Safaris in India can be done in a bewildering and exciting variety of ways – by jeep, on bicycle, motorbike, riverboat, bike, cruise, elephant, camel, or horseback.
We are not going to list the endless options here, just give you a glimpse of some of the most exciting.
- Chambal SafariJeep Safari
- Camel Safari
- Elephant Safari
- Horse Safaris
The National Chambal Sanctuary is a 400 km stretch of the river Chambal and a 1 to 6 km wide swathe of the ravines on both sides of the river, covering an area of 1235 sq. km. The Chambal Ravines are the product of centuries of soil erosion by flood and rain waters. They form an incredible maze of intertwining mud cliffs, with tropical dry scrub forest vegetation, that provide shelter for numerous birds, mammals and reptiles.
A bird watcher’s paradise, the Sanctuary currently boasts of 247 species of resident and migratory birds including large numbers of the rare Indian Skimmer, Greater Thick-knee, Small Pratincole, and Lapwings. The Chambal is also home to Marsh Crocodiles (muggers), Gharials (gavials), eight species of Turtles, Smooth coated Otters and the rare and endangered Gangetic Dolphins.
Jeep safaris are the perfect way to discover some of India’s least accessible places. You could go on a Jeep safari across the Thar Desert, or even on a cross Himalayan jeep safari, which would see you traversing Great Himalayan range from Manali to Leh, or travel through tribal Himachal, covering Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur, or explore the hidden gems of India’s North-East.Travelling a leisurely couple of hours every day through beautiful and rugged terrain, enjoying the scenery, and camping at a new place every day has a charm
of its own. Some of best jeep safari routes are Leh and Ladakh, the Trans Himalayan Safari, Spiti Safari, Garhwal & Kumaon, Darjeeling and Sikkim, Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tribal Districts of Orissa & Gujarat or Magical Rajasthan.
Rajasthan, India’s desert state is the very heart of exotic India. You can see Rajasthan on a jeep, on various luxury trains, bikes etc. But there’s no better way of seeing the state than a camel safari. Clamber up onto one these seemingly ungainly beasts, hang on for dear life, and roll forth, for the gait of this ‘Ship of the Desert’ would remind any sailor of a rolling, pitching deck in turbulent waters!
The best way to see the park is on the Elephant Safari, totally undisturbed by the mechanical roar of a car or jeep, under an open sky,accompanied only by the rhythmic scuff-scuff-scuff of elephant’s feet and the creaks of the wooden howdah.
The Corbett National Park is an excellent and largely inviolate specimen of the rich Sal and mixed woodland that spans the Himalayan foothills.The topography of the park is varied with ravines, plateaus, marshy depressions and grasslands. The sparkling Ramganga River is the life source of the park. Because of its rich bio-geographic diversity, the park is a natural haven for a variety of flora and fauna of the plains, the sub mountainous region and high altitude areas. This is also tiger and elephant country. Unexpected sights and sounds present themselves at every turn.
The best way to see the park is on the Elephant Safari, totally undisturbed by the mechanical roar of a car or jeep, under an open sky, accompanied only by the rhythmic scuff–scuff-scuff of elephant’s feet and the creaks of the wooden howdah. If the boom of wild elephants calling to each other makes you quiver with nervousness, the slow rhythmic movement of these gentle giants can lull you in a gentle reverie.
An exclusive elephant safari in the periphery areas of Corbett Tiger Reserve – the Elephant Safari takes you through mysterious thick forests, deep valleys and rugged trails.
If galloping through vast golden sands sounds, rugged mountains or tea gardens thrilling to you, then Indian terrain on horseback is an exciting and rewarding experience.
Horse Safaris in Rajasthan:
For centuries, horses were means of travel and status for the Maharajas, the royalties, the kings, princes and nobles. In present days, the same lifestyles are revived and replicated for few discerning tourists and horse-lovers. During the course of this extraordinary journey, the riders become part of the breath-taking landscape, almost ‘at one’ with the surroundings, and get to see historical monuments, and scenery which might be missed on a more conventional Safari. Add to this the expertly schooled horses,professional guiding, you will have the Safari of a lifetime…
The horses used for the safari are thoroughbred Marwari Horses. The history of the Royal Marwari horses, an old breed of warhorses, is entwined with the Rajasthan and the Rajputs. It is rightly said that “one cannot separate a Rajput from his horse” and there is a saying: “If God did not create the horse, he would not have created the Rajput.” The Marwari horse used to be the horse of the king and his nobles. Bred for war and show, they still display a remarkable pride and dignity. Their ears are distinctively curved inwards in a lyre-shape, which makes them unique and easily recognizable.
Horse Safaris in North Eastern India:
Virtually untouched by western influence Assam is a place of beauty, tranquility and tea gardens. The state of Assam is dominated by the Brahmaputra, one of the great rivers of the world. The broad valley of the river as it courses through the state is sandwiched between the Himalayan foothills to the north and the plateau of Meghalaya to the south.
On your holiday, you will ride along deserted river beaches catching occasional glimpses of local folk going about their daily routines, children herding water buffaloes as they sit astride them and people fishing in the shallow pools. You will observe huge flocks of water birds as they circle in the sky and land on the river, and watch as country boats ply the web of waterways in search of fish.
The Manipuri horses are beautifully turned out thoroughbreds. The riding will be through several very varied areas. On some days you’ll ride through the tea gardens where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history and production of tea. Other rides head out through the farms and villages that nestle along the banks of the river. Yet another wonderful ride is into rain forests, full of sights, sounds and smells so very different from anything you’ve ever seen. Through all this you’ll encounter farmers working in their fields – a routine that has remained unchanged for centuries. During the holiday, you will be staying in colonial tea estate bungalow or in a country house.
This is more than just a riding holiday; it is a chance to get to know the warm, friendly people of this beautiful part of India. You will be riding amid the lush tea gardens of Assam on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Northeast India and will have many opportunities to observe their traditional lifestyle.
Horse Safaris in Ladakh:
Ladakh is home to India’s last remaining truly nomadic community. The nomads of the Changthang plateau live most of their life on horseback, rearing their herd of sheep, managing flocks of pashmina goats as they move from one hard-to-find pasture to another, living along the way in beautiful yak-hair tents (Rebo).
Riding through Changthang plateau of Ladakh is challenging and exciting for tough and adventurous riders. This is often referred to as one of the harshest living environments on earth.
The Zanskari breed of horse is perfectly suited for riding in these harsh Himalayan conditions. Their bloodlines can be traced back to the Mongolian horses that Genghis Khan rode during his conquests. They negotiate
the terrain with ease that neither foot nor wheels can match, and demand little other than a pat on the back after a hard day’s riding.
Apart from being the most challenging riding terrain in India, Ladakh is also the best place to experience the culture of the highland Buddhist people.
Unlike the luxurious safaris in Rajasthan, this is a riding holiday for the adventurous. You’ll need patience, endurance and an open mind. This one is for travellers who appreciate and respect different cultures and lifestyles, and are able to cope with remote locations. It will test your endurance and mental stamina.