Be it animal toys or pets for real – kids love animals, period! And what better a way to make some animal friends than to do it in their natural habitat! To give your child the invaluable, holistic experience of spending time in animal company; your best bet is a jungle safari. It is highly recommended that you take your kids to safaris that are not long drives from the point of disembarkation. This is so for more reasons than one.
This way, you not only expose your child to the natural animal habitat that is a jungle, but you also teach them to respect boundaries, you teach them the concept of other’s space and how to respect and follow their rules. Additionally, you also prepare them for long periods of silence, bumpy jeep drives and dusty roads. There is no doubt that at the end of this enriching experience, your little one will be left spell bound!
Here are five jungle safaris that can be considered as the true gems of Indian jungles. Each of these have something unique to offer and will make memorable firsts for the kids!
1. Gir - Home of the Lion
The Gir Forest National Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, India which is the sole home of the Asiatic lion in the wilderness and is considered one of the most important, protected areas in Asia due to its supported species. The carnivores found are Asiatic lions, Indian leopards, Indian cobras, jungle cats, striped hyenas, golden jackals etc. The main herbivores of Gir are chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara and wild boar.
Why go there: You can spot the Lion!
2. Pench - The Jungle Book
Based in Madhya Pradesh, the present Pench Tiger Reserve / Pench National Park, has been the setting of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and is the original home of 'Mowgli'! The Bengal tiger is the main cat species that dominates the park. They are present in good numbers but in the last one year, due to 6 new born cubs their sightings have increased to almost one a day! Also, Indian leopard, sloth bear, Indian wolf, wild dog, porcupine, monkey, jungle cat, fox, striped hyena, gaur, four-horned antelope and barking deer are found in the park.
Why go there: Easy accessibility and good sightings of the tiger make it an attractive option.
3. Periyar - Spice Country
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is located high up in the Cardamom Hills of the South-Western Ghats, along the border of Tamil Nadu. Their beauty lies in the jungle itself. This wildlife sanctuary is home to tigers and a significant elephant population, as well as rare lion-tailed macaques, sambar deer, leopards and Indian bison. In the park's north, Periyar Lake is popular for boat rides. Farther north, spice plantations surround the town of Kumily.
Why go there: Don't miss the unique River Safari!
4. Ranthambore - Royal Hunting Grounds
Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest national parks in northern India. It is a former royal hunting ground and home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles. Its landmarks include the imposing 10th-century Ranthambore Fort, on a hilltop, and the Ganesh Mandir temple. Also in the park, Padam Talao Lake is known for its abundance of water lilies.
Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary is known for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these animals in their natural jungle habitat. Tigers can be easily spotted even in the daytime.
Why go there: Huge forest area with a lake and fort ruins!
5. Kaziranga - Jewel of the North East
Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India is a sanctuary that hosts two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses. According to the census held in March 2015, this World Heritage Site hosts a total rhino population of 2,401. Kaziranga is also home to the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
Why go there: Safari atop an elephant!
Well, while animal safaris seem like an unconventional choice for a vacation with your kids, believe us when we say – they make for lifetime experiences!
We must allow the kids to experience this treasure chest of wildlife we hold in India. So Mums, start planning your first jungle safari today!
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