris in a day and have not spotted any of it and on the other hand, people have come across the big cats unexpectedly and up close. A friend last week was riding through the bandipur reserve when a tiger suddenly comes out of the jungle, crosses the road leisurely and vanishes in the other side.

      Ankur bhai, if you are thinking about Bandhavgarh in the coming months, do let me know.


  2. I went to the Kabini River Lodge last month, but because of this experience I now know that I don’t like Safari’s at all. Our package had both boat safari and jeep safari. It was very difficult for me to sit though the whole safari and would doze off for a few minutes here and there.

    Though, I loved the greenery around the place and roaming around the resort, which tells me that I love peace and green is my favorite color. I, any day, would love to go back and relax in these jungle resort. Sitting by the river banks, lying around on the hammocks under the trees, bon fires etcetera etcetera etcetera.

    We weren’t lucky enough to see a tiger, though, one of the jeeps which left 10 mins later to us was able to see one. It was the only citing of the whole day. And I’m not at all patient enough to do it.

    I would also like to take trips around bangalore more frequently and your page has a lot of destinations which I can target…… 🙂

    • Thanks Harish!

      As I mentioned, to me, sighting the tiger is pure luck!

      Just like you said, there were multiple sightings in the sames zone we went to not long back, the same morning but we were not lucky enough 🙁 .

      Hopefully the next time 🙂 .

      Do connect with me over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well (links at the Top Right of this page).

    • Thanks Jatin. The ride through Bandipur and Masinaguddi is a brilliant experience. I also shot a helmet-cam video of the stretch but I have been too lazy to process and update it.

      This being the monsoon season, I would suggest you ride during one of the coming weekends, I promise you won’t regret.

  3. As you have mentioned, spotting a tiger is sheer luck! We have been to Bandhabgarh, stayed at the White Tiger Forest Lodge (the nearest one to the forest and the best), went for three jeep safaris but failed to spot a single tiger 🙁 We saw several pug marks, heard the warning calls of the deer, but no tiger.

    I loved the pictures here…the lush green forest is a treat to the eyes.. 🙂 always love the ambience a forest offers…the wild smell, chirping of unknown birds… amazing… 🙂

    • Thanks a lot Maniparna, really glad that you liked the photos here and YES, that ‘wild smell, chirping of birds…’, I can very much ‘feel’ what you mean… exactly the sort of thing I have tried to put to words.

      Talking about luck, well… all I would say is, we will get to see them only when we are destined to 🙂

  4. yes… the Bannergatha Safari has loads of tigers so you can check them out sometime they are not caged, only enclosers for safety of zoo keepers… I loved the Bannergatha safari because I saw lioness very close to my side window(:, saw white tiger, bengal tigers and lots of other creatures and the safari was worth it… could see a white tiger front of the van licking its paws, the lioness upclose with its tail looked knotted and another tiger looking at someone camly there was a net enclosure between them… and one small sloth or something got angry with the bus thinking we were following it, it wanted to act angrily but instead choose to go way into the forest where no one can(stleast bus can follow it) and a lion was jumping at the counter(:… and I can totally relate to those crowds making noise moving to see the creatures the windows… for us too it was worst since we sat on the front… one lady kept coming and stamping my mothers feet and not caring for shouting she received a tall… another stamp my Mom would have got into a physical fight, she kept stamping each sighting without a bother… but otherwise a enjoyable safari. I guess if you went by jeep it would have been better… but nice you could see the jungle atmosphere… I think if possible, next tiger survey would like to go there… 2 years back very much wanted to go for tiger survey… let me see… that will be worthwhile… do you know a tiger ran away from somewhere and settled in Banergatha forest… they keep going if they go far places but are know to chill and laze around too… I know they have a great time with family(cubs)… but beautiful creatures…that white tiger I saw made my Month!!!… anyway, nice write up… it had some expressions as well bringing out the flovour and mood like how story people describe things… spoting tiger in the jingle would be difficult for us, we don’t know where they are hiding in the forest, so it is expected i guess…

    • I have been thinking of visiting Bannerghata since long now but haven’t been able to yet 🙁 .
      Will definitely visit now and yes, I so very much want to see the white tiger there.

      The next time I will surely be taking a jeep or a smaller vehicle instead of a bus full of idiots!

      • Oh yes, the safari is great…but expect to go with idiots though I think jeeps are there, I am not sure… lots of tigers, and creatures there, there are not exactly caged and quite free… and enough greenery too… zoo is ok too…whole park is big… but Safari is just exciting… (:… I did not expect such things in Bangalore that I thought is just a metro or like metro city…. I hope the forest retains its value and sustains those creatures!!… though beware I heard a year back on Tuesdays when the park is a holiday the animals are not feed and poor things are hundry as no one is there to feed them…hmmm…even animals fast interesting anyway!!

  5. Wonderful pictures Rajiv! I am also just back from a safari and can relate to the sentiment. I was one of the few who saw the Tiger in our group, but I feel the jungle has so much more to offer…its a great space to just be in…

    • Hey Sid,

      Its so wonderful to have you come over and leave a comment, thank you 🙂 .
      You are very right, the jungle is so much more than spotting the tiger.
      As a kid too, I was very fond of jungles and that love seems to have been re-ignited again after the first safari. I am sure going to more forests in the coming days.

      Where did you do your safari by the way ?


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