Updated: Jul 25, 2019
After visiting Mumbai, I spent my second week in India on safari at Kanha national park and tiger reserve.
Kanha National park is situated in Central India and it's picturesque beauty along with it's wildlife inspired Rudyard Kipling to write the Jungle Book.
As we drove into the jungle on our first drive, I was excited by every bit of wildlife. Every bird, every monkey, every deer, even the most common of animals I was excited to see and wanted to photograph.
My friends were quick to tell me that we would see any number of these monkeys and deer and that we should focus on trying to find tigers and that the morning is a key time for that.... Fair enough I suppose!
But it was my first time in a jungle and my first time seeing such wild animals in their natural habitat. I was excited. Most of the animals I would see I would be seeing for the first time in my life.
Driving around the jungle is fun, you never know what you are going to see or what is going to happen... The focus though is on trying to find tigers.
The jungle covers hundreds of square miles, it is dense with trees and grassy meadows and tigers can be anywhere in that jungle.
The naturalists who drive with you will look out for tracks and paw prints for any clues to their activity, but tigers too will often return to the same locations - like if there's a water source there for example.
So the first point of call is to drive to a location where there has recently been sightings. You might get lucky and see a tiger there immediately, but more often than not you will have to wait.
Much of the time will often be spent driving around or sitting still and listening to the sounds of the jungle.
Just sitting and listening to the jungle though, listening to nature, exotic birds and creatures, without the sounds of traffic or city life is an experience in itself.
What you are really listening out for though is any alarm call of any deer, monkey or any other prey species. When one of these spots a tiger or any other predator they give out a distress call which not only alerts the other animals of the nearby danger but also informs the naturalists and drivers of the location of the tigers.
So even when you are waiting around, in the hope of seeing a tiger, it is still not only peaceful and enjoyable appreciating the sights and sounds of the jungle bit also incredibly exciting trying to locate the whereabouts of a tiger in it's natural habitat.
It's the thrill of the chase! And as I said, you never know what is going to happen.
When you do hear an alarm call, that's when it gets really exciting. Everyone sits up, the jeep is quickly kicked into gear and is driven as quickly as is safely allowed to the location of the call - knowing that a tiger is nearby.
The adrenaline starts to run. You know there's a tiger nearby, but will you get there in time? Will it be out in the open or hiding deep amongst the tall grass?
Sometimes it will amount to nothing. The tiger is too far away or you've just missed it.
In total I did 6 drives in Kanha, over 3 days. 3 drives on a morning and 3 drives in the late afternoon and I was fortunate enough to see a tiger on every drive.
In total I saw 7 different tigers, as well as sambhar deer, barasingha, barking deer, chital, Indian bison (gaur), wild boar, jackal fox, mongoose, sloth bear, monkeys, a python, turtle, kingfishers, woodpeckers, bee eaters, storks, vultures, eagles and much more.
This then was not only my first time doing a safari but also my first attempts at wildlife photography. It was an unforgettable experience and a truly enjoyable challenge and something I will definitely be doing again!
Slideshow of MB 3 female tiger
Slideshow of Chotta Munna tiger
If you are considering doing a safari in either India or Africa visit Call of the Wild - they are an independent travel company specialising in safaris. My experience was organised entirely by them and I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are extremely passionate about wildlife and safaris and will do everything to ensure you have an unforgettable experience.