RFI India Christmas Holiday 2018 TIGERS

Hello, I am John Van Niel. My wife and I suddenly find ourselves with two weeks to travel over Christmas and would like to go to India for the first time. Our main target would be tigers, with sloth bear being second and rhinos if that isn’t too much trouble. But our highest priority by far is seeing tigers close. 🙂

Can anyone recommend places and tour companies at this late stage? We do not want to bounce around to many place but would like to visit one or two locations. And our travel dates are not very flexible. We do plan to be on tour or en route on Dec 24 and 25. Trip length of about ten days would be ideal.

I see a tour to Tadoba National Park advertised but that seems to be a different place than I read about in some trip reports — Tadoba Tiger Reserve.

Thank you all in advance. India wasn’t even on my radar so I feel like I am playing catch up all of a sudden and want to get a trip nailed down soon.

John Van Niel


  • Alan D

    Hi John. I have no direct experience but wanted to be sure you knew about the SafariTalk forums where there have been a lot of trip reports from India lately with amazing Tiger encounters. They have lots of logistic information in these TRs. Enjoy.



  • Jon Hall

    Hi John. Pretty sure the two Tadobas (reserve and national park) are the same place >> https://www.tadobanationalpark.in/ And yes, sounds like an excellent spot to see a bunch of nice mammals. For Rhinos you will need to go to Kaziranga in the east – well worht a visit and domestic air travel in India is cheap and reliable these days.

  • Miles Foster

    Hi, John,

    my wife and I visited India and Nepal in 2013, so this is a little out of date but we did a lot of research beforehand and are planning another trip soon. So on that basis:

    Bandhavgarh is probably the best place in the world to see tigers (opinions vary!)

    Kaziranga for rhinos and tigers. I agree the nomenclature of the various reserves can be confusing and just finding basic information can be quite frustrating – you just have to persevere!

    We saw sloth bear at Satpura – a good place to see them – we stayed at Forsyth Lodge – you could probably do a lot worse. Lots of interesting animals here (gaur, chausingha, leopard…) but tigers are harder to find.

    Kanha is good for tigers too – we stayed at the legendary Singinawa Lodge which was still run by the equally legendary Nanda and Latika Rana but has now changed hands. Possibly the best thing about it is that David Raju is now one of the naturalists there, arguably one of the best wildlife guides in India (opinions vary!).

    Our agents in India were Travel Inn, they were fine.

    Feel free to ask if you would like to know more. Or about Nepal.

    Have a great trip,


  • Manul

    Hi John
    For the rhino you would have to go to Kaziranga NP I guess. We did both Kaziranga NP and the ones of central India (Bandhavgarh, Pench and Kanha NP).
    When we saw our first tiger in Kaziranga we were alone on the top of a tower in the other parcs the probability is very high but there will also be 30 other cars there and you might only have a glimpse each time. And there are so many annoying restrictions there…
    Also we saw a melanistic leopard in Manas NP and there is a possibility to see clouded leopards!
    Sloth bears would be definitively more easy in southern India / Sri Lanka I think. But if you end up going to central India do night drives in the buffer zones of the NP. We saw our bear in the buffer zone of Panna NP and there is a good chance for striped hyena as well.

  • Mattia from Italy

    Hi John,

    For Tigers I suggest Tadoba NP (more relaxed rules, no mandatory routes). Very good even for Sloth Bears. Tadoba NP and Tadoba Tiger Reserve is the same place.

    Rhinos only in Kaziranga in the State of Assam, or Chitwan in Nepal.

    Read my trip reports in the mammalwatching site for infos about accommodation etc.

    And, most important, try to travel in March-April-May. Very hot but much better for Tigers (and Sloth Bears), because they stay near water ponds


  • vanaavi

    Hi Jon,

    I would suggest doing full day safaris in Ranthambhor for spoiling yourself for tigers. The other parks also allow full day safaris. But the experience and frequency of sightings in a full day safari in Ranthambhor is higher than other parks. Also since you mention the word ‘close’, Ranthambhor will offer that chance to the hilt.

    You can combine that with a few places for Rhinos – Orang – the highest frequency of Rhinos, followed by Kaziranga (high no of Rhinos and among other species – Elephant, Wild Buffalo, Tiger, Swamp Deer, Smooth-coated Otters and other species), Manas (not so many rhinos but you will see them and all of the species in Kaziranga or Orang also add the chance of melanistic leopard and Malayan Porcupine, Hog badger) and Dudhwa (Rhinos but just a few of them and Tiger, Leopard, Fishing Cat in day light), Elephant, Sloth Bear etc.

    I do run tours and I make customised tours to – so do many others. You can write to me if you wish.
    December is not the best time for Sloth Bear but you have a chance.

    If you wish – you can make a more detailed list of targets and I can help you plan it. You can do it on your own too. But do note that in India the safari permits are sold in advance and hence you need to act soon.

    Hope this helps you.



  • Kunal

    You can also think about Pench National Park which is nearby Taoba National Park
    High probability of tiger sightings in both national parks
    Pench – https://pench-national-park-booking.com/
    Tadoba – http://tadoba-national-park-booking.com/

  • Deval

    Corporate compass organize wildlife tour & safaris in India along with corporate tours
    Website – http://www.corporatecompass.in/

  • Jogi

    There are two National parks in central India where you can find your best tiger safaris. Both national parks have good population of tigers , so you have a great chance to get a glimpse of tigers.

    Both national parks collectively have more than 100 tigers

    1)Pench national parkLocated in the southern section of the Satpura range, Pench national park it is alienated by river Pench into almost two equivalent parts. Pench national park shelters over 285 inhabitant and migratory birds.The park with its majestic tigers and quite a lot of other animals and birds, will reinstate the excitement you used to have, while watching Mowgli fight with Sher Khan.

    2) Tadoba national parkSituated in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, Tadoba national park is stretched over a land of about 625 sq km. The best time to spot tigers in Tadoba national park is during the summer, when they use up their time in Tadoba Lake and waterholes such as Pandharpauni and Panchadhara. The other fact that makes Tadoba a great place for tiger safari in India is that there is no such main area that is left unopened for visitors. Hence, you have best hopes to spot wildlife.

    For info – https://book-my-safari.com/

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