A horse safari in India. (Photo: Wild Frontiers Travel)
By Ritika Saraf
The Swahili word safari, which means a long journey, became part of the English language in the 19th century and was prominently used by famous explorers of that era. Safaris today have diversified and led to an increase in tourism. While most people know of the regular wildlife safaris done in jeeps and four-wheel drives, not many know about the offbeat safaris that take place in different parts of India. Let’s take a look at some interesting safari experiences.
India is one of the most preferred destinations for horse safaris. These safaris not only offer an amazing experience but also a beautiful way of discovering untouched destinations that cannot otherwise be accessed. As a rider you come face to face with the local culture and lifestyle of the villages and hamlets you cross and get better insight into the flora and fauna of the region. Rajasthan, being a popular destination, offers a number of routes for such safaris. Starting from Udaipur to Chittorgarh or Jodhpur to Kumbalgarh, you can experience more exclusive safaris like the famous “Princess Trails” that take you through the rocky hills of the Aravalli hills, geologically one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.
Duration: 1 to 15 days
Camel safari in Ladakh, India. (Photo: Thrillophilia)
What better way to explore the desert landscapes of India and experience the sounds, sights, and colors of the hospitable villages of Rajasthan than on camelback. The ruins of the historic forts and palaces of Rajasthan, particularly Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Shekhawati, are the best places to indulge in safaris of this kind. Besides Rajasthan, Kutch and Ladakh also offer camel safaris that not many are aware of. Exploring the rugged mountain terrain on a camelback is a feeling beyond compare, something that makes for everlasting memories. These safaris generally take place in the months of July, August and September as opposed to Rajasthan, where the season is from October to March.
Duration: 1 to 15 days
Related: #RealTravel, Love on the Road: India
Elephants were generally used for shikar (hunting expeditions), which was a popular pastime during the era of the maharajas. As a part of responsible tourism, travel experts have reinvented the shikar experience for travelers. On the package is a multi-day elephant safari coupled with exclusive guided forest tours, tea plantation and factory tours, village visits, gourmet cuisine, bush-cooking classes, wilderness spa experiences and elephant bathing experiences. Apart from this, an elephant safari is a very popular way for wildlife sighting in Kaziranga and other parks in the region.
Duration: 1 to 7 days
Jeep safari in the Thar desert, Rajasthan.
Jeep safaris are a great way to explore the rugged terrain of the Indian wilderness. They are one of the best ways to explore the Himalayan regions of Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Ladakh, Garhwal and Kumaon. Apart from this, dune-bashing or off-roading – a form of desert safari – has become immensely popular in Rajasthan and people from across the country visit to indulge in the experience.
Duration: Half day to 15 days
Boat safaris are a good way of reaching places dominated by water bodies. They are widely used for sighting in the Sundarbans, Periyar, Chambal river, and other such places in the country and offer a charming experience.
Duration: Couple of hours to half a day
A motorbike safari in India. (Photo: Tours Care)
Motorbike safaris are a crazy fad among riding enthusiasts. While you are expected to rough it out, it indeed is the best way to see the most exotic sights of the region, such as the ancient trade routes of trans-Himalayan traders and the mystifying rural life of the towns and villages. Don’t know how to ride? No problem. Join these groups as a pillion-rider and savor the experience.
Duration: 3 days to over a month